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Particulars of Christianity:
401 First Eight Writers' Consensus


13: Freewill (B) Against Unconditional Election

Early Church Confirmation Rubric
Early Church Consensus: Introduction
1: Nature of the Godhead
2: Covenants & O.T. Saints Relationship to the Church
3: Kingdom (Hell), Timing of 2nd Advent and Kingdom
4-5: Age of the World (6000 Years); Communion Meal
6: Baptisms
7-8: Law of Christ; Repentance
9-12: Excommunication; Divorce; Sabbath; Tithing
13: Freewill (A) Against Original Sin and Total Depravity
13: Freewill (B) Against Unconditional Election
13: Freewill (C-D) Against Ltd. Atmt.; Ir. Grace, OSAS
14-15: Church Authority; Roles of Men and Women
16-18: Charismatic Gifts; Civil Gov't., War; Men & Angels
Addendum 1: Eternal Begetting - Irenaeus and Ignatius
Addendum 2: Eternal Begetting - Justin Martyr



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13) View of Freewill and Election

b) Which men were elected for redemption and reward and which men were selected for final condemnation and punishment was unequivocally viewed as being conditional upon which men would choose to believe and obey and which would not. This conditional election took place before creation by means of God’s ability to foreknow all things, including men’s entirely free choices. Consequently, the Calvinist doctrine of Unconditional Election was rejected.

 

NOTE: The first quotes below are from Ignatius’ epistles. And, contrary to Open Theism, in these quotes Ignatius plainly states that time was not always around (existing co-eternally with God) but instead time began (i.e. was created) at a certain point. And before time began, God (including the Word) existed outside of time.

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE EPHESIANS

 

[Introduction] Ignatius, who is also called Theopharus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fulness of God the Father, and predestinated before the beginning[1] of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory, being united[2] and elected through the true passion by the will of the Father, and Jesus Christ, our God: Abundant happiness through Jesus Christ, and His undefiled grace.

 

CHAP. XVIII.  Let my sprat be courted as nothing(10) for the sake of the cross, which is a stumbling-block" to those that do not believe, but to us salvation and the cross of Christ is indeed a stumbling-block to those that do not believe, but to the believing it is salvation and life eternal. "Where is the wise man? where the disputer?"(13) Where is the boasting of those who are called mighty? For the Son of God, who was begotten before time began(2), and established all things according to the will of the Father, He was conceived in the womb of Mary, according to the appointment of God, of the seed of David, and by the Holy Ghost. For says [the Scripture], "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and He shall be called Immanuel."(4) He was born and was baptized by John, that He might ratify the institution committed to that prophet.

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE MAGNESIANS

 

CHAP. VI.  Since therefore I have, in the persons before mentioned, beheld the whole multitude of you in faith and love, I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony,[4] while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place of the assembly of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the beginning of time,[5] and in the end was revealed. Do ye all then, imitating the same divine conduct,[7] pay respect to one another, and let no one look upon his neighbour after the flesh, but do ye continually love each other in Jesus Christ. Let nothing exist among you that may divide you ; but be ye united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality.[8]

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF  IGNATIUS TO POLYCARP

 

Chapter III. Let not those who seem worthy of credit, but teach strange doctrines, [1080] fill thee with apprehension. Stand firm, as does an anvil which is beaten. It is the part of a noble [1081] athlete to be wounded, and yet to conquer. And especially, we ought to bear all things for the sake of God, that He also may bear with us. Be ever becoming more zealous than what thou art. Weigh carefully the times. Look for Him who is above all time, eternal and invisible, yet who became visible for our sakes; impalpable and impassible, yet who became passible on our account; and who in every kind of way suffered for our sakes.

 

 

Justin Martyr –

JUSTIN'S HORTATORY ADDRESS TO THE GREEKS

 

CHAP. XXXIII. And from what source did Plato draw the information that time was created along with the heavens? For he wrote thus: "Time, accordingly, was created along with the heavens; in order that, coming into being together, they might also be together dissolved, if ever their dissolution should take place." Had he not learned this from the divine history of Moses? For he knew that the creation of time had received its original constitution from days and months and years. Since, then, the first day which was created along with the heavens constituted the beginning of all time (for thus Moses wrote, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," and then immediately subjoins, "And one day was made," as if he would designate the whole of time by one part of it), Plato names the day "time," lest, if he mentioned the "day," he should seem to lay himself open to the accusation of the Athenians, that he was completely adopting the expressions of Moses. And from what source did he derive what he has written regarding the dissolution of the heavens? Had he not learned this, too, from the sacred prophets, and did he not think that this was their doctrine?

 

 

NOTE: The remainder of the quotes below in this section are general quotes on foreknowledge and conditional election.

 

Mathetes –

THE EPISTLE OF MATHETES TO DIOGNETUS

 

CHAP. X. If you also desire [to possess] this faith, you likewise shall receive first of all the knowledge of the Father.[1] For God has loved mankind, on whose account He made the world, to whom He rendered subject all the things that are in it,[2] to whom He gave reason and understanding, to whom alone He imparted the privilege of looking upwards to Himself, whom He formed after His own image, to whom He sent His only-begotten Son, to whom He has promised a kingdom in heaven, and will give it to those who have loved Him. And when you have attained this knowledge, with what joy do you think you will be filled? Or, how will you love Him who has first so loved you? And if you love Him, you will be an imitator of His kindness. And do not wonder that a man may become an imitator of God. He can, if he is willing.

 

CHAP. XII. …For I trust that ye are well versed in the Sacred Scriptures, and that nothing is hid from you; but to me this privilege is not yet granted.(23) It is declared then in these Scriptures, "Be ye angry, and sin not,"(23) and, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath."(24) Happy is he who remembers(25) this, which I believe to be the case with you. But may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Son of God, and our everlasting High Priest, build you up in faith and truth, and in all meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, forbearance, and purity; and may He bestow on you a lot and portion among His saints, and on us with you, and on all that are under heaven, who shall believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in His Father, who "raised Him from the dead.(1)

 

Barnabas –

THE EPISTLE OF BARNABAS(1)

 

CHAP. III. To this end, therefore, brethren, He is long-suffering, foreseeing how the people whom He has prepared shall with guilelessness believe in His Beloved. For He revealed all these things to us beforehand, that we should not rush forward as rash acceptors of their laws.(10)

 

CHAP. XIII. But let us see if this people(21) is the heir, or the former, and if the covenant belongs to us or to them. Hear ye now what the Scripture saith concerning the people. Isaac prayed for Rebecca his wife, because she was barren; and she conceived.(22) Furthermore also, Rebecca went forth to inquire of the Lord; and the Lord said to her, "Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples in thy belly; and the one people shall surpass the other, and the eider shall serve the younger."(23) You ought to understand who was Isaac, who Rebecca, and concerning what persons He declared that this people should be greater than that. And in another prophecy Jacob speaks more clearly to his son Joseph, saying, "Behold, the Lord hath not deprived me of thy presence; bring thy sons to me, that I may bless them."(24) And he brought Manasseh and Ephraim, desiring that Manasseh(25) should be blessed, because he was the eider. With this view Joseph led him to the right hand of his father Jacob. But Jacob saw in spirit the type of the people to arise afterwards. And what says [the Scripture]? And Jacob changed the direction of his bands, and laid his fight hand upon the head of Ephraim, the second and younger, and blessed him. And Joseph said to Jacob, "Transfer thy right hand to the head of Manasseh,(25) for he is my first-born son."(26) And Jacob said, "I know it, my son, I know it; but the eider shall serve the younger: yet he also shall be blessed."(27) Ye see on whom he laid(28) [his hands], that this people should be first, and heir of the covenant. If then, still further, the same thing was intimated through Abraham, we reach the perfection of our knowledge. What, then, says He to Abraham? "Because thou hast believed,(1) it is imputed to thee for righteousness: behold, I have made thee the father of those nations who believe in the Lord while in [a state of] uncircumcision."(2)

 

CHAP. XVII. As far as was possible, and could be done with perspicuity, I cherish the hope that, according to my desire, I have omitted none(20) of those things at present [demanding consideration], which bear upon your salvation. For if I should write to you about things future,(21) ye would not understand, because such knowledge is hid in parables. These things then are so.

 

 

Clement –

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO THE CORINTHIANS

 

CHAP. IX. Let us stedfastly contemplate those who have perfectly ministered to His excellent glory. Let us take (for instance) Enoch, who, being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and death was never known to happen to him? Noah, being found faithful, preached regeneration to the world through his ministry; and the Lord saved by him the animals which, with one accord, entered into the ark.

 

CHAP. X. Abraham, styled "the friend,"(11) was found faithful, inasmuch as he rendered obedience to the words of God. He, in the exercise of obedience, went out from his own country, and from his kindred, and from his father's house, in order that, by forsaking a small territory, and a weak family, and an insignificant house, he might inherit the promises of God. For God said to him, "Get thee out from thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, into the land which I shall show  thee. And I will make thee a great nation, and will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shall be blessed. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."(12) And again, on his departing from Lot, God said to him. "Lift up thine eyes, and look from the place where thou now art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, [so that] if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered."(13) And again [the Scripture] saith, "God brought forth Abram, and spake unto him, Look up now to heaven, and count the stars if thou be able to number them; so shall thy seed be. And Abram believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness."(14) On account of his faith and hospitality, a son was given him in his old age; and in the exercise of obedience, he offered him as a sacrifice to God on one of the mountains which He showed him.(1)

 

CHAP. XI. On account of his hospitality and godliness, Lot was saved out of Sodom when all the country round was punished by means of fire and brimstone, the Lord thus making it manifest that He does not forsake those that hope in Him, but gives up such as depart from Him to punishment and torture.(2) For Lot's wife, who went forth with him, being of a different mind from himself and not continuing in agreement with him [as to the command which had been given them], was made an example of, so as to be a pillar of salt unto this day.(3) This was done that all might know that those who are of a double mind, and who distrust the power of God, bring down judgment on themselves? and become a sign to all succeeding generations.

 

CHAP. XII. On account of her faith and hospitality, Rahab the harlot was saved. For when spies were sent by Joshua, the son of Nun, to Jericho, the king of the country ascertained that they were come to spy out their land, and sent men to seize them, in order that, when taken, they might be put to death. But the hospitable Rahab receiving them, concealed them on the roof of her house under some stalks of flax. And when the men sent by the king arrived and said "There came men unto thee who are to spy out our land; bring them forth, for so the king commands," she answered them, "The two men whom ye seek came unto me, but quickly departed again and are gone," thus not discovering the spies to them. Then she said to the men, "I know assuredly that the Lord your God hath given you this city, for the fear and dread of you have fallen on its inhabitants. When therefore ye shall have taken it, keep ye me and the house of my father in safety." And they said to her, "It shall be as thou hast spoken to us. As soon, therefore, as thou knowest that we are at hand, thou shall gather all thy family under thy roof, and they shall be preserved, but all that. are found outside of thy dwelling shall perish."(5)  Moreover, they gave her a sign to this effect, that she should hang forth from her house a scarlet thread. And thus they made it manifest that redemption should flow through the blood  of the Lord to all them that believe and hope in God.(6) Ye see, beloved, that there was not only faith, but prophecy, in this woman.

 

CHAP. XXI. Take heed, beloved, lest His many kindnesses lead to the condemnation of us all. [For thus it must be] unless we walk worthy of Him, and with one mind do those things which are good and well-pleasing in His sight. For [the Scripture] saith in a certain place, "The Spirit of the Lord is a candle searching the secret parts of the belly."(1) Let us reflect how near He is, and that none of the thoughts or reasonings in which we engage are hid from Him. It is right, therefore, that we should not leave the post which His will has assigned us. Let us rather offend those men who are foolish, and inconsiderate, and lifted up, and who glory in the pride of their speech, than [offend] God. Let us reverence the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was given for us; let us esteem those who have the rule over us;(2) let us honour the aged(3) among us; let us train up the young men in the fear of God; let us direct our wives to that which is good. Let them exhibit the lovely habit of purity [in all their conduct]; let them show forth the sincere disposition of meekness; let them make manifest the command which they have of their tongue, by their manner(4) of speaking; let them display their love, not by preferring(5) one to another, but by showing equal affection to all that piously fear God. Let your children be partakers of true Christian training; let them learn of how great avail humility is with God--how much the spirit of pure affection can prevail with Him--how excellent and great His fear is, and how it saves all those who walk in(6) it with a pure mind. For He is a Searcher of the thoughts and desires [of the heart]: His breath is in us; and when He pleases, He will take it away.

 

CHAP. XXIII. The all-merciful and beneficent Father has bowels [of compassion] towards those that fear Him, and kindly and lovingly bestows His favours upon those who come to Him with a simple mind. Wherefore let us not be double-minded; neither let our soul be lifted(9) up on account of His exceedingly great and glorious gifts.

 

CHAP. XXVII. Having then this hope, let our souls be bound to Him who is faithful in His promises, and just in His judgments. He who has commanded us not to lie, shall much more Himself not lie; for nothing is impossible with God, except to lie.(7) Let His faith therefore be stirred up again within us, and let us consider that all things are nigh unto Him. By the word of His might(8) He established all things, and by His word He can overthrow them. "Who shall say unto Him, What hast thou done? or, Who shall resist the power of His strength?"(9) When and as He pleases He will do all things, and none of the things determined by Him shall pass away? All things are open before Him, and nothing can be hidden from His counsel. "The heavens(11) declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. And there are no words or speeches of which the voices are not heard."(12)

 

CHAP.XXVIII. Since then all things are seen and heard [by God], let us fear Him, and forsake those wicked works which proceed from evil desires;(13) so that, through His mercy, we may be protected from the judgments to come. For whither can any of us flee from His mighty hand? Or what world will receive any of those who run away from Him ? For the Scripture saith in a certain place, "Whither shall I go, and where shall I be hid from Thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I go away even to the uttermost parts of the earth, there is Thy right hand; if I make my bed in the abyss, there is Thy Spirit."(14) Whither, then, shall any one go, or where shall he escape from Him who comprehends all things?

 

CHAP. XXIX. Let us then draw near to Him with holiness of spirit, lifting up pure and undefiled hands unto Him, loving our gracious and merciful Father, who has made us partakers in the blessings of His elect.(15) For thus it is written, "When the Most High divided the nations, when He scattered(16) the sons of Adam, He fixed the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God. His people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, and Israel the lot of His inheritance."(1) And in another place [the Scripture] saith, "Behold, the Lord taketh unto Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of his threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Most Holy.(2)

 

NOTE: The quote below states plainly that although God needs nothing from us, our salvation does require something from us. It is not without our participation. Specifically, although God is in no need of a sacrifice from us (ultimately providing that sacrifice Himself through Jesus Christ), yet God does require our confession of faith and repentance.

 

CHAP. LII. The Lord, brethren, stands in need of nothing; and He desires nothing of any one, except that confession be made to Him. For, says the elect David, "I will confess unto the Lord; and that will please Him more than a young bullock that hath horns and hoofs. Let the poor see it, and be glad."(6) And again he saith, "Offer(7) unto God the sacrifice of praise, and pay thy vows unto the Most High. And call upon Me in the day of thy trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me."(8) For "the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit."(9)

 

CHAP. LV. Esther also, being perfect in faith, exposed herself to no less danger, in order to deliver the twelve tribes of Israel from impending destruction. For with fasting and humiliation she entreated the everlasting God, who seeth all things; and He, perceiving the humility of her spirit, delivered the people for whose sake she had encountered peril.(3).

 

 

Ignatius –

THE EPISTLE OF  IGNATIUS TO POLYCARP

 

Chapter VII. A Christian has not power over himself, but must always be ready for [1113] the service of God. Now, this work is both God's and yours, when ye shall have completed it to His glory. [1114] For I trust that, through grace, ye are prepared for every good work pertaining to God. Knowing, therefore, your energetic love of the truth, I have exhorted you by this brief Epistle.

 

Justin Martyr –

THE FIRST APOLOGY OF JUSTIN

 

CHAP. X. And we have been taught that He in the beginning did of His goodness, for man's sake, create all things out of unformed matter; and if men by their works show themselves worthy of this His design, they are deemed worthy, and so we have received--of reigning in company with Him, being delivered from corruption and suffering. For as in the beginning He created us when we were not, so do we consider that, in like manner, those who choose what is pleasing to Him are, on account of their choice, deemed worthy of incorruption and of fellowship with Him. For the coming into being at first was not in our own power; and in order that we may follow those things which please Him, choosing them by means of the rational faculties He has Himself endowed us with, He both persuades us and leads us to faith.

 

CHAP. XXVIII. For among us the prince of the wicked spirits is called the serpent, and Satan, and the devil, as you can learn by looking into our writings. And that he would be sent into the fire with his host, and the men who follow him, and would be punished for an endless duration, Christ foretold. For the reason why God has delayed to do this, is His regard for the human race. For He fore-knows that some are to be saved by repentance, some even that are perhaps not yet born.(4) In the beginning He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative. And if any one disbelieves that God cares for these things,(5) he will thereby either insinuate that God does not exist, or he will assert that though He exists He delights in vice, or exists like a stone, and that neither virtue nor vice are anything, but only in the opinion of men these things are reckoned good or evil. And this is the greatest profanity and wickedness.

 

CHAP. LXV. But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation.

 

NOTE: In the quote below, Justin describes two prophecies from Moses and Leviticus concerning the Israelites, warning them of God’s terrible anger against and the punishments that would come upon them if they did not circumcise their hearts. Justin offers these prophecies to explain that the suffering of the nation of Israel in his days was just, because they had been warned ahead of time of the consequences of their sinfulness. In the midst of this, Justin affirms that not even the unbelieving Jews would deny that God foresees future events, indicating clearly that Justin himself believes God foreknows the future as indicated by his citation of these Old Testament prophecies. Lastly, Justin’s comments here also directly assert that what each man receives in judgment is a result of God’s foreknowing what each man will deserve (i.e. his “deserts). This demonstrates the Freewill model of conditional election based upon God’s foreknowledge of men’s actions.

 

Dialogue of Justin –

PHILOSOPHER AND MARTYR, WITH TRYPHO, A JEW

 

"And God himself proclaimed by Moses, speaking thus: 'And circumcise the hardness of your hearts, and no longer stiffen the neck. For the Lord your God is both Lord of lords, and a great, mighty, and terrible God, who regardeth not persons, and taketh not rewards.'(4) And in Leviticus: 'Because they have transgressed against Me, and despised Me, and because they have walked contrary to Me, I also walked contrary to them, and I shall cut them off in the land of their enemies. Then shall their uncircumcised heart be turned.'(5) For the circumcision according to the flesh, which is from Abraham, was given for a sign; that you may be separated from other nations, and from us; and that you alone may suffer that which you now justly suffer; and that your land may be desolate, and your cities burned with fire; and that strangers may eat your fruit in your presence, and not one of you may go up to Jerusalem.'(6) For you are not recognised among the rest of men by any other mark than your fleshly circumcision. For none of you, I suppose, will venture to say that God neither did nor does foresee the events, which are future, nor fore-ordained his deserts for each one. Accordingly, these things have happened to you in fairness and justice, for you have slain the Just One, and His prophets before Him; and now you reject those who hope in Him, and in Him who sent Him--God the Almighty and Maker of all things--cursing in your synagogues those that believe on Christ.

 

NOTE: The quote below from Justin Martyr is out of order (i.e. it is from a later chapter). It has been included here because its content and implications are the same as the quote above. It attests to God’s foreknowledge of men’s free decisions, including their decisions to sin, and that God’s judgment and punishment of men is conditional. However, the quote below also plainly states that it is slanderous to state that God has no foreknowledge or to deny that “God is always willing” that every sinner “may obtain the salvation of Christ.”

 

CHAP. XCII. For if one should wish to ask you why, since Enoch, Noah with his sons, and all others in similar circumstances, who neither were circumcised nor kept the Sabbath, pleased God, God demanded by other leaders, and by the giving of the law after the lapse of so many generations, that those who lived between the times of Abraham and of Moses be justified by circumcision, and that those who lived after Moses be justified by circumcision and the other ordinances--to wit, the Sabbath, and sacrifices, and libations,(5) and offerings; [God will be slandered] unless you show, as I have already said, that God who foreknew was aware that your nation would deserve expulsion from Jerusalem, and that none would be permitted to enter into it…[And, further, God will be slandered unless you show] that you were commanded to observe the Sabbath, and to present offerings, and that the Lord submitted to have a place called by the name of God, in order that, as has been said, you might not become impious and godless by worshipping idols and forgetting God, as indeed you do always appear to have been. (Now, that God enjoined the ordinances of Sabbaths and offerings for these reasons, I have proved in what I previously remarked; but for the sake of those who came to-day, I wish to repeat nearly the whole.) For if this is not the case, God will be slandered,(1) as having no foreknowledge, and as not teaching all men to know and to do the same acts of righteousness (for many. generations of men appear to have existed before Moses); and the Scripture is not true which affirms that 'God is true and righteous, and all His ways are judgments, and there is no unrighteousness in him.' But since the Scripture is true, God is always willing that such even as you be neither foolish nor lovers of yourselves, in order that you may obtain the salvation of Christ,(2) who pleased God, and received testimony from Him, as I have already said, by alleging proof from the holy words of prophecy.

 

NOTE: In the quote below, Justin records the question “O Lord, why hast Thou made us to err from Thy way? and hardened our hearts, so that we do not fear Thee?” Does this mean that Justin believes that God is the cause of human sinning? The answer is shown to be “no” by the context. This question is itself the words of those who falsely justify themselves on the grounds that they are biologically Abraham’s children. Isaiah, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, impersonates such self-justifying individuals. It is those men, in their self-justification, that place the blame on God for their own errors and flaws. But at the end of the quote, Isaiah (and by extension Justin) finally clears up this self-justification, when these men realize that, in reality, God is “wroth” and that they have erred, not by God’s doing, but because they “were sinning” and “by reason of [their] iniquities.”

 

CHAP. XXV. "Those who justify themselves, and say they are sons of Abraham, shall be desirous even in a small degree to receive the inheritance along with you;(6) as the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of Isaiah, cries, speaking thus while he personates them:'O Lord, why hast Thou made us to err from Thy way? and hardened our hearts, so that we do not fear Thee?Behold, Thou art wroth, and we were sinning. Therefore we have erred and become all unclean, and all our righteousness is as the rags of a woman set apart: and we have faded away like leaves by reason of our iniquities; thus the wind will take us away.’”

 

CHAP. XLII. And in short, sirs," said I, "by enumerating all the other appointments of Moses I can demonstrate that they were types, and symbols, and declarations of those things which would happen to Christ, of those who it was foreknown were to believe in Him, and of those things which would also be done by Christ Himself. But since what I have now enumerated appears to me to be sufficient, I revert again to the order of the discourse.(1)

 

CHAP. LXX. But I must repeat to you the words of Isaiah referred to, in order that from them you may know that these things are so. They are these: 'Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; those that are near shall know my might. The sinners in Zion are removed; trembling shall seize the impious. Who shall announce to you the everlasting place? The man who walks in righteousness, speaks in the right way, hates sin and unrighteousness, and keeps his hands pure from bribes, stops the ears from hearing the unjust judgment of blood closes the eyes from seeing unrighteousness: he shall dwell in the lofty cave of the strong rock. Bread shall be given to him, and his water[shall be] sure. Ye shall see the King with glory, and your eyes shall look far off. Your soul shall pursue diligently the fear of the Lord. Where is the scribe? where are the counsellors? where is he that numbers those who are nourished,--the small and great people? with whom they did not take counsel, nor knew the depth of the voices, so that they heard not. The people who are become depreciated, and there is no understanding in him who hears.'(5) …And this prophecy proves that we shall behold this very King with glory; and the very terms of the prophecy declare loudly, that the people foreknown to believe in Him were fore-known to pursue diligently the fear of the Lord.

 

CHAP. LXXIV.And I answered, "Attend to me, I beseech you, while I speak of the statement which the Holy Spirit gave utterance to in this Psalm; and you shall know that I speak not sinfully, and that we(5) are not really bewitched; for so you shall be enabled of yourselves to understand many other statements made by the Holy Spirit.

 

CHAP. LXXVII. Proceed then to make this plain to us, that we may see how you prove that that[passage] refers to this Christ of yours. For we assert that the prophecy relates to Hezekiah." And I replied, "I shall do as you wish. But show me yourselves first of all how it is said of Hezekiah, that before he knew how to call father or mother, he received the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria in the presence of the king of Assyria. For it will not be conceded to you, as you wish to explain it, that Hezekiah waged war with the inhabitants of Damascus and Samaria in presence of the king of Assyria. For if the Spirit of prophecy had not made the statement with an addition, 'Before the child knows how to call father or mother, he shall take the power of Damascus and spoils of Samaria,' but had only said, 'And shall bear a son, and he shall take the power of Damascus and spoils of Samaria,' then you might say that God foretold that he would take these things, since He fore-knew it. But now the prophecy has stated it with this addition: 'Before the child knows how to call father or mother, he shall take the power of Damascus and spoils of Samaria.' And you cannot prove that such a thing ever happened to any one among the Jews. But we are able to prove that it happened in the case of our Christ. For at the time of His birth, Magi who came from Arabia worshipped Him, coming first to Herod, who then was sovereign in your land, and whom the Scripture calls king of Assyria on account of his ungodly and sinful character. For you know," continued I, "that the Holy Spirit oftentimes announces such events by parables and similitudes; just as He did towards all the people in Jerusalem, frequently saying to them, 'Thy father is an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite.(3)

 

NOTE: In the quote Justin explains even the selective determinism that God exercises over limited events, such as the crucifixion, do not involve God overriding, guiding, or tampering with human freewill. He states plainly that although God willed for Christ to suffer and die, those who put Christ to death were disobeying God’s will. How then did God cause it? Justin indicates that God had precedent from the numerous examples of how the Jewish people would treat a righteous man because of all the prophets that they killed. He also states plainly that God foreknew how the Jews of Jesus’ day would act toward him. So, in Justin’s thoughts, God caused His Christ to be killed not by manipulating the will of men, but by sending Christ to people that God foreknew would surely kill such a righteous messenger.

 

CHAP. XCV. For although His Father caused Him to suffer these things in behalf of the human family, yet you did not commit the deed as in obedience to the will of God. For you did not practise piety when you slew the prophets. And let none of you say: If His Father wished Him to suffer this, in order that by His stripes the human race might be healed, we have done no wrong. If, indeed, you repent of your sins, and recognise Him to be Christ, and observe His commandments, then you may assert this; for, as I have said before, remission of sins shall be yours. But if you curse Him and them that believe on Him, and, when you have the power, put them to death, how is it possible that requisition shall not be made of you, as of unrighteous and sinful men, altogether hard-hearted and without understanding, because you laid your hands on Him? CHAP. XCVI. "For the statement in the law, 'Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree,'(3) confirms our hope which depends on the crucified Christ, not because He who has been crucified is cursed by God, but because God foretold that which would be done by you all, and by those like to your, who do not know(4) that this is He who existed before all, who is the eternal Priest of God, and King, and Christ. And you clearly see that this has come to pass.

 

NOTE: In the following quote, Justin affirms that no one can know the Father or the Son except those to whom the Son has revealed them. But Justin then immediately says that this much-needed revelation comes from reading the scriptures, even calling the record of the scriptures a grace or gift from God. And no doubt it is a gift, since in the scriptures sinners can find recorded for them the true knowledge that they and their ancestors have rejected and forgotten, yet God has not left them without a way to restore that knowledge. But since Justin ascribes the Son’s work of revealing the Father and the Son to the act of reading the scriptures (which are the record of the Son’s teachings about Himself and the Father), there is no reason and no room to suggest that the means of revelation is some irresistible, inner work performed by God on man’s heart. Justin’s words here simply make no mention of such an irresistible, inner work. For Justin, the revelation of the Father and the Son is in the record of the scriptures that record Jesus’ teachings.

 

CHAP. C. …I have proved that it is not in the blessing of Joseph and Judah alone that what relates to Him was proclaimed mysteriously, but also in the Gospel it is written that He said: 'All things are delivered unto me by My Father;' and, 'No man knoweth the Father but the Son; nor the Son but the Father, and they to whom the Son will reveal Him.'(1) Accordingly He revealed to us all that we have perceived by His grace out of the Scriptures.

 

CHAP. CXVIII. And we have not in vain believed in Him, and have not been led astray by those who taught us such doctrines; but this has come to pass through the wonderful foreknowledge of God, in order that we, through the calling of the new and eternal covenant, that is, of Christ, might be found more intelligent and God-fearing than yourselves, who are considered to be lovers of God and men of understanding, but are not.

 

CHAP. CXX. And this was a symbol of the fact that some of your nation would be found children of Abraham, and found, too, in the lot of Christ; but that others, who are indeed children of Abraham, would be like the sand on the sea-shore, barren and fruitless, much in quantity, and without number indeed, but bearing no fruit whatever, and only drinking the water of the sea.

 

CHAP. CXXXIV. For while Noah gave to the two sons the seed of the third as servants, now on the other hand Christ has come to restore both the free sons and the servants amongst them, conferring the same honour on all of them who keep His commandments; even as the children of the free women and the children of the bond women born to Jacob were all sons, and equal in dignity. And it was foretold what each should be according to rank and according to fore-knowledge.

 

NOTE: The quote of Justin Martyr below is actually a fragment of Justin quoted by Irenaeus. The quote directly dismisses the Calvinist concept of “compatibilistic will” in which God (in His uncooperative sovereign determinism) unilaterally causes all of men’s choices, even men’s sins, as exemplified in the Calvinist interpretation of Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. For Calvinists, a man chooses a sinful action because God determines for him to do so. The man’s fulfillment of God’s choice manifests in the man’s own selfish and sinful motives prompting him to sin, while God’s motives for irresistibly causing this sinful act to come to pass are righteous even though they are lead to the same evil action. However, an equally valid Freewill interpretation of this same example is that God foresaw the choices of Joseph’s brothers and allowed those choices to occur, perhaps even instigating the event by giving Joseph dreams, but without in any way tampering with or internally controlling their freewill. Thus, what they meant for evil, God intended for good. But this “foresee and allow” interpretation places God in a responsive role to the foreknown choices or tendencies of men, rather than God acting as the initiating and unilaterally causative role for all men’s choices, as Calvinistic “compatibilism” claims. Here Justin affirms that God is not in any way behind the choices of men to sin, but instead each man sin’s by his own will and preferences without God being in any way complicit in the decision for any reason.

 

 

Justin Martyr –

OTHER FRAGMENTS FROM THE LOST WRITINGS OF JUSTIN

 

III. Justin well said: Before the advent of the Lord, Satan never ventured to blaspheme God, inasmuch as he was not yet sure of his own damnation, since that was announced concerning him by the prophets only in parables and allegories. But after the advent of the Lord learning plainly from the discourses of Christ and His apostles that eternal fire was prepared for him who voluntarily departed from God and for all who, without repentance, persevere in apostasy, then, by means of a man of this sort, he, as if already condemned, blasphemes that God who inflicts judgment upon him, and imputes the sin of his apostasy to his Maker, instead of to his own will and predilection.--IRENAEUS: Heresies, v. 26.

 

 

Dialogue of Justin –

PHILOSOPHER AND MARTYR, WITH TRYPHO, A JEW

 

CHAP. CXXXIII. "Now, although these and all other such unexpected and marvellous works were wrought amongst and seen by you at different times, yet you are convicted by the prophets of having gone to such a length as offering your own children to demons; and besides all this, of having dared to do such things against Christ; and you still dare to do them: for all which may it be granted to you to obtain mercy and salvation from God and His Christ. For God, knowing before that you would do such things, pronounced this curse upon you…

 

CHAP. XXVIII. 7. That eternal fire, [for instance,] is prepared for sinners, both the Lord has plainly declared, and the rest of the Scriptures demonstrate. And that God fore-knew that this would happen, the Scriptures do in like manner demonstrate, since He prepared eternal fire from the beginning for those who were [afterwards] to transgress [His commandments]...

 

NOTE: The quote from Irenaeus below is also placed under the section below on Unlimited Atonement as well. Here Irenaeus explains that God’s predetermination and foreordination concerning the elect refer not to God determining which individuals would believe, but on setting a limit on the number of men who would believe effectively by determining the length of time he would allow men the opportunity to repent.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK II

 

CHAP. XXXIII. 5. And therefore, when the number [fixed upon] is completed, [that number] which He had predetermined in His own counsel, all those who have been enrolled for life [eternal] shall rise again, having their own bodies, and having also their own souls, and their own spirits, in which they had pleased God. Those, on the other hand, who are worthy of punishment, shall go away into it, they too having their own souls and their own bodies, in which they stood apart from the grace of God. Both classes shall then cease from any longer begetting and being begotten, from marrying and being given in marriage; so that the number of mankind, corresponding to the fore-ordination of God, being completed, may fully realize the scheme formed by the Father.(1)

 

NOTE: In the quote below, the statement that man “could not be saved by their own instrumentality” is not at all incompatible with Freewill. Freewill theology agrees that atonement and, indeed, the triumphing over the devil and our enemies as well as making us immortal so that we overcome death itself, are not things that men could do for themselves. However, agreeing that these things are accomplished by God, does not imply that choosing to repent and believe man is also outside man’s instrumentality or ability. There is no mention of God needing to provide men with the ability to choose God or with faith, as Calvinists assert. Instead, Irenaeus here restricts his comments to saying that God provides resurrection from the dead and deliverance from our enemies when Jesus comes again in judgment. It is also interesting to note that Calvinists often assert that for man to be saved requires more than God’s help, but God’s irresistible grace. But Irenaeus seems to think that it is sufficiently glorifying to God to say that God helps men in salvation, as plainly stated in the last line of the quote below. The next quote below also affirms that Irenaeus only meant such things as the atonement, when he spoke of man’s salvation provided by the incarnation as not being accomplished by man’s will. While the incarnation was accomplished by God’s will and instrumentality, not man’s, that does not imply that man’s faith in the atonement is beyond man’s power or will, as Calvinists teach.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK III

 

CHAP.XX. 3. On this account, therefore, the Lord Himself,(10) who is Emmanuel from the Virgin,(11) is the sign of our salvation, since it was the Lord Himself who saved them, because they could not be saved by their own instrumentality; and, therefore, when Paul sets forth human infirmity, he says: "For I know that there dwelleth in my flesh no good thing,"(12) showing that the "good thing" of our salvation is not from us, but from God. And again: "Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"(13) Then he introduces the Deliverer, [saying,] "The grace of Jesus Christ our Lord." And Isaiah declares this also, [when he says:] "Be ye strengthened, ye hands that hang down, and ye feeble knees; be ye encouraged, ye feeble-minded; be comforted, fear not: behold, our God has given judgment with retribution, and shall recompense: He will come Himself, and will save us."(14) Here we see, that not by ourselves, but by the help of God, we must be saved.

 

CHAP.XXI. 7. Wherefore also Isaiah says: "Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I deposit in the foundations of Zion a stone, precious, elect, the chief, the corner-one, to be had in honour."(5) So, then, we understand that His advent in human nature was not by the will of a man, but by the will of God.

 

NOTE: The statements that God “saves whom He ought” and “those whom He should save” and “judges those worthy of judgment” plainly indicates that election and salvation are conditional, based upon what God finds within men, particularly their choice to believe and follow Him through repentance or not. In addition, Irenaeus’ proofs against this particular Gnostic view also disprove Calvinism. In refuting the Gnostic concept of two gods, one who judges and one who is good, Irenaeus argues that in order to be both good and just, it is absolutely necessary for God to “bestow favors upon the deserving” but also to “test those upon whom he shall send his goodness” in order to make sure they are deserving. Consequently, a Calvinistic God who elects unconditionally, regardless of what men deserve or what good or bad qualities are in men, would be neither good nor just according to Irenaeus.

 

CHAP. XXV. 2. Again, that they might remove the rebuking and judicial power from the Father, reckoning that as unworthy of God, and thinking that they had found out a God both without anger and [merely]  good, they have alleged that one [God] judges, but that another saves, unconsciously taking away the intelligence and justice of both deities. For if the judicial one is not also good, to bestow favours upon the deserving, and to direct reproofs against those requiring them, he will appear neither a just nor a wise judge. On the other hand, the good God, if he is merely good, and not one who tests those upon whom he shall send his goodness, will be out of the range of justice and goodness; and his goodness will seem imperfect, as not saving all; [for it should do so,] if it be not accompanied with judgment. …3. For He is good, and merciful, and patient, and saves whom He ought: nor does goodness desert Him in the exercise of justice,(3) nor is His wisdom lessened; for He saves those whom He should save, and judges those worthy of judgment. Neither does He show Himself unmercifully just; for His goodness, no doubt, goes on before, and takes precedency.

 

NOTE: The quote below is from Irenaeus’ fourth book, but it is placed here because it contains a similar comments to the larger quote immediately above.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK IV

 

CHAP. XXXIII. 2. Moreover, he shall also examine the doctrine of Marcion, [inquiring] how he holds that there are two gods, separated from each other by an infinite distance.(1) Or how can he be good who draws away men that do not belong to him from him who made them, and calls them into his own kingdom? And why is his goodness, which does not save all [thus], defective?

 

NOTE: The quote below is also being placed in the Total Depravity section and Perseverance of the Saints section. Concerning Total Depravity, the quote specifically states that God “always preserved freedom, and the power of self-government in man.” In saying this, Irenaeus outright prohibits the doctrine of Total Depravity, which states that as a result of Adam’s sin, all his offspring lost the freedom and ability to choose God. Moreover, Irenaeus argues that because man’s freedom is always preserved by God, consequently, those who have obeyed God are justly rewarded while those who have not obeyed are justly condemned because has had it in their power to obey. This, of course, disproves Unconditional Election. Lastly, the quote also disproves Perseverance of the Saints, declaring plainly that those with salvation can become apostates, revert to idolatry and apostatizing from God.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK IV

 

CHAP. XV. 2. If, therefore, even in the New Testament, the apostles are found granting certain precepts in consideration of human infirmity, because of the incontinence of some, lest such persons, having grown obdurate, and despairing altogether of their salvation, should become apostates from God,--it ought not to be wondered at, if also in the Old Testament the same God permitted similar indulgences for the benefit of His people, drawing them on by means of the ordinances already mentioned, so that they might obtain the gift of salvation through them, while they obeyed the Decalogue, and being restrained by Him, should not revert to idolatry, nor apostatize from God, but learn to love Him with the whole heart. And if certain persons, because of the disobedient and ruined Israelites, do assert that the giver (doctor) of the law was limited in power, they will find in our dispensation, that "many are called, but few chosen;"(11) and that there are those who inwardly are wolves, yet wear sheep's clothing in the eyes of the world (foris); and that God has always preserved freedom, and the power of self-government in man,(12) while at the same time He issued His own exhortations, in order that those who do not obey Him should be righteously judged (condemned) because they have not obeyed Him; and that those who have obeyed and believed on Him should be honoured with immortality.

 

CHAP. XXVI. 3. Those, however, who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts, and, do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt towards others, and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat, and work evil deeds in secret, saying, "No man sees us," shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance (secundum gloriam), nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart...

 

NOTE: The quote below denies Calvinism’s “compatibilistic will” and view of God’s sovereignty by stating plainly that men are not always subject to God’s will. At times, God’s will is thwarted by men. (Of course, this is what sin is by definition). However, the quote also attests to conditional election, because it describes damnation or salvation as resulting from an individual man possessing the trait of either faith or disobedience. The passage also explains that “hardening” is not a matter of God causing men to choose sin or disbelief, but a matter of God foreknowing whether or not each individual would ever choose to believe, and God simply choosing at times not to aid or speak gently to explain things to those whom he foreknew would never believe. Consequently, in saying these things, Justin not only denies Calvinistic “compatibilistic” sovereignty, but he also affirms that election is based upon conditional foreknowledge of which men would and would not believe.

 

CHAP. XXVIII. 3. For the apostle does also say in the Second [Epistle] to the Corinthians: "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them which are saved, and in them which perish: to the one indeed the savour of death unto death, but to the other the savour of life unto life." To whom, then, is there the savour of death unto death, unless to those who believe not neither are subject to the Word of God? And who are they that did even then give themselves over to death? Those men, doubtless, who do not believe, nor submit themselves to God. And again, who are they that have been saved and received the inheritance? Those, doubtless, who do believe God, and who have continued in His love; as did Caleb [the son] of Jephunneh and Joshua [the son] of Nun,(2) and innocent children,(3) who have had no sense of evil. But who are they that are saved now, and receive life eternal? Is it not those who love God, and who believe His promises, and who "in malice have become as little children?"(4) CHAP. XXIX. 1. "But," say they, "God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants."(5) Those, then, who allege such difficulties, do not read in the Gospel that passage where the Lord replied to the disciples, when they asked Him, "Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?"--"Because it is given unto you to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven; but to thorn I speak in parables, that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not hear, understanding they may not understand; in order that the prophecy of Isaiah regarding them may be fulfil leading, Make the heart of this people gross and make their ears dull, and blind their eyes. But blessed are your eyes, which see the things that ye see; and your ears, which hear what ye do hear.(6) For one and the same God [that blesses others] inflicts blindness upon those who do not believe, but who set Him at naught; just as the sun, which is a creature of His, [acts with regard] to those who, by reason of any weakness of the eyes cannot behold his light; but to those who believe in Him and follow Him, He grants a fuller and greater illumination of mind. In accordance with this word, therefore, does the apostle say, in the Second the] to the Corinthians: "In whom the [[god of]] this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine [unto them]."(7) And again, in that to the Romans: "And as they did not think fit to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things that are not convenient."(8) Speaking of antichrist, too, he says clearly in the Second to the Thessalonians: "And for this cause God shall send them the working of error, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but consented to iniquity."(9) 2. If, therefore, in the present time also, God, knowing the number of those who will not believe, since He foreknows all things, has given them over to unbelief, and turned away His face from men of this stamp, leaving them in the darkness which they have themselves chosen for themselves, what is there wonderful if He did also at that time give over to their unbelief, Pharaoh, who never would have believed, along with those who were with him? As the Word spake to Moses from the bush: "And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, unless by a mighty hand."(10) And for the reason that the Lord spake in parables, and brought blindness upon Israel, that seeing they might not see, since He knew the [spirit of] unbelief in them, for the same reason did He harden Pharaoh's heart; in order that, while seeing that it was the finger of God which led forth the people, he might not believe, but be precipitated into a sea of unbelief, resting in the notion that the exit of these [Israelites] was accomplished by magical power, and that it was not by the operation of God that the Red Sea afforded a passage to the people, but that this occurred by merely natural causes (sed naturaliter sic se habere).

 

NOTE: From the quote below, notice the conditional nature of whether the Spirit “rests” on us so that we become immortal or instead we are cast out into “outer darkness.” In addition, notice that this comes “after our calling” and that the same God who called is the one who casts out from among those he called, those who do not meet the conditions? This means that God’s grace in calling us is not irresistible and there is no automatic perseverance of the saints caused by an irresistible component of grace.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK IV.

 

CHAP. XXXIV. 6. Still further did He also make it manifest, that we ought, after our calling, to be also adorned with works of righteousness, so that the Spirit of God may rest upon us; for this is the wedding garment, of which also the apostle speaks, "Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up by immortality."(3) But those who have indeed been called to God's supper, yet have not received the Holy Spirit, because of their wicked conduct "shall be," He declares, "cast into outer darkness."(4) He thus clearly shows that the very same King who gathered from all quarters the faithful to the marriage of His Son, and who grants them the incorruptible banquet, [also] orders that man to be cast into outer darkness who has not on a wedding garment, that is, one who despises it. For as in the former covenant, "with many of them was He not well pleased;"(5) so also is it the case here, that "many are called, but few chosen."(6)

 

NOTE: In the quote below, Irenaeus asserts that if the Father does not judge, then “all persons will be equal, and accounted in the same condition.” It seems to be an open possibility then that this equation could be reversed as well. If no judgment necessarily implies that God views all men as being in the same equal condition, then God viewing all men as being in the same equal position, would imply that God does not actually judge or discern the right or wrong, good or bad, desirable or undesirable, better or worse among men. If election is not based upon a man’s individual condition, but men are selected by God without regard for their condition, then God is not actually a just judge of mankind. Consequently, this statement could be a strong argument against Calvinistic Unconditional Election, since that doctrine necessarily requires that with regard to eternal rewards of punishments (the primary aspect of divine judgment), God sees all men as equal and of the same condition as one another. Ultimately, it seems unavoidable that this quote demonstrates Irenaeus rejection of unconditional election (or judgment) given the fact that he considers the possibility of God viewing all men as equal and in the same condition as itself so obviously wrong that it is sufficient to disprove the suggestion that God does not judge. And, of course, the rest of the quote articulates Irenaeus’ strongly conditional view of election and damnation. Moreover, Irenaeus states that the only universal condition that all men remain in when it comes to election or damnation is the universal condition of being able to freely choose belief or disobedience. Lastly, the quote states that God’s providence, so much as it pertains to these issues of salvation or damnation, works the same to the benefit of all men, the elect and the un-elect, so that all may be saved or damned based upon their own choice rather than any lack on God’s part.

 

Irenaeus –

AGAINST HERESIES, BOOK V

 

CHAP. XXVII. 1. If the Father, then, does not exercise judgment, [it follows] that judgment does not belong to Him, or that He consents to all those actions which take place; and if He does not judge, all persons will be equal, and accounted in the same condition. The advent of Christ will therefore be without an object, yea, absurd, inasmuch as [in that case] He exercises no judicial power. and when two are in one bed, to take the one, and to leave the other; and of two women grinding at the mill, to take one and leave the other:(2) [also] at the time of the end, to order the reapers to collect first the tares together, and bind them in bundles, and burn them with unquenchable fire, but to gather up the wheat into the barn;(3) and to call the lambs into the kingdom prepared for them, but to send the goats into everlasting fire, which has been prepared by His Father for the devil and his angels.(4) And why is this? Has the Word come for the ruin and for the resurrection of many? For the ruin, certainly, of those who do not believe Him, to whom also He has threatened a greater damnation in the judgment-day than that of Sodom and Gomorrah;(5) but for the resurrection of believers, and those who do the will of His Father in heaven. If then the advent of the Son comes indeed alike to all, but is for the purpose of judging, and separating the believing from the unbelieving, since, as those who believe do His will agreeably to their own choice, and as, [also] agreeably to their own choice, the disobedient do not consent to His doctrine; it is manifest that His Father has made all in a like condition, each person having a choice of his own, and a free understanding; and that He has regard to all things, and exercises a providence over all, "making His sun to rise upon the evil and on the good, and sending rain upon the just and unjust."(6) 2. And to as many as continue in their love towards God, does He grant communion with Him. But communion with God is life and light, and the enjoyment of all the benefits which He has in store. But on as many as, according to their own choice, depart from God, He inflicts that separation from Himself which they have chosen of their own accord. But separation from God is death, and separation from light is darkness; and separation from God consists in the loss of all the benefits which He has in store...It is in this matter just as occurs in the case of a flood of light: those who have blinded themselves, or have been blinded by others, are for ever deprived of the enjoyment of light. It is not, [however], that the light has inflicted upon them the penalty of blindness, but it is that the blindness itself has brought calamity upon them: and therefore the Lord declared, "He that believeth in Me is not condemned,"(7) that is, is not separated from God, for he is united to God through faith. On the other hand, He says, "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God;" that is, he separated himself from God of his own accord. "For this is the condemnation, that light is come into this world, and men have loved darkness rather than light. For every one who doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that he has wrought them in God." …CHAP. XXVIII. 2. And for this reason the apostle says: "Because they received not the love of God, that they might be saved, therefore God shall also send them the operation of error, that they may believe a lie, that they all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but consented to unrighteousness."(1) For when he (Antichrist) is come, and of his own accord concentrates in his own person the apostasy, and accomplishes whatever he shall do according to his own will and choice, sitting also in the temple of God, so that his dupes may adore him as the Christ; wherefore also shall he deservedly "be cast into the lake of fire:"(2) [this will happen according to divine appointment], God by His prescience foreseeing all this, and at the proper time sending such a man, "that they may believe a lie, that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but consented to unrighteousness;" whose coming John has thus described in the Apocalypse.