My second post was here.
Now, Dan has responded (full response here). I address his new comments below.
I had written: since the first decree [that Christ should die, making men savable] does not include any decree for application of the benefit of Christ's death, it actually does not mean "salvation is possible for everyone through Christ's death." In fact, it does not mean that salvation is possible for anyone at all, since it does not include any way for the benefit of Christ's death to be applied to men.
Dan responded: "This actually is somewhat of a fair comment, or at least it provides me the opportunities to clarify. When I say Christ death makes salvation possible, I don’t mean the application of Christ’s blood is unnecessary for salvation. It’s true Christ’s blood also has to be applied. What I mean is now Christ’s blood is available and can be applied."I answer: It's not even a question of the application being necessary. It's a more fundamental question. It is a question of applicability being necessary. There is no provision (yet, in the Arminian order) for the blood to be ABLE to be applied. It's just a decree to spill blood, with no apparent purpose in sight.
I had written: There is a real question about whether there is any Scriptural basis for an intent to make mankind "savable," as distinct from "saved.
Dan responded: "Hum… Intent is tricky. Normally, when we speak of intentions, we talk about the end goal, not an immediate one. Let’s say my family has colds and I go to the store, get them medicine and come back home an offer it to them. What’s my intent for going to the store? Is it getting medicine or that my family feel better? Both. Getting the medicine is an immediate goal and my family feeling better is the final goal. But it is normal to speak of that final goal as my intention. Similarly, God’s final goal in Christ’s death is salvation for everyone, but His immediate goal is provision for salvation."
I answer: The medicine analogy doesn't work in Dan's favor, but just the opposite. Here's why:a) In the analogy, the fact that I intend to get the medicine is essentially an instrumental intent for the major intent of making my family better by medicating them.
b) But, in the Arminian order of decrees, the "medicating" or "saving" is apparently NOT in sight in the decree that Christ would die. Instead, it's as though I show up at the store planning to buy medicine, and then think to myself - "hey, some of my family is sick, I better give this to them." That's intuitively not how God's logical order would flow, and it's hard to believe that anyone would suggest such an analogy.
In fact, the (a) analogy is the one people would think of. The decree to go to the store is logically subsequent to the decree to medicate one's family, as it is the instrumental means whereby the end is carried out. First I think, "Boy I wish my family were well," and then I think, "I'll buy them some drugs at the pharmacy."
Dan continued: "As for a Scriptural basis, I would point to Christ’s intercession. It’s based on Christ’s death (John 17:4), but not the same as Christ’s death. Both Christ’s death and His intercession are necessary for justification (Romans 8:34). So it seems Christ’s death is an intermediate part of Christ’s overall work in salvation; although it’s the basis for salvation. Hence, God’s intention in decreeing Christ’s death was immediately to provide for salvation and ultimately to save."I answer: I don't follow Dan's argument here at all. I understand how one might argue that Christ's intercession is necessary for justification, and how one might therefore argue that Christ's death itself was a part of the overall work in salvation. I think such an argument would have problems if we turned to Hebrews, but even if it did not (and I'd rather not head down that rabbit trail) I don't see how that would help Dan out. In fact, it would seem to make his problem worse! The less that the death of Christ becomes in actually saving people, the less sense it makes for God to decree Christ's death without having the ultimate end in mind.
I had also written: the second decree [the decree to save anyone who believes] still seems counter to the first decree by providing a barrier to the savability of men
Dan responded: "I don’t think it should be called a barrier. In the medicine example above, would anyone say that my coming home from the store with medicine and calling out to my family, “if you want some, come and get it” a barrier to their feeling better?"I answer: It would, if your medicine was an adrenaline shot and your family were sick from an overdose. It would be a practically insurmountable barrier in that instance. It is a barrier here also, and an insurmountable one too unless there is a decree to give grace (which there isn't yet, in the Arminian order). And unless that grace is irresistible (which it isn't in the Arminian system) again there is a barrier, however small it may be even after the further decree to give "prevenient grace."
Dan continued: "Hum… Perhaps you were addressing a difference sense for “savable” than the one I intended. Does my response above help with this as well?"I'm not sure. It doesn't appear (to me) to address the inherent conflict in the Arminian order of decrees, which is the fundamental problem that seems to prevent it from being a reasonably acceptable position.