Archive for the ‘King David’ Category

David’s Relationship to God

December 18, 2009

Vox Veritatis has some thoughts on the problems with the English expression “Mother of God.” (link to comments) Of course, there is an orthodox sense to the term (the orthodox sense is that Mary was the mother of Jesus, who is God incarnate), but the resultant expression is awkward at best.

The only argument for the expression is that Jesus is God, Jesus is the Son of Mary, therefore Mary is the mother of God. But Jesus is also the Son of David. Any takers for calling David “the Father of God” or the “Ancestor of God”?

Unsurprisingly, there are few takers for this kind of expression. The reason why is intuitive. It just sounds inappropriate. It similarly sounds inappropriate to call Mary the Mother of God (to those of us who have not become desensitized to the expression), since she did not provide Jesus’ divinity: only Jesus’ humanity was taken from Mary.

– TurretinFan

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David’s Son – an Unworkable Argument

September 24, 2009

One of David’s sons died in infancy. David mourned him before he died, but stopped grieving when the child died. This puzzled the servants of David. When asked about his odd behavior:

2 Samuel 12:22-23
And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

A large number of people use this as a prooftext for the idea either that infants of believers (or all infants) who die in infancy will be saved. There are three main problems with that argument:

1) Go to him in Heaven?

The verse just says “go to him.” It doesn’t say “go to him, in heaven.” It does not indicate that David thinks he will join his son in Paradise. Furthermore, David’s calm is not produced by joy. David does not rejoice that his son is in heaven. He just submitted to the providence of God and went about his business:

2 Samuel 12:19-20
But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, “Is the child dead?”
And they said, “He is dead.”
Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.

As one of my friends who uses the handle “Hobster,” recently pointed out. David may simply have meant that he was going to be joining his son in the grave. In the Hebrew mind, we see this kind of thought. For example:

1 Kings 2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.

In case you think this is a good thing, note that it is also said of wicked king Ahab:

1 Kings 22:40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

2) Go to him in Hell?

As noted above, David doesn’t say where he thinks the child is going. He also doesn’t say where he thinks he himself is going. He has just sinned grievously, and we are not specifically told whether David has assurance of salvation at this time. I suppose he ought to, but we are not told that he does have such assurance. If David does not have assurance of salvation, then this verse would seem to have either same general “go to the grave” concept, or perhaps a more sinister concept of going to the place of the damned.

3) Is David Inspired?

The text of Scripture is inspired, but the text is an historical narrative. It tells us what David said, but it does not specifically endorse what David said. Even if David meant he would see his child in heaven, we could not necessarily conclude that David was right as opposed simply to David being optimistic.

Conclusion

We don’t know for sure where David’s son went. It would not be wise, therefore, to build a doctrine regarding the salvation of infants on this verse alone. David’s resignation and lack of joy (ending his weeping and fasting, not putting on a celebration) suggest that he had simply accepted the punishment of God, rather than having any particular hope as to the salvation of his son.

That is not, of course, to say that I think I’ve proved that David definitely didn’t mean what so many softhearted folks would like to think he means. David thinking that his son was in heaven hasn’t been proved wrong, and perhaps the comments by David were put there for us to adopt.

Regardless of whether one adopts the highly optimistic view that David thought his son was saved, one should heed David’s argument. While a child is alive, pray for its health and welfare. Once it is dead, it is too late. Accept the chastisement of God (if it is that, as it was in David’s case) and resist the temptation placed before you to be angry with God. Go, wash up, clean your face, worship God and go about your business. That’s easy for me to say, but it is also the right thing to do.

-TurretinFan

Calvinistic Prayer and Combined Bets

March 10, 2008

I enjoy reading philosophical articles, and this one (link) about combining bets happened to crosspolinate with some thoughts I had been having regarding prayer. There are certainly differences, but there are some interesting similarities.

You see, before something occurs, we – like David when his son was dying – may pray passionately for a particular outcome to occur. Nevertheless, after the event, we accept God’s Providence as being for the best, despite the fact that it may that our prayers were answered (as David’s was) in the negative.

One nice thing about Calvinist prayers is that we qualify our prayers (either explicitly, or – oftentimes – implicitly) as being “if it by Thy will.” In other words, we do not pray for a particular outcome in the abstract. Furthermore, trusting in God, we are cognizant that the outcome God selects is the best outcome.

In a sense, therefore, we combine our bets. In the combining bets example, a person is given favorable odds of an event happening and favorable odds that it doesn’t from another guy. In such a situation, the “rational” choice is to take both bets (leaving other factors out of the equation), because you are sure to lose one, and sure to win the other one, yielding you a net gain. Professional gamblers look for these sorts of situations, and leap on them, which is why one does not normally see bookmakers with dramatically different odds from one another.

A Calvinists prayer is somewhat similar: we are guaranteed a win. The professional gambler may have a favorite dog in the race, but he realizes that by combining his bets, he’s assured himself of a good outcome. Likewise, by properly submitting ourselves and our perceptions to God’s sovereignty, we are assured of a good outcome.

You prayed that your dog would live, and yet God took him? You are still a winner, for God works all things together for the good of the elect. If you trust in Him, you are a winner, even when you are a loser. With immense faith evidencing enormous grace from God, you can even submit to God’s will to the extent that Job did, such that when:

– your enormous riches are reduced to ruin;
– your body is smitten with a horribly irritating and painful disease;
– your children all die at once; and
– your wife turns against God,

You can incredibly recognize that it is for the best, and praise God saying, the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord!

As with the combined bet, we don’t need to know what the outcome of our prayer will be, to pray in faith, nothing wavering, because we pray that God’s will will be done, while expressing our ofttimes-passionate preference for a particular outcome.

Blessed indeed be His name, whether He gives riches or poverty,

-Turretinfan


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