How do you respond to 1 Kings 8:58?

Solomon prays as he dedicates the temple, “The Lord our God be with us…[and] incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments…” (vs. 57-58).

Compatibilists sometimes cite biblical prayers such as this one to support the view that God determines the human heart. If this were the case, however, one wonders why humans would have to pray for this to happen. In this passage Solomon is simply realizing that the people of Israel will not be faithful to God on their own. Hence he asks God to move on people’s hearts. But neither this or any other biblical passage suggests that this spiritual influence is coercive.

 

Related Reading

What is the significance of Jeremiah 38:17–18, 20–21, 23?

The Lord prophesies to Zedekiah, “If you will only surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon” the city and his family would be spared, but “if you do not surrender” the city and his family would be destroyed. He then reiterates, “But if you are determined not to surrender” even Zedekiah himself would…

Topics:
Bible in the shadow of the Cross

Answering an Objection to a Cross-Centered Approach to Scripture

Through Greg’s Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been getting some great feedback and questions regarding his cross-centered approach to Scripture. Several have voiced questions similar to the reader’s (below), so we thought it would be helpful to post Greg’s answer here on his blog.

How do you respond to Galatians 3:8?

“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.’” God has never wanted “any to perish”: he’s always desired “all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4). God’s goal has always been to reach…

Topics:

Shouldn’t preachers rally Christians to fight political injustice?

Question: My pastor has publicly supported your book The Myth of a Christian Nation. But he’s recently called on the church to take a stand against the injustice of our local government cutting funding for inner city recreational facilities. This seems right to me, since we’re suppose to defend the cause of the poor and…

How can we determine what is and is not “open” about the future?

Question: You believe that the future is partly open. You’re writing has pretty much convinced me this is true, but I’ve still got some serious questions about it. For example, how does anyone determine what part is open and what part is not? If we can’t determine what is and is not open, isn’t the…

How do you respond to 1 Peter 1:20?

“[Christ] was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for our sake. Through him you have come to trust in God…” This passage reveals that God created the world with Jesus Christ in mind (cf. Col. 1:15–17). The divine goal was (and is) to acquire a…