Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sigh to the Nth power

A video of charismatic preacher Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003). It makes me indescribably sad and indescribably angry. Probably more sad than angry. But it's close.

Physics Problem du Jour (#3)

Type: simple mechanics
Level of difficulty (1-5):  2.5

Click on the image to enlarge.

Solution will be posted (but not televised.)

Solution to Physics Problem #2

Type: simple mechanics/E&M
Level of difficulty (1-5):  2

Click on the image to enlarge.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Intelligent Design ain't dead yet (though it should be)

I believe there is something to Intelligent Design (ID) as an apologetic. I think most believing scientists and science admirers do. We do look at science and see (more like "feel") design, even in evolution. The more we learn about science, the more we see (feel) God's hand, not less. Where we part ways is when ID is said to have a scientific foundation--that it somehow is science. (It's not.) That is the benign parting of ways. The malignant parting of ways, speaking just for myself, was what I viewed as the dishonesty, machinations and even tribalism of the early 2000's ID leaders--who really poisoned everything about ID with their misbegotten, hugely counterproductive, epic-failing, culture-war attempts to "wedge" it into the science curriculum.

For a brief history of their epic-fails (and they are epic) see the Wedge Document (where their cabal created a five-year super-secret plan to change the world) and the Keystone Cops  cdesign-proponentsists fiasco where they were caught with their fly open and had their dishonesty made manifest.

I have to give them credit, they are resilient in bad-penny sort of way. They have a new strategy to win the war they started with science, and it appears to be an argument from boredom. They are trumpeting  a 1000+ page tome that ID philosopher David Klinghoffer brags:

The quality of Christian literature is getting better and better when it comes to showing that the Bible gets it right. Both theistic and naturalistic evolution are rationally inferior to Intelligent Design theory theologically, philosophically and scientifically. But people don’t know this, so a group of us decided to do the book Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical and Theological Critique. (Emphasis added.)

ID proponents have been telling us for years that ID is about science. They were being dishonest of course—ID was nothing more than creationism in a new tuxedo.  But they tried to maintain the fiction.  

If ID is science, as they claim, then I am confused as to how it could be, as Klinghoffer asserts, theologically and philosophically superior to anything. That is like claiming that NASCAR is a better laundry detergent than Formula One racing. ID, they say, it is all about scientific, quantifiable, testable evidence for a design with no (wink, nod) stand taken as to the designer is. 1   On the other hand, judged on the basis of science (their third claim of superiority) they are not even in the same league as evolution, be it naturalistic or theistic, which are the same scientifically. Evolution makes predictions and then does scientific experiments to confirm the predictions. ID does not.

ID really is philosophical/theological, and would have some value if they admitted as much. But they don’t. And yet they are somehow superior in these realms. 

But don’t worry about anything! The last sentence assures us that a group of really smart enlightened people (including Wayne Grudem! What could go wrong?) will correct this massive onslaught of biblical ignorance. Our salvation is at hand.

1Just to be sure I believe there is a designer and the designer is God. What I think is utterly dishonest is to claim that you can scientifically demonstrate design and take no stand as to who the designer is (because you want the "science" to be taken seriously) when everybody and their mother knows you think the designer is God. You just do not find it politically expedient to say so. Dishonesty abounds (apparently still) with the IDers.

Predestination (Part 4) (modified)

This is based, in part, on John Gerstner’s A Predestination  Primer.

Predestination Part 1
Predestination Part 2
Predestination Part 3

We are on the last step of a four step "proof" of predestination:
  1. Proof of the Doctrine of Total Depravity
  2. Establishment of Man’s Moral Inability
  3. The Divine Initiative (Rebirth)
  4. Predestination
Step 4. Predestination

So far we have proposed: man is totally depraved, born in iniquity; with no ability to move himself to where he seeks God; and before he can choose God, God must first choose him. The only remaining question is: When does God make this choice?

We should stop here and, once again, consider the interconnectedness of these four steps. If man is totally depraved, unable to save himself, and reliant on God to resurrect him from death, on what basis does God choose one person to benefit from this gift while another does not?

It cannot be on the basis of their deeds, because that would belie our doctrine, so far developed, that man’s deeds are but filthy rags. My filthy rags are no less filthy than anyone else’s. Can it be that God rolls the dice for every person—a cosmic lottery? No, that would impugn what the bible teaches us elsewhere about God’s character. Besides, it tells us that we choose and love him because he first chose and loved us. Loving someone is not consistent with a random drawing.

This is indeed a puzzle. I don’t know if there is more than one possible solution, but there is an obvious one: that God chose us ahead of time; that God loved us ahead of time—ignoring our filthy deeds, and for those he loved he provided a redeemer. In other words, a temporal solution seems utterly at odds with God’s ability to choose one person over another. But an eternal decree would fit. Once again, if we find that the bible does teach of a choice made before time began, we are more confident of our previous three steps. If it doesn’t, then something is wrong with our exegesis.

At close examination, we see that, at the heart of the matter, we are actually poking about in the area of God’s sovereignty. Is God sovereign over all of creation? Can God ever be surprised about how things turn out? Did God send His son to die and now sits waiting and hoping that we will do our part? Or did God ensure from all eternity that there would be a people to give to His son, the same people that the Son would redeem, and the very same people that the Spirit would enlighten?

It makes sense, then, to start with a passage that reminds us of God’s sovereignty.
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Dan 4:35)
There are many other verses we could examine, but to me no verse is quite as clear in showing that neither man, nor angels, nor devils can thwart the hand of God. This would logically include, it would seem to me, adding to or subtracting from the number of the elect. If not, then we have to admit that while God may be “mostly” sovereign, He is not totally in control of the names written in the book of life.

Let’s now look for passages that support predestination—the idea that God’s choice for us was made long before we were born.
Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass, (Job 14:5)

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Ps 139:16)

And when they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD: “‘Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence, and those who are for the sword, to the sword; those who are for famine, to famine, and those who are for captivity, to captivity.’ (Jer 15:2)

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. (John 17:6)

And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (Eph 1:4-5)

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30/ And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (Rom 8:29-30)

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. (2 Th. 2:13)

in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began (Titus 1:2)
We are reminded of the words of Spurgeon, “It is a good thing that God chose me before the foundation of the world rather than waiting to see how I turned out.”

We come now to the coup de grace (with the emphasis on grace). While permeating throughout, nowhere in scripture is the doctrine more clearly taught that in the ninth chapter of Romans. This amazing chapter is often given the heading “God’s Sovereign Choice.” It begins by discussing the twins born to Isaac and Rebecca:
11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Rom. 9:11-13)
Here is where a railroad spike could be driven into the coffin of predestination. For Paul might be about to tell us that Jacob was favored because, rascal that he was, God foresaw that he (Jacob) would seek Him out, or that at least Jacob would assent to God's offer. That would place rebirth squarely back in the camp that requires man’s cooperation, and predestination in the camp that believes it merely refers to foreknowledge.

Now, as an aside, even if we arrived here without thinking about predestination, we would very surprised if Paul was about to tell us that God loved Jacob because he foresaw Jacob’s willing response. Jacob’s conversion, described in Genesis 32, is the very picture of divine initiative (step 3 in our proof) and man’s inability (step 2): God literally wrestles Jacob to the ground and makes him say uncle. Possibly the only conversion in scripture that displays the divine initiative more vividly is that of Paul himself, where God knocks him from his horse. Here again, we see not man’s cooperation but God’s selection.

At any rate, how does Paul proceed from setting the stage for a possible repudiation of predestination? He proceeds not by repudiating it but by affirming it.
14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (Rom 9:14-18)
So, Paul tells us, it has nothing to do with what man wills, or on his works (exertion), but it is entirely a sovereign choice of God who, even if it seems unfair to us, will have mercy upon those it pleases Him to have mercy.

Next Paul anticipates that precise complaint: but that’s not fair. He then answers it straightforwardly, in one of the hardest, most brutal, yet unambiguous passages in all of scripture:
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Rom 9:19-24)
Here we have a difficult lesson indeed. Vessels of destruction and vessels of mercy, prepared in advance. Why? Because that is how they would turn out? No, it appears that it is because it makes the riches of his glory known.

A final point. We must understand that we all are born in rebellion. Justice for all would mean damnation for all. Instead, some receive mercy, some who were chosen in advance not because of merit but because it pleased God to do so in a way that we cannot really comprehend. Why did he do so? For His glory—which again we cannot fully comprehend. In all of this, does anyone receive injustice? No—mercy is a gift shown to some. Others receive a terrible but ethical justice.

On the fairness question, we should consider whether the alternative view is fair.

The non-predestination, or Arminian view is that life is fair, because we all have the chance to hear and respond to the Gospel.

Do we?

The Arminian view of Jacob and Esau must be something like this: Born twins, they were equal in many ways. Esau, however, was a man’s man and spent his days working the land. Jacob was more of a mother’s boy who stayed inside. There she instructed him in the ways of God, so that ultimately He came to believe upon the Lord.

In this possible counter explanation, was life any more “fair” to Esau?

How about two identical twins--Bill and Ted. Both as equal as possible in terms of IQ, parental rearing, education, finances, etc. Bill accepts the gospel, but Ted doesn't. What was different about the two? One happened to be in the right place at the right time? Was that fair? Was God's grace just sufficient enough for Bill but not quite for Ted? Was that fair?

In the non-predestination view, is life fair to the many millions who have died without hearing the gospel?

In the non-predestination view, is life fair to the children murdered in the womb before they can hear the gospel?

If your response is: Even though millions have died without hearing the gospel, including the 40 million murdered in the womb in the U.S. since Roe, God could save them if He wanted to, then I say to you: Precisely. Welcome to Calvinism.

Next: “problem” verses.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Today I start lecturing on entropy in my thermo class (which begins in 5 minutes). It is my favorite topic in all of physics. I am felling quite giddy!

By the way, we no longer teach entropy in terms of order and disorder. At least that is not the primary paradigm (is that redundant?), as it once was. That's now considered sooooooo 20th century.

Name it but don't claim it

Prayer is a complicated subject, made more so by those difficult words of Jesus recorded in John’s gospel, including:
13Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14)
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7
Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. (John 16:24)

Why are these words difficult? Because each of us has prayed for something that didn’t happen, or for something we didn’t receive. How then is that reconciled? Because Jesus’ words state quite plainly that whatever is asked in his name shall be given. No exception. No loop-hole. No quid pro quo.

The problem is that seemingly everyone attempts to explain these passages with exceptions, loop-holes, and whatever is the plural of quid pro quo.

One explanation really ticks me off is the “All prayer is always answered, but sometimes the answer is no!” explanation. Apart from being a pointless tautology, that is not what Jesus said. He did not say: “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you, except when I say no, but that still counts.” No, he said quite plainly: “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Period.

Another silly cop-out is that it only applies if it is “in his will.” Again, Jesus makes no such qualifications. Besides, we are in agreement, or we should be, that God is sovereign. Everything that happens is always in his will. Adding “if it be in your will” to a prayer is a respectful display of humility—but hardly necessary. God could not grant a prayer that was outside of his will.

A slightly more subtle loop-hole is related to the qualifiers “in my name” or “abides in me.” This routinely becomes and escape clause that we provide for God, as if he needs our help. “Asking in my name” takes on a much grander meaning that the words merit—it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy/righteousness test for the person praying. Anything not done with a proper heart becomes a prayer that was not really in his name. If the person make two requests and the first one is granted but not the second, then presumably the petitioner backslid mid-prayer, from asking in his name to asking out of his name.

This interpretation of why prayer is not always answered, because it really wasn’t asked “in his name” establishes a pecking order of Christians in a sense for which there is little or no scriptural support. It implies some Christians are good-enough Christians that their prayers are answered, just like Jesus promises, others are not—but that’s not Jesus’ fault, those prayers weren’t really “in his name” given the petitioner’s spiritual shortcomings.

I think this is wrong, yet it is the common explanation. I googled John 14:13 and the very first link that tried to explain the verse gave this usual bad explanation:
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. What man would dare to make such a promise? It will be noted, that in order to enjoy the fullness of these glorious promises we must, (1) Believe. They are limited thus in Joh[n] 14:12. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (2) We must ask in his name, or, in dependence upon the merit and intercession of Christ. (3) As shown elsewhere, we must come with a spirit of complete submission to the Father's will, feeling that his will is best, and saying in our hearts, Thy will be done. (boldface added)
No, no, no. Jesus said nothing of the sort. Jesus states plainly: ask anything, and it will be given.

What did he mean? I think it is quite simple: he meant ask anything, and it will be given. Just as he said.

The key is: he didn’t mean it for us.

The chapters of John from which these sayings of Jesus are drawn involve his instructions to the apostles. He is telling the apostles: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 15:16) and “Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20) Most Christians are never persecuted, but Jesus says they will persecute you. He was talking to the apostles, not to us. Likewise when Jesus warns: “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.” (John 16:2) We aren’t being put out of the synagogue. And with notable exceptions, Christians were not, as a rule, throughout history, killed as part of some misguided attempt to please God.

It is quite clear when the verses about answered prayer are placed in the context of John chapters 14-16, that Jesus is making specific promises and instruction to the apostles. He is not saying: Hey David down there in the 21st century, if you pray in my name for your son’s autism to be cured it will happen, but only if you pray in my name, and so if it doesn’t happen you must not be praying in my name. No, this is what is happening here: Jesus is bestowing apostolic power. He is saying: Peter, if you ask for a demon to be cast out, it shall be done. John, if you pray for a lame man to be healed, it shall be done.

Later Paul has instruction for our prayer, and his model does not come with explicit promises that prayer will be fulfilled. He prays for journeys that don’t happen and for healing that doesn’t occur—with the understanding that prayer is, in part, where we tell God what we desire simply because He grants us the privilege of this intimate communication.

Confusion arises when we misunderstand Jesus instructions to the apostles, assuming that it applies to us. We should know, when we are forced to do great violence to the text to explain why prayer requests often are not met, that our interpretation is wrong. Jesus would never say ask anything, and it will be given unless that is exactly what he meant.

Having said all this, I don't think that even to the apostles Jesus is giving a blank check. The bible is meant to be read intelligently. I believe it was implied (and understood) that Jesus was saying: you will not engage in your life's work of preaching the gospel and caring for the church on your own. Whatever you need, for this task upon which you are about to embark, will be provided as long as you remain in communion with me through prayer. Here "in my name" is not an magical incantation--in means in regards to the task which I have given you.

Now we should move on to what James has to say about prayer in his epistle. But I won't, because I have no cogent (even in my own mind) comments--it is, for me, impenetrable. Prayer is a tough subject.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hilarious Newspaper Corrections

Actual corrections.

I was drinking coffee. My keyboard is ruined.

Believe AND be baptized? Oh, and Sola Scriptura too.

I have a love-hate relationship with tough passages, such as:
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16.
This is one troublesome passage. (Or maybe not. But let's run with at as it stands.)

Now it is not particularly relevant (although it is sometimes brought up in that context) for the infant baptism debate. For, as I have written many times, "whoever believes" and similar phrases cannot exclude infants (including those in the womb), if you expect that at least some infants are saved.

No, the trouble with Mark 16:16 is that the first phrase implies that baptism is absolutely required. Contrary to the gospel, it adds baptism to faith as necessary for salvation. The second half of the verse seems to step back from that position, but not necessarily, logically speaking. For if whoever believes AND is baptized is saved means, as it sure looks like, that both faith and baptism are required, then it is still true that that whoever doesn’t believe is lost—although you would expect the writer to add a similar warning for the non-baptized.

There is really no other way to interpret whoever believes AND is baptized will be saved. The reference to baptism can not be incidental. It simply can not be assumed that there is an omitted parenthetical qualifier:  whoever believes and is baptized (although that is not necessary) will be saved. That makes no sense and carries no more content than saying whoever believes and owns a Cadillac will be saved. True enough, but obviously not worth mentioning.

No, this passage teaches that you must be baptized, contrary to the rest of scripture, which is more along the lines of: you had better be baptized, barring extraordinary circumstances.

The answer, of course, is that Mark 16:16 (in fact Mark 16:9-20) is most likely not inspired and does not belong in the canon.

For those of you not familiar with this position, I will tell you that it has a wealth of scholarly support—and many bibles point out that the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 is disputed. (This "Marcan Appendix" is also the place in Mark where the practice of snake-handling is derived.)

Some of the reasons are: 1
  • The earliest complete gospel manuscripts Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus do not contain the passage.
  • While many early (but later than the two above) manuscripts contain the passage, almost all "asterisk" it as under dispute.
  • Early manuscripts in other languages omit the passage.
  • Eusebius and Jerome both doubted the authenticity.
  • Early theologians such as Clement of Alaxandria and Cyril of Jeusalem (and others) never refer to the passage.
  • Other early manuscripts agree up to Mark 16:8, but then have different endings. (Awesome!)
  • Scholars detect a difference in style and word-use when compared with the rest of Mark's gospel.
Can we ever be sure that Matt. 16:16 does not belong in the bible? Probably not. However, given that it is contested by serious conservative scholars, and given that it is seemingly at odds with other undisputed scripture, it would seem to prudent to avoid building or even supporting any theology on the basis of Mark 16:16.

The fact that virtually every bible contains at least two familiar passages (Mark 16:9-20) and the beloved John 7:53-8:11 that are probably not inspired is fascinating, and it points out that our Protestant rallying cry of Sola Scriptura is not as trivial as both Protestants and Catholics make it out to be. It is not synonymous with stating that we Protestants have no traditions—or even stating that we have only "unimportant" traditions. Our canon –the sixty six books of the bible—is a Protestant sacred tradition. I have hope that the Sprit guided the process, but the difference between that hope and the hope of Catholics, which sounds identical—that the Spirit guides the Catholics church in areas such as Marian doctrine—is not to be cavalierly side-stepped. "Sacred tradition"  is really a question of quantity, not substance; of minimal vs. expanding.

1 Summarized from The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism, Gregg Strawbridge ed., P&R Publishing, pp. 44-48, 2003.

Predestination (Part 3) (modified)

This is based, in part, on John Gerstner’s A Predestination  Primer.

Predestination Part 1
Predestination Part 2

We are on step three of a four step "proof" of predestination:
  1. Proof of the Doctrine of Total Depravity
  2. Establishment of Man’s Moral Inability
  3. The Divine Initiative (Rebirth)
  4. Predestination
Step 3. The Divine Initiative

Here we find ourselves, if the arguments for total depravity and moral inability have convinced, at a rather interesting place. Scripture is telling us that we cannot save ourselves—in fact we cannot even participate in our own salvation. So we had better find passages that teach of a divine initiative. By divine initiative, we mean that God takes the first step—we don’t even cooperate. We call this step regeneration, or rebirth, or being given a new heart, or being born again, or receiving new life, or receiving a new nature.  In short we call it good news.

In a nutshell, divine initiative means that God changes us--not in response to anything we do, but because it pleases him to do so.

What if we don’t find such teaching? We would have to conclude that our interpretation of total depravity and moral inability was wrong. Because we do know there is a gospel; some will be saved. If we interpret that man cannot save himself, and yet there is no indication of a divine initiative, then total depravity and moral inability must be false doctrines.

On the other hand, if we find clear teaching on divine initiative, then that strengthens our confidence in those same doctrines. In other words, there is a synergism among these doctrines: they stand or fall together.

This nature of this divine initiative must be that God copes with man’s desperate situation. It is the fulfillment of the Psalmist’s words “Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;” When God reveals his mighty strength in changing a man’s heart and giving him a new nature, that man becomes a man of violence who takes the kingdom of heaven by force. Because of God’s initiative, he is now so determined to know this Christ, whom he sees clearly for the first time, that he will permit nothing to stand in his way.

That is how the divine initiative works out. We are morphed to a point where we seek God. But how do we know that we didn’t arrive here on our own—by the power of our intellects or by observing other Christians? We know because we are told by Jesus, in John 15:16You did not choose me, but I chose you.

We come to love Jesus, but why do we love him? John tells us, in 1 John 4:19, it is because Jesus first loved us.

The Psalmist also tells us when we will seek Gods face: when he tells us to:
You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Ps. 27:8)
Jesus tells the Pharisees that they do not hear his voice, because they are not his sheep. And his followers do hear his voice, because they are his sheep (John 10) But what makes a person hear, what makes a person a sheep of the Great Shepherd, and the person next to him, listening to the same words, deaf to His voice? It is that one has been changed while the other remains in the flesh.

Here are a few passages that make this rather explicit:
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. (Deu 30:6)

26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezek 36:26-27)

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. (John 6:44)

to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:18)

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, (Eph 1:17)

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— (Eph 2:5)

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:14)
The teaching that we see here is simple: it is both necessary and sufficient that God changes you before you seek him. Something has to happen to a person before they will accept the things of the Spirit of God. We contribute only our sins—everything else—not ninety-nine but one hundred percent—is a gift from God. He doesn’t heal us, he resurrects us from our death to sin.