OSAS Proof-Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:14

Ecclesiastes 3:14:

“I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.”

OSAS Interpretation:

“Scripture’s application of this principle to salvation (cf. Eph. 1:4) results in the doctrine of eternal security.  If what God does is forever, and if salvation is a work of God (Jonah 2:10), then salvation is forever.  If salvation can be lost, then it is not forever. Therefore, salvation cannot be lost.” 1

The error of this statement is assuming that the verse is teaching that God does not cease any action that He starts.  Using the above logic, then, I can ‘prove’ that God’s act of creating the world is never-ending:

Premise #1: What God does is forever (Eccl. 3:14).

Premise #2: Creation is a work of God (Gen. 2:2).

Conclusion: Therefore, God’s work of creation is forever (in direct contradiction to Genesis 2:2).

The fallacy of such logic is taking the phrase ‘whatever God does endures forever’, divorcing it from its context, and then applying it to a completely different subject (in Geisler’s case, salvation; by way of analogy, creation). With that in mind, does whatever God do endure forever?  Well, yes… but only within the context of the passage in which the phrase appears.

In the context of Ecclesiastes 3:9-15, all that is being taught is that God has given the business of toil to mankind (v. 10), and has put eternity in the hearts of mankind (v. 11). Verse 14 simply means that this is the way that God has made things, and there is nothing that we can do to change it (‘nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it’).  It is not teaching that God does not cease any action that He commissions.  If such was the case, we are left with absurd conclusions.  For example:

» God would be creating the world forever, contradicting Genesis 2:2;

» God would be striving with man forever, contradicting Genesis 6:3;

» He would be commanding all men everywhere to repent and offering salvation to whosoever will forever, thus making Acts 17:30-31 devoid of any meaning;

» He would be telling people to seek Him forever, thus making Isaiah 55:6 devoid of any meaning.

Verdict:

Ecclesiastes 3:14 does not prove OSAS. Ecclesiastes 3:14 doesn’t have anything to do with the doctrine of eternal security.  Geisler’s use of it leads to Scriptural absurdity.


Notes

1 Geisler, N., Systematic Theology, p. 306

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