Hackmodford wrote:The difference is that in the story Adam & Eve have no knowledge of what good or evil is therefore they cannot make a decision wisely.
I see your point, and it brings up a good question of how much did Adam and Eve know? I think they knew enough to know to obey God.
I'm not convinced that the Joseph comparison to the Exodus one is a good one. Simply because it is clear that God is causing Pharaoh to act a certain way while, while Josephs brothers are responsible for their actions according to the account.
I do see the distinction that you make. My intent was just to show another example of God's sovereignty and how he uses people to accomplish His will. A way that some (possibly most) look at is that God is just reacting to man's will, like the boy putting his finger in the dike. Like one day God thought "Oh, Joseph's brothers decided to sell him into slavery, so how can I work this out?" It was all part of God's plan from the beginning. As the old adage goes "Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?"
In my mind, this is the biggest paradox in the Bible: the balance of human will and God's will. It's clear that He is the Potter and we are clay in His hands. Yet we have free will and aren't "mindless robots." I think our will may not be as free as I used to believe. I think He manipulates our will, so we are still doing what we choose to do, but it is accomplishing what He wants.
This brings up all kinds of moral questions that I don't have the answers for. But that's what I believe right now. It has taken me a few years to come to this belief, but it was something I couldn't ignore any longer. For me, it goes back to what ProfessorAlan said: "if I find two passages in the Bible that seem to contradict each other ... I believe them both." The Bible seems to clearly say both, so I believe them both and know that God is big enough to somehow manipulate my will without violating it.
Well, I've avoided this topic several times before because I don't think that my beliefs are very popular in American culture right now (though I've learned that they used to be much more the norm years ago). So, consider the can of worms opened.