John Calvin: Predestination and Justice
In this second article in a series on John Calvin’s doctrine of predestination, I will describe why and how Calvin chose to teach predestination. I also will articulate John Calvin’s conception of justice, and his defense of predestination as just. In the first article I explained Calvin’s doctrine of predestination itself.
My discussion of Calvin’s view will draw on excerpts from Book III, chapters 21-23, of his Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) in Hans J. Hillerbrand’s collection The Protestant Reformation (ordinary page references are to this work), and sections 3.24.4 and 3.24.5 of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion translated by Henry Beveridge (decimal references are to this work, pictured to the right).
John Calvin: On Teaching Predestination
Based on his conviction that the Bible is God’s beneficial and sufficient revelation for humanity, John Calvin felt constrained to teach the doctrine of predestination (182). To the extent that predestination is part of scripture, Calvin thought it should be taught for the benefit of God’s people (181, 183). Calvin had several specific benefits in view. First, predestination reveals a wonderful and terrible aspect of God’s glory that is formative for believers (180). A second and correlated benefit is “true humility (180).” To see God in all his awesome glory is at once to see our own humble position relative to him, and to clearly sense our obligation to him (180). According to Calvin, those who suppress the doctrine of predestination “tear humility up by the very roots (180).” A third benefit Calvin cited is confidence in our salvific status. By the doctrine of election, believers can rest assured that God’s eternal salvific purpose will be accomplished in their lives, despite trial and hardship (180). Together, Calvin described these three benefits of the doctrine as the very “foundation of our salvation (180-181).”
In addition to his desire to benefit believers, John Calvin seemed concerned to address methodological deficiencies in the way the doctrine of predestination was often approached. Specifically, Calvin rejected inquiry into predestination that was not bounded by the teachings of scripture, declaring it “foolish and dangerous, nay, even deadly (182).” In keeping with his notion of the sufficiency of scripture, Calvin advocated inquiry that was strictly limited by scripture. Where scripture is silent regarding aspects of predestination, believers should adopt a “learned ignorance (182).” Where scripture teaches, we too should teach (182).
Calvin exemplified this method in his writing, grounding his teaching in copious biblical passages. While Calvin periodically cited theological predecessors such as Augustine (181, 205, 208, 211) or Bernard (3.24.4), these citations were generally linked to scriptural support and were never used as the sole basis for an argument. Calvin also made frequent use of logic as a criterion for evaluating biblical interpretations and the arguments of his opponents (e.g., his use of “consistency”, 192). As far as possible, John Calvin wanted to portray God’s purposes and actions as humanly reasonable. However, as noted above, he recognized limits to the application of human reason, and so he eschewed speculative inquiry apart from the Bible (181). Where the Bible appeals to the unknowable mystery of God, Calvin wanted to limit the probing of reason.
John Calvin on Predestination as Just
John Calvin’s doctrine of predestination was often opposed on the grounds that it made God out to be unjust. However, Calvin strongly countered such arguments, elucidating his conception of justice in the process. One objection to his doctrine was that it portrayed God as tyrannical, condemning people who, before creation, had done nothing wrong (202). A second related objection was that if God willed humanity’s fall in Adam—as Calvin maintained (207-208) —why does he condemn those in the sinful condition he willed (204)? Moreover, are such people justly condemned for sin they could not avoid? Who can resist the will of God (206)?
Calvin answered these objections in two ways. First, he maintained (with scripture; cf. Gen. 18.25, 204) that God’s will is the “highest rule of righteousness,” and therefore anything that God wills—such as predestination—“must be considered righteous,” or just, regardless of how it appears to us (202). For Calvin, God’s will has “its own equity (210).” Here Calvin upheld the justice of God, but claimed that it is simply “unknown” to us on some level (210). Thus, God’s justice is ultimately hidden and mysterious. With Paul (Rom. 9.20), Calvin affirmed that it is simply not our place to question God (205). He rejected that God is lawless, but he also rejected that God must give us an account of his justice, or that we are competent to “pronounce judgment [on God]…according to our own understanding (203).” It is absurd to accuse God because of our own lack of understanding (205). For John Calvin, since predestination yields the glory of God, it must be just: “whatever deserves praise must be just (209).”
Calvin’s second response was that since all people, including the reprobate, are “vitiated by sin,” and so deserve the punishment of death, God is actually just toward the reprobate in a perfectly comprehensible way: “of what injustice toward themselves may they complain (203)?” Calvin argued that although the hidden cause of God’s predestination is incomprehensible, “we should contemplate the evident cause of condemnation,” which is human nature corrupted by sin (209). Here Calvin articulated a more common retributive notion of justice where wrongdoing is recompensed with punishment. So, while aspects of God’s justice are mysterious and hidden, this aspect is clear to humanity. Calvin asserted that the “cause and occasion” of the perdition of the reprobate lies in their own sin (209).
One further objection was raised that bears on God’s justice: God is uneven in his judgment. The objectors asserted that a just God should treat everyone equally, either punishing all or giving mercy to all (211). However, Calvin rejected this notion of justice on the ground that God is free to distribute mercy as he pleases, and that such mercy need not preclude judgment altogether (211). Calvin pointed out that God “does not bind Himself by a set law to call all men equally (197).” Thus, if people are all equally deserving of punishment (211), and if God owes mercy to no one, “He is freed of all accusation” regarding predestination (212). God chooses of his own free will to show mercy to some, and it is just for him to judge the others (211). Here John Calvin’s concept of justice was again retributive.
In summary, John Calvin defended a strong doctrine of predestination whereby God determined before all creation those who would obtain eternal life, and those who would receive eternal death. In both salvation and condemnation the key purpose of predestination is satisfied, that the glory of God might be shown. According to Calvin, God’s predestination is solely the result of his will, independent of external reasons, and so is ultimately mysterious to humanity. For this reason, Calvin advocated that inquiry into predestination be restricted to the bounds of scripture. Calvin repelled claims that predestination makes God unjust, arguing that all of sinful humanity deserves punishment—and so none are condemned unjustly—and that since God’s mysterious will is righteous, we can affirm that predestination is just.
And when it comes to the other uses of the word, besides
Romans 11:2–the Bible is speaking of the general will towards His saved ones, and mankind. Of course He has always known we are going to be His–but to list out or preclude every other human being as to not having a chance for redemption is absolutely absurd.Why then, would the LORD have died for ALL??
Again, I say–this whole idea of specialized, individual, predestination is a form of deep seated pride.
Why even bother evangelizing if this is so?
@Lisha: Your post betrays an almost complete ignorance of these two pieces on Calvin’s doctrine of God’s Predestination and Election! Indeed it is a “hard” doctrine and lesson from Holy Scripture, but it is NOT bound a wit by human pride! That is again ignorance of Calvin’s doctrine itself!
A “wit”. LOL
Fr Robert, could you please comment theologically?
The interesting thing, as the writer points out, is that “God willed humanity’s fall”. Calvin actually goes a step further by stating in Book III Chp 23 that “at His own pleasure [God] arranged it”. In effect Calvin is saying that it was a deliberate act of God that made the fall of man possible.
But why would God do that? Well, the answer is found in Hebrews 10:5. For Christ to have a body through which to put an end to corruption and evil (Daniel 9:24), man had to fall. No fall, no Christ and no end to the potentiality of evil (Hebrews 2:14) infecting creation.
The evidence of God’s deliberate orchestration of the fall is found in 2 Timothy 1:9-10. He drew up the plan before the creation of time. And what is that plan? It is the eradication of evil, iniquity and all manner of corruption so that it will never infect the new creation. The old, temporal creation that we are (universe, matter, earth, mankind) will pass away and a new universe, a new man will replace it (2 Peter 3:10-13 and Revelation 21:1-4, 22-27).
A wise God creates a temporal existence to annihilate evil, sin, disobedience, pain, suffering, tears, decay and wickedness. We have been called to put on the armor of God to fight this battle. When asked why we suffer, we can confidently respond that it is because Christ is in the process of destroying the cause of that suffering (1 John 3:8).
If man had not fallen, then there would have been no need, as you posit, for “…the eradication of evil, iniquity and all manner of corruption so that it will never infect the new creation…”
Since all of these things entered the creation at the fall. There was no corruption in the creation, God declared His creation “Good” then ceased and rested. However, God’s foreknowledge allowed Him to see the fall, sin, corruption etc, therefore the need for the Lamb to have been slain “from the foundations of the world”.
God’s transcendence and omniscience do not make a case for ‘predestination’ in the Calvinist sense.
Furthermore, indeed, no one deserves mercy, otherwise it would not be mercy.
The God who creates people for the specific purpose of eternel damnation and torment, so that He might “glory in their destruction” does not fit in with the God who pleads with man to repent or the God who sacrificed his own self to pay the penalty of sinful man to the Holy God. Nor does this God match the character of the God who declares that He “does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked” and places before man the CHOICE of life or death. In other words, the God Who is portrayed throughout scripture from beginning to end. There is a contradiction here. The scripture does not contradict itself. Therefore if it doesn’t match up, then there is a lack of understanding on man’s part. It follows that man is not understanding what is meant by ‘election’ or ‘predestination’.
So where did the evil come from Carlos? Was that part of God’s plan? If the answer is yes, why would He create evil so He can defeat it and rid his creation of it, why not rid His creation of it in the first place by not creating it? And if the answer is no, doesn’t that mean that God is not the creator of all things, that there is a rival force in existence (that God has to plan a strategy to defeat some day)?
Yes. That is exactly right. God did NOT create evil. The Bible teaches that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.
Surely “evil” has been part of God’s plan and purpose, to the Glory of God, and finally eternity, in the Incarnation and the Redemption of God In Christ! (But note God is not ever a dualism!) Theologically of course we can only know this Biblically, and by Divine Revelation! But of course our knowledge in ourselves is fallen and affected by sin and evil which God has allowed to enter into the world or creation. Myself theologically, I see this from the position and place of the Infralapsarian: the theological position that God’s decree to save “follows” logically (not temporally) the decision to create and permit the fall.
Btw, note Ephesians chapter 3, and St. Paul’s “dispensation” or Stewardship, in the mystery of Christ! See also verses 9-10-11, and finally our appreciation to bow our knees to the Father, and of our Lord Jesus Christ in prayer & praise, verses 14 thru 21. To GOD be the glory! (Rom. 11: 36)
So Robert, there is no dualism, no evil outside God’s creation and control, He is the creator of evil, we are the helpless recipients of it, and those of us who are not lucky enough to be saved by His grace are to burn in hell for ever for being the helpless recipients of it, and there is nothing we can do about that since we can’t redeem ourselves no mater how saintly we live. And to GOD be the glory of this wonderful creation. Have I got it?
@John: You might want to further familiarize yourself with Dualism, with this nice piece from the Stanford Encyclopedia, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dualism/ note the great difference between Plato and Aristotle, with of course Aristotle more correct overall. (I have a D.Phil myself Reformational and Reformed, which I finalized with my work on Luther’s Ontology of the Cross, but my BA in philosophy was Roman Catholic. Yes I was raised Irish cradle Catholic in Dublin in the 1950’s. Of course both were years ago now). I am neo-Calvinist, but Historic-Premillennial, aye eclectic I am! 😉
Of course GOD Himself, is NOT the author of evil, but He did somehow ordain its allowance and of course its use. It is quite hard for our fallen minds to understand and comprehend this, and actually we never will, but God is both fully Transcendent, Sovereign & Providential. This is why HE is GOD, and here we must bow our knee!
Thanks Robert. Leaving aside the term ‘dualism’ that means different things in different disciplines and contexts I guess your answer is: No GOD did not create evil, which means there is another force in the universe that did; but yes GOD uses evil for his plan that includes some of us in eternal bliss and others of us in eternal torment, a plan that none of us has any way of effecting one way or the other. And to this glory we can only bow. Is that about the size of it?
@John: Well again, we just don’t know fully, i.e. mentally, but certainly if we believe Scripture faithfully, Satan himself made evil! (Isa. 14: 12-14 ; Rev. 12: 4) And God allowed it, knew it, etc. Surely biblically evil has a personification!
Well thank you for your honest answers Robert, but all I can say to that is: thank God I’m an atheist and don’t have to believe in the scriptures.
One of the weird consequences of this Calvinist reading of the scriptures is that it means that a wicked atheist like me might end up with Hitler in heaven, whereas you a Christian like you might end up in hell with Saint Francis. That sure does surpass all human understanding of justice. I can see why Catholics might want to interpret the scriptures differently.
@John: Strange that you thank a god that you don’t believe in, and logically and of course spiritually therein can’t possibly understand! Sad, but unbelief is where the issue resides, but then your “dead” in sin!
Btw, I was raised and somewhat early educated Irish Roman Catholic, so “been there and done that.”
I thought my thanks to God for being an atheist might have brought a wry smile to an Irishman’s lips Robert – oh well.
I must tell you that some of us find it hard to believe that anyone could believe anything quite so evil as Calvin’s predestination doctrine in this day and age, thanks for demonstrating that some still do.
@John: Sure I smiled a bit, but I am also a pastor, (Anglican priest/presbyter), and I actually “believe” in the Biblical Gospel of God In Christ! God is surely NOT a sloppy-agape God, but Righteous, Holy and Totally-Other! In both Holy Scripture and Reformed theology, we call it Law & Gospel! (Gal.4:1-7)
Repent mate, before death & dying… and the Judgment to Come! Serious stuff!
Very busy yesterday, but the great evil, or as St.Paul called it…”this present evil age” (Gal. 1: 4) came from man’s Adamic choice to follow evil, itself, i.e. Adam & Eve! See Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians 11: 2-3, etc. Surely humanity itself is part of this “present evil age”! And man always misses the mark toward God! This is the constant essence of sin in humanity! (Romans 3: 23)
“But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Gal. 3: 22) And of course, as St. Paul taught, only the “election of grace” believe! (Rom. 11: 5)
Btw too, John, as an atheist, you cannot get into this theological debate! As I who follow and believe both the Holy Scripture and something of the historic church. You have rejected every historical aspect in debate, both dualism, as to any biblical aspect!
(Note also, that the Catholic Aquinas called himself an Augustinian! As were most of the top-tier Reformers.)
John, I am a Christian, but your critique of this abominable misrepresentation of the God I believe in resonates with me far more than any of the defences of it. Check out the Openness of God (or Open Theism) for a totally different take on the whole predestination question – it actually makes the Bible make sense if God is in a dynamic relationship with us, not just some sort of computer programmer who has already destined us for hell or heaven!
Historiaclly of course Open Theism (Molinism) was and has been rejected by many conservative Catholic theologians in the past, i.e. the Dominicans. Only the Jesuits accepted any of it, in the day. (Luis de Molina was a Spanish Jesuit btw) And today, it has caught on with some liberal Protestants. Here simply the “efficacy of grace is conditional upon human cooperation.” This was not St. Paul, or the Reformers doctrine! (Nor again, Aquinas).
*Historically (me poor type!)
Open theism rejects God’s omniscience (knowing ALL things) and His transcendence (particulary the fact that He is eternal and exists outside and apart from time) in that it states as tenet that the future is “…a plurality of branching possibilities, with some possibilities becoming settled as time moves forward…” (Dale Tuggy in “3 roads to open theism” http://trinities.org/dale/threeroads.pdf among others)
Basically saying that God doesn’t really know the future and denying at least two of His divine attributes. But I suppose open theism is ok if it makes you feel better (*sarcasm*)
Of course God is not a ‘computer programmer’ because that would also deny His divine attribute of love. As does ‘predestination’ which is derived from a misunderstanding of scripture.
Surely there is no “misunderstanding” in God’s sovereign grace, but HIS predestination & election! See btw the doctrine of infralapsarian here.
Here is a nice older quote: “Among divines, sin is “original” or “actual.” “Actual” sin, above defined, is the act of a moral agent in violating a known rule of duty. “Original” sin, as generally understood, is native depravity of heart; that want of conformity of heart or deterioration of the moral character of man, which is supposed to be the effect of Adam’s apostasy; which manifests itself in moral agents by positive acts of disobedience to the divine will, or by the voluntary neglect to comply with the express commands of God, which require that we should love God with all the heart and soul and strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. This native depravity or alienation of affections from God and his law, is supposed to be what the apostle [Paul] calls the “canal mind” or “mindedness,” which is enmity against God, and is therefore denominated “sin” or “sinfulness.” (Noah Webster LL.D., 1828 American Dictionary)
This doctrine of sin is always a loss in Open Theism. Which today some call part of God’s Federal Vision!
*carnal, Again, my poor type!
I don’t criticize God. I criticize John Calvin. He was a pychopath who intended to inflict psychological harm to his victims as well as actual physical harm, burning dissenters at the stake aka murder. His adherents are not followers of Christ but of a vain, evil man.
@Eddie: Well John Calvin, that great Genevan Reformer is still being read and written about, and in much positive theological aspects over 500, almost 600 years later, and that of course speaks for itself! You can reject him if you like, but it will be to your great loss in my opinion and others. Btw, you really need to do some historical homework mate, for Calvin did not burn anyone, the sentence against Servetus was not that of John Calvin, but the Church at Geneva itself, Calvin asked for a quick death. And in the 16th century both Catholicism as the Reformational Churches, used corporal and bodily punishment for heretics, and that sometimes included death. Just the sign of the times then!
If you have the real desire and concern for historical truth on Calvin, I suggest you read Bruce Gordon’s grand Bio: ‘Calvin’, (Yale University Press, 2009, 398 pages).
Yes, I reject John Calvin. Citing Catholic sins doesn’t justify Calvin’s sins. BTW, he murdered a lot more people than Severetus (his friend, maybe that’s why he just wanted him executed without torture first).He was the head of the gang of thugs in Geneva who had innocents burned at the stake and then gleefully celebrated their brutality. Calvin rejected mercy, love, kindness, compassion, forgiviness and Jesus. His followers unwittingly inject fear and trauma into children and adults. If a child asks for a fish which parent would give him a stone? You, being evil, give good things to your children. How much more would our loving Father give to us? I reject Calvin’s cult of hatred. I am very serious.
@Eddie: Your sadly and historically mislead about the real person of John Calvin! It just amazes me how people can be so completely ignorant, and yet for the most part this comes from your own bias and choice I am sure! It’s just your own position no doubt theologically, or so-called, to hate this great man of God! Again, sad very sad, but I see this kind of judgment all the time with ignorant people towards Calvin!
I have perhaps one of the best collected written collection of books by and about John Calvin, over the last 45 years! Both English and some Latin. I am 65, and a Brit, so I have had access to many now out of print books. And if a person would read Calvin, and the better books about him and his theology, they could surely see the greatness of the man and his biblical theology! And btw, reading about Calvin’s wife: Idelette de Bure (married almost 10 years before she died) is a great instruction itself. They both loved each other very much! And she was a great effect on Calvin. After her death, he never married again.
And again, the challenge to read the Yale historian Bruce Gordon’s book and bio: ‘Calvin’ is upon you! I hope you do so! (But, open-up your mind also!) Note, I have many books too, by and on John Wesley, and his brother Charles, (Anglican’s too they were!) And though I am surely NOT an Wesleyan Arminian, I don’t “hate” those that are. Though for sure I think Arminianism is grave error towards the Doctrine and Divinity of God! No doubt Open Theism is much worse however, but I don’t hate Clark Pinnock because he is in that place (or was, RIP).
And btw, the “cult” of hatred appears to be in YOUR own heart, nothing but a complete myth about the real John Calvin, and just…Amazing!
Predestination. That without choice or fault one is assigned to an eternal torture chamber. From nothing, born to suffer eternally. Something out of a horror movie. Even babies. Begging for mercy is useless. All so Calvin’s God can demonstrate his so called majesty. The prideful, vain doctrine of a man, not an all powerful and wise God. Calvin did the killings or do you deny that? This is not the doctrine of the NT or the teachings of Jesus and Paul. So what is mythical about what I said? I’ll be frank with you. I have no attachment to the religions of man. But as a humanist I am very concerned with the mental torture trusting believers and children are inflicted with by thoughtless leaders only concerned about power and position.
@Eddie: So are YOU are regenerate and born-from-above (John 3: 3) Christian or not? That is the issue! Note Calvin never talks about Predestination and Election without the personal life of the Christian, i.e. Perseverance! And btw too, it appears you are quite ignorant of Augustine, and his long debate with Pelagius and Pelagianism!
And there is simply no quote, “humanism” in the Bible! But, there is a “biblical humanism”, big difference! God is sovereign over all of it!
And are you familiar with the great debate of Erasmus and Luther over the so-called Battle over Free-Will? Luther was an Augustinian, as much as Calvin! Luther conceived of it as, “bound choice”! Man does NOT have Free-Will! But somehow something of a responsible will, again big difference, for Free-Will is a myth!
*And no, Calvin NEVER killed anyone personally! It is quite obvious that you know next to nothing about the real Calvin!
And btw, if you are not a Christian, then you cannot debate the great mystery of God’s Predestination and Election! This is not just an exercise in logic, but logic to some degree with God’s great transcendence! Actually God often transcends His own logic!
Calvin ordered the torture and murder of his victims. Allah is much more merciful than Calvin’s God. At least you can convert. You argue from popularity. Not only is that a false argument, Calvin is not even popular. Few Christians believe his false doctrines as opposed to 1billion Catholics and most Protestants who haven’t heard about them much less believe them. I am a humanist and really don’t care if the Bible supports my worldview. As a grandfather I am certain that babies are pure and good. They have no sin in them at all. Empathy, God given from your perspective, is basic to human civil society.
For God so loved the world……
Love doesn’t put helpless creatures in a torture chamber for eternity.
@Eddie: I thought I could see that you are not Christian! And “Allah” of course is NOT the name of God for Jews and Christians, noting Judeo-Christianity!
And no argument from popularity, but history itself! And actually John Calvin is still being read and studied almost 600 years later! So very profound itself! And again, your arguments against the history of Calvinism, past and present, are well off the mark!
Btw, you have NO “Adamic” position as a humanist, nor surely as a Christian either without the Federal Headship of Adam! But, I guess you are a Muslim?
And “Original Sin” quite pervades this word-age, and will do so until Jesus Christ Comes again! See btw the great Pauline doctrine of the Imputation of Sin! (Romans 5)
If I recall correctly, Calvin requested green wood be used on Servetus so his death would be lingering. None-the-less, there are many millions of muslims arounf the world who speak favorably of Mohammedsome 1400 years later, there are millions who today speak favorably of the foolish popery in the roman church. Hundreds of thousands who pour their hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of the apostate prosperity preachers. Speaking positively is not any yardstick by which righteusness can be judged by.
I notice how the word “mystery” is bandied about, this concerns me, particularly when it is used to malign the Almighty God who chooses to make Himself known and is a revealer of mysteries.
One fact remains, the ‘calvinistic’ doctrine of predestination does not match the character of God revealed throughout the rest of scripture. Scripture interprets scripture and scripture is continuous. When bits of verses and disparate, isolated passages of scripture must be pieced together in order to create a doctrine at odds with the entirety of scripture taken as a whole, there is a problem.
One must also add a complete misunderstanding od what ‘grace’ is, in order to artificially create these ‘doctrines of grace’ having bothing to do with salvation but with strength in trial.
The ‘calvinist’ system is full of misunderstanding, ‘mystery’ and constructs.
I cannot understand how it’s adherents describe it as ‘intellectually satisfying’ when it so intellectually barren when “really” examined, that is the ‘mystery’.
@Chad: Sorry mate, but you also have “recalled” incorrectly! John Calvin in fact asked that Servetus be killed quickly and by the sword! It was the Genevan authorities that pressed the death by burning, again not John Calvin! And yes, historically the 16th century, as earlier also, used corporal punishment toward Church heretic’s, (and this sometimes included death) and yes, again that is the historical sign of the times! I wish people would do their historical homework before they speak so ignorantly!
Also as to so-called “Calvinism”, there are somewhat historical variations! I am myself more of a Neo-Calvinist, see too people like John Frame here today. And if your going to disagree with historical Calvinism, the use of Holy Scripture would be nice, besides all of just the obvious ad hoc, disagreement over and over! Try Romans 9 for example! And there are more Christian Calvinists today than people realize, noting the so-called New Calvinism! (I myself don’t follow the latter however.)
Where did John Knox sit on the ladder of Calvinist horrors? Was he an unreconstructed believer in predestination?
Of course John Knox was a Calvinist, and Scottish, so no “Calvinist horrors” for him! ‘While in exile, Knox was licensed to work in the Church of England, where he rose in the ranks to serve King Edward VI of England as a royal chaplain. He exerted a reforming influence on the text of the Book of Common Prayer. In England he met and married his first wife, Margery Bowes. When Mary Tudor ascended the throne and re-established Roman Catholicism, Knox was forced to resign his position and leave the country. Knox moved to Geneva and then to Frankfurt. In Geneva he met John Calvin, from whom he gained experience and knowledge of Reformed theology and Presbyterian polity. He created a new order of service, which was eventually adopted by the reformed church in Scotland. He left Geneva to head the English refugee church in Frankfurt but he was forced to leave over differences concerning the liturgy, thus ending his association with the Church of England.
On his return to Scotland he led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Protestant nobility. The movement may be seen as a revolution, since it led to the ousting of Mary of Guise, who governed the country in the name of her young daughter Mary, Queen of Scots. Knox helped write the new confession of faith and the ecclesiastical order for the newly created reformed church, the Kirk. He continued to serve as the religious leader of the Protestants throughout Mary’s reign. In several interviews with the Queen, Knox admonished her for supporting Catholic practices. When she was imprisoned for her alleged role in the murder of her husband Lord Darnley, and King James VI enthroned in her stead, he openly called for her execution. He continued to preach until his final days.’ (Wiki)
I just caught this little tidbit “… Just the sign of the times then!..” As if that was some sort of excuse. That was not and is not biblical Christianity. The fact that these sorts of things were being done should be the first clue. If you have any interest in the extant company of biblical during those times, read “The Pilgrim Church” by H. E. Broadbent
More formats are here
Btw, I am familiar with Mr. Broadbent, a so-called Plymouth Brethren as I remember? I would recommend a better book in my opinion, i.e. F.F. Bruce’s book: The Spreading Flame, The Rise and Progress of Christianity from John the Baptist to the Conversion of the English, (The Paternoster Press, 1958). I think it might be in re-print somewhere? And yes, I have the First Edition myself, hardback with dustjacket.
Here is Calvin from his preface to his commentary on the Psalms, “I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated. The other parts of Scripture contain the commandments which God enjoined his servants to announce to us. But here the prophets themselves, seeing they exhibited to us as speaking to God, and laying open all their inmost thoughts and affections, call or rather draw, each of us to the examination of himself in particular, in order that none of the many infirmities to which we are subject, and the many vices with which we abound, may remain concealed. . . . WE see on the one hand, the flesh manifesting its infirmity; and on the other, faith putting forth its power; and if it is so valiant and courageous as might be desired, it is at least prepared to fight until by degrees it acquire perfect strength. . . . Moreover, although The Psalms are replete with all the precepts which serve to frame our life to every part of holiness, piety, and righteousness, yet they will principally teach and train us to bear the cross; and bearing of the cross is a guidance of our own affections, and submit ourselves entirely to God, leaving him to govern us, and dispose of our life according to his will, so that the affections which are the bitterest and most severe to our nature, become sweet to us, because they proceed from him; and which are intended to teach true believers with their whole hearts confidently to look to him for help in all their necessities; but we will also find that the free remission of sins, which alone reconciles God towards us, and procures for us settled peace with him, is so set forth and magnified, as that here there is nothing wanting which relates to the knowledge of eternal salvation.” (Calvin, preface to his commentary on the Psalms, 1557)
I am not a Muslim. I just meant that Mohammed’s god is more merciful than Calvin’s god. You are a neo-Calvinist which indicates that you don’t buy what Calvin preached entirely. Romans 5:18 shows that Christ died for all humans. Augustine and Calvin both had moral shortcomings. Jesus may forgive them but he wouldn’t take their advice. Neither should you.The Bible is not the inerrant word of God. But it doesn’t lay out Calvin’s doctrine of horror. BTW, What became of “sola scriptura”?
Eddie: Sorry mate, but you and I are NOT going to agree on much! Calvin did not teach Limited Atonement in my opinion, as he taught that Christ’s Death is Sufficient for all, but only Efficient or efficacious for the Elect!
And yes, I believe in the Inerrancy of Holy Scripture, as too in the “Sola Scriptura”! For those that read theology, see Keith Mathison’s nice book: The Shape of Sola Scriptura, (Canon Press, 2001, 364 pages).
And, there is little that I would fully disagree with Calvin on, but of course all human teachers, pastors & theolog’s, are fallible! One area that I would somewhat disagree with Calvin, would be on the Eternal Generation of Christ! It does appear Calvin did not agree, nor like the Athanasian Creed on Christ’s Eternal Generation. Though there are still debates here!
Finally, “that Mohammed’s god is more merciful than Calvin’s god”, is absolute lunacy! This just proves you have not really read and or understood Calvin! Very, very sad and sorely misguided! 🙂
And he subscribed to the theology of predestination?
Yes John, a “Calvinist” is always one who subscribes to Predestination and Election! See the Scots Confession 1560, written by John Knox and five other Scottish men, who’s first name were also John, so the Six John’s of the Scots Confession, also called The Scots Confession of 1560… ‘It is subordinate to the Bible as the supreme standard, which is held as divinely inspired and without error.’
The doctrine of predestination implies God is evil.
The predestination doctrine, together with the problem of theodichy, implies that God is evil, He actively hates his children and He wills them into eternal torture, suffering and pointless pain. Out of sadism? Perhaps, but those two issues – predestination and theodichy – lay the basis for misotheism.
The predestination in nutshell means that God pre-decides the final depository of each human being before his or her birth, and there is absolutely nothing he or she can do it. On human point of view, predestination is nothing short of lottery. If your lot reads “This lot does not win salvation”, tough luck. No deeds, no prayers, no begging, no regrets, no faith – absolutely nothing can save you from being shoved into some cosmic blast furnace.
Theodichy in nutshell is the problem of evil. It stems from the dogmae that God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. Evil exists. Why?
If God is omniscient and omnipotent, He knows evil exists and while He could easily remove it, He doesn’t. Ergo, He is not omnibenevolent. He is evil.
If God is omniscient and omnibenevolent, He knows evil exists and wants to remove it, but apparently there are some obstacles on the way. Ergo, He is not omnipotent. Why do we call him God anyway? Why respect such weakling?
If God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, He could remove evil and would do it, but He isn’t aware evil exists. Ergo, God is not omniscient. God is clueless.
Now if we combine the doctrine of predestination with theodichy, we clearly see that God is omnipotent and omniscient but not omnibenevolent. God has created the universe and humans and decreed that humans should fall and commit sins. God has created humans flaved so they would sin. The snake thing in the paradise was a trap – a trap which God set to His children so He could punish them from falling into that trap – and punish their offspring until the Doomsday.
Now creating sentient and intelligent beings and predestinating even one of them to eternal torment implies an evil creator. God is the source of all evil, all sin and all the wrongs in the world. Since God is omniscient and omnipotent, He also wills it that way. And since there is absolutely nothing a sentient and intelligent human being can do to avert his doom, it is all pure lottery. Perhaps God does it for the evulz. Or perhaps it amuses Him.
That also implies the creation of human beings is an extremely miserable thing and the meaning of life is to produce fuel to Hell.
The direct consequence of the fact God is evil is misotheism. That our duty is not to attempt to placate and worship and kowtow to that evil creator, but to actively hate and oppose him and live our lives as we ourselves decide and not to follow any authority or religion which tells us so. In the end we will end up in the Hell, but that would have been the outcome anyway.
The indirect consequence is that it is better to never have been born than to be born. A mother who aborts her children does the best favour a loving and caring mother can ever do. She saves her offspring from existence. If they never are born, they never get to live, they never get to sin and by aborting her children, the mother snatches them off the talons of that evil and wrathful God and averts their impending doom. No birth implies no predestination and no Hell either.
You might protest that in that way the mother deprives them the salvation as well. But since the vast majority of the humankind will end up in Hell anyway, it is all about probabilities. If there is, say, 50:1 chances between ending up in Hell or in Heaven, the risk of avoiding Hell by never having been born is worth of taking. The mother ends herself up in Hell, but there she would have ended up most likely anyway.
See you all in Hell.
Nice try, but no cigar! First we simply MUST properly define “theodicy”! And quite simply this defends the goodness and omnipotence of a Sovereign God in the face of the suffering and evil in and of a fallen world!
Btw too, when we look at what Jesus said about Judas, we can only bow before our Sovereign Holy God! “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” (Mark 14: 21) See too, John 17: 12, I have quoted this verse before. See too, such Texts in the Psalm’s: 41: 9 ; 109: 8.
This is quick! 🙂
Yes Ironmistress, your conclusions are inescapable in logic. In logic God cannot be omnipotent and omniscient and omnibenevolent if evil exist. Any “answers” you get from Christians will either chase the contradictions around in circles to muddy the waters, or, if more honest, will simply conclude that since logic can’t accommodate contradictions to hell with logic (along with reprobates) because faith knows better – and don’t ask how, because if there was an answer to that it wouldn’t be faith!
Okay, let’s do some inspection:
“Calvin answered these objections in two ways. First, he maintained (with scripture; cf. Gen. 18.25, 204) that God’s will is the “highest rule of righteousness,” and therefore anything that God wills—such as predestination—“must be considered righteous,” or just, regardless of how it appears to us ”
Logically this is nothing but fallacy called argumentum ad ignorantiam (appeal on ignorance [on God’s true intentions]) combined with argumentum ad auctoritatem (appeal to authority). What if the authority is wrong? Or the autority is outright malevolent? If we are unaware of God’s intentions, how can we assume they are loving and benevolent? Wouldn’t it be much simpler to assume He is but a malevolent bully who wants to tortute and maim us?
“justice of God, but claimed that it is simply “unknown” to us on some level (210). Thus, God’s justice is ultimately hidden and mysterious.”
This is again the argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy. iIf God’s justice is “ultimately hidden and mysterious”, it is no better than if it was completely arbitrary. The most trivial prerequisite for any judicial system and justice is that the rules are public and well known to everyone, including the perpetrators. Only tyrants and totalitarian regimes practise “ultimately hidden and mysterious” jurisprudencies.
” With Paul (Rom. 9.20), Calvin affirmed that it is simply not our place to question God (205). ”
This is fallacy known as argumentum ad metum (appeal to blind obedience). Exactly why isn’t it our place to question God? We are not inanimate clay pots but sentient and intelligent living creatures. Talmud Bavli implies it is our _duty_ to question God, the Law and His intentions.
“He rejected that God is lawless, but he also rejected that God must give us an account of his justice, or that we are competent to “pronounce judgment [on God]…according to our own understanding (203).””
Again, a fallacy known as argumentum ad hominem abusivis – an abusive claim that human beings are not competent to criticize or even understand the God’s jurisprudence or his concepts of justice. This also implies God plays with double standards – one for himself and another for His creations – and that his rules are completely arbitrary.
“It is absurd to accuse God because of our own lack of understanding (205). ”
Again, argumentum ad hominem abusivis. All tyrants and totalitarian dictators claim their subjects lack the wisdom and understanding to questionize their whims. While Luther mocks reason as “whore of Devil”, no rabbi worth his Talmud studies would ever refuse from a good intellectual inspection on God’s intentions.
“For John Calvin, since predestination yields the glory of God, it must be just: “whatever deserves praise must be just (209).””
Circular reasoning (petition principii). “God’s intentions are just, so shoving intelligent sentient beings to cosmic blast furnace with apparently no reason is just because they are God’s intentions”.
“Calvin’s second response was that since all people, including the reprobate, are “vitiated by sin,” and so deserve the punishment of death, God is actually just toward the reprobate in a perfectly comprehensible way: “
No jurisprudence has EVER considered it just to consider all transgressions as equal and fair to punish each and every transgression with death. Such jurisprudence is considered Draconian at best and outright injust, whimsical and arbitrary at best and no better than no jurisprudence at all. Even the lex talionis, “eye for an eye”, is considered as more advanced jurisprudence.
” Here Calvin articulated a more common retributive notion of justice where wrongdoing is recompensed with punishment.”
Retributive justice is not considered to be very civilized nor beneficial form of justice. Retributive justice stems from the fallacy that two wrongs would make one right: eye for an eye and tooth for tooth will leave everyone blind and toothless, but no improvement on the state of affair happens.
” So, while aspects of God’s justice are mysterious and hidden, this aspect is clear to humanity. Calvin asserted that the “cause and occasion” of the perdition of the reprobate lies in their own sin (209).”
Jews call this as “janana” – philosophy of madness. Calvin’s claim is based on the assumption that consequence precedes the cause and that God punishes the sinners from executing His irresistible, monergistic will.
“One further objection was raised that bears on God’s justice: God is uneven in his judgment. The objectors asserted that a just God should treat everyone equally, either punishing all or giving mercy to all (211). However, Calvin rejected this notion of justice on the ground that God is free to distribute mercy as he pleases, and that such mercy need not preclude judgment altogether (211)”.
That implies God is an arbitrary, wrongful tyrant who treats intelligent, sentient beings completely whimsically. Only in despotisms and Totalitarian dictatorships the judges and rulers do not need to adhere to the rules or laws, but may act on their own whim.
“Calvin pointed out that God “does not bind Himself by a set law to call all men equally (197).” Thus, if people are all equally deserving of punishment (211), and if God owes mercy to no one, “He is freed of all accusation””
Okay, and exactly what is the capital crime the humankind is guilty for deserving such extreme punishment? Mere existence?
“God chooses of his own free will to show mercy to some, and it is just for him to judge the others (211). Here John Calvin’s concept of justice was again retributive.”
Ergo, God is whimsical, wrongful and evil cosmic tyrant. Retributive justice is considered inferior to rehabilitative, restorative and proactive justice and as very primitive concept of justice. God is not only an evil, arbitrary and particularly cruel tyrant: He is also an incompetent justician. On the behalf of humankind, such kangaroo justice is nothing short from lottery. Such jurisprudence is considered particularly bad. Why should any human being with a gram of self-respect kowtow in front of such cosmic bully?
The problem of the concept of “original sin” – a concept which Judaism refutes vehemently – is imminent. It was already pointed out by the Medieval Scholastics.
We inherit our bodies from our parents – it is all genetics, and that belongs in the sphere of medicine and other hard sciences. Yet Christianity assumes we get our souls from God. [If we inherited our souls from our parents, the souls would be just as mortal and perishable as our bodies, and they would annihilate at death.]
Yet sin is a spiritual concept, not corporeal. If the concept of the original sin was valid, we would inherit our souls from our parents as well, which would make our souls mortal and perishable, and henceforth the concept of resurrection and eternal punishment irrelevant. Ergo, we cannot inherit anything spiritual – including any original sin – from our parents.
If sin is a spiritual concept and we get our souls from God, and concept of original sin is valid, that also implies God imprints the original sin in our souls. That will clearly make God as the source of all evil and wickedness. And combined with omnipotence and omniscience dogmae, God’s foreknowledge is same as his will and his will same as his foreknowledge. In plain English, God actively desires to create sentient, intelligent beings solely to shove them into pointless eternal torture and pain. That makes God a cruel cosmic tyrant and bully. Where do we need Devil anyway? Is Devil just God’s subordinate bully, whom He outsources all filthy jobs?
You might say God is sovereign and does what he wills. Such sovereignty implies complete whimsicality and amorality: God is completely amoral, “chaotic evil”.
The concept of the original sin is therefore internally contradictory. Internally contradictory concepts are false. That is the reason why Judaism refutes the original sin, and Jews and especially rabbis are not dumb.
If, on the other hand, the original sin is “tendency to commit evil” as Lutherans state, then humans are not culpable. They are born with a defect on which they themselves cannot do nothing and therefore are not responsible of their actions. It is the same as with criminally insane: they are not culpable. A crimianlly insane murderer is not to be executed, but to be treated in a state hospital. A judge who sentences a criminally insane culprit to prison or gallows, commits a miscarriage of justice. Ergo, God is a wrong-minded judge.
Likewise, if the original sin is connected with inheritance from our parents, it must be genetic. The rational solution is to detect the sin gene and treat it with genetic engineering and gene therapy.
Claiming, like Luther does, “original sin is something so horrible, something so incomprehensible and so vast that human mind cannot understand it” is again another argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy – nothing but sweeping the garbage under the carpet. It does not resolve the issue itself: and it underestimates the human reason and intelligence and mocks the laws of logic.
We are back at square 1. The original sin is a flawed and internally contradictory concept, and as such it is false. This also implies the Calvinist concept of predestination must be false. [Unless, of course, we assume that God is evil, treacherous and lying cosmic bully.]
We don’t get our souls from God, nor from our parents, we are creatures of self made souls. Your soul is the sum total of your values, and you make it yourself, by the free choices you make. As far as you are concerned your soul will end when you die, so tend it well why you can.
Again John check-out Traducianism, btw too Augustine found support in it for his doctrine of original sin but never fully decided finally between it and creationism.
“We don’t get our souls from God, nor from our parents, we are creatures of self made souls. ”
Ex nihilo nihil.
If we are “self-made souls” and originate neither from our parents nor from God, the soul is annihilated at the moment we die. Ergo, there is no Heaven, no Hell, nothing after death, just expiry into nothingess. We aren’t even aware we are dead and nothing points that we have even lived ever.
“Your soul is the sum total of your values, and you make it yourself, by the free choices you make.”
Which free choices? Didn’t Calvin already state the final depository of each and every human soul has been pre-decided already before the poor sucker had even been born and there is absolutely nothing you can do with it. If your predestination lottery ticket reads “This ticket does not win”, tough luck.
“As far as you are concerned your soul will end when you die, so tend it well why you can.”
If the final fate of the soul is annihilation, what is the point?
The only heaven and hell are the ones we make here on earth.
Calvin’s is the most absurd and evil religious doctrine I’ve encountered – and that’s saying something.
What’s the point? To live your life, it’s not a dress rehearsal, it’s your real deal, don’t waste it.
I have seen the razor’s edge of human and something too of the reality of evil, with two wars! And fallen humanity “ain’t” done yet! Just look at the world today! So indeed no dress rehearsal at all, and not a bit of waste either for me! Btw, my/our two Son’s were born in my 40’s, and I am 65, 66 in the Fall. They are both good young men, and I am very proud of them! Both educated men too.
GOD, the Judeo-Christian God is surely the Sovereign, and ‘In Christ’! Good and Evil come down to the very end, note “theodicy”, that part of theology concerned with defending the goodness and omnipotence of God in the face of the suffering and evil of the world! GOD In Christ/Messiah is most transcendent, and has allowed the “ages” … as the old cowboy movie said: “between the two eternities”! 😉
You are talking gobblygook Robert, but whatever rocks your boat – just don’t impose it on anyone else.
John: At the Throne GOD In Christ will quite impose Himself and His truth on us all! Some for grace & glory, but some for eternal judgment and loss! But in both, GOD Himself will be Glorified! (2 Cor. 2: 14-17) And not a wit of your “gobblygook” and “peddling”!
*Btw, do you know ANY theology? Or are you one of the atheist’s on here?
I’m an atheist, thank God;-)
Yes, I remember now, so what are you here for John? It appears you just want to argue with Calvinism? But, you cannot even understand it!
I couldn’t quite believe that anyone in this day and age could believe the Calvinist doctrine of predestination that I had read about; I presumed that I must have misunderstood that doctrine, or that it had long since been rejected by modern Calvinists and Presbyterians. So I came to this sight to learn more about it. But everything I’ve debated here and elsewhere confirms that my understanding of the doctrine was correct and, to my astonishment, that people do indeed believe it.
John: I guess you have not heard of the so-called New Calvinism? Which is quite alive and American? And I guess neither you or IM have seen the well known Study Bible: The Reformation Study Bible, (2005, by Ligonier Ministries, R.C. Sproul General Editor). RC is surely the American Reformed Calvinist gentleman of the American Reformed movement! So old school “Calvinism” is quite alive and well in America! Btw, I personally “don’t” follow the New American Calvinism per se, at least fully, but prefer what is called: Neo-Calvinism. See the American theologian, old John Frame (75). Who was a personal student of the great Cornelius Van Til! He has written a grand book on Van Til also: C. Van Til, An Analysis of His Thought, (1995, P& R Publishing).
And again, the burden and ignorance is with both you and IM, as to general and classic Calvinism!
Btw John, how is “your” understanding of Calvinism correct? You have yet to admit that we modern (so-called) Calvinists exist? Or have you now???
Sovereignity without omnibenevolence implies pure and unadultared evil.
Ergo: Christian God is evil, simply put.
It appears another Atheist statement? For true Christianity is always quite Judeo!
And btw too, surely You and John have quite backed yourselves into a historical corner! Note, Luther’s Battle over Free-Will with Erasmus! Luther himself did not believe in Free-Will, but called it: “Bound Choice”!
And I would be remiss, if I did not mention and suggest people read (that truly care), Charles Partee’s profound book: The Theology of John Calvin, (2008, Westminster John Knox Press, 345 pages). And Partee is P.C. Rossin Professor of Church History at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
This is perhaps the best and latest theological work on the complete and historical theology of John Calvin! I have it, a must read for the serious student!
*That appears to leave you two out?
I haven’t stated myself being either Atheist nor Christian. But given the options, expiry into nothingness is a far more plausible and also preferable option for afterlife than a cruel and ruthless arbitrary lottery between Heaven (eternal bliss) or Hell (eternal torture).
An omnipotent and sovereign being who is not also omnibenevolent, is bound to be utterly evil. That is pure logic: such being is either a completely random and arbitrary, or malevolent egomaniac – or both.
Wow, such a poor ad hoc! Of course Jews believe in Sin, but don’t pronounce it in NT theology per se, but Saul-Paul was certainly Jewish, and always so, and always something of the Jewish Pharisee (Acts 23: 6). And you surely should read Paul’s Romans 7, especially verses 13-25! The innate and existing sinfulness of the human being is indeed profound in this life!
Also we must read about Traducianism, the belief that parents transmit the soul as well as the physical body of their offspring. This position was held by some of the Church Fathers, as Tertullian and Augustine.
Btw “Ironmistress” we really need to read some of Calvin’s personal works! You are surely misunderstanding him, as representing him! Btw, check-out Bruce Gordon’s nice 2009 Bio (Yale University Press) of Calvin, called simply “Calvin”. I great read! (398 pages)
I have the book (its in paper now too), I have the first ed and hardback. But, I actually have several copies of the paper I give away to students!
Robert, Calvin says what he means and means what he says. The concept of double predestination is clear enough for any dull 8 year old kid to understand. On human point of view, salvation is nothing but an arbitrary lottery and everything depends if your ticket reads “This ticket wins” or “This ticket does not win”. See http://micahjmurray.com/election/
The whole Christianity went astray already on the Pelagian dispute. With hindsight and with certain understanding on Judaism and Judaist theology, Pelagius was correct and Augustine wrong. Ever since, the whole history of Christianity have been full of errors which have been patched with even more grave errors.
But it is a free world and we are free to pick our faith. Calvinism implies the purpose and meaning of life is to produce fuel in Hell, that creation of Homo sapiens was an exceptionally sad thing and that God is an arbitrary, whimsical, capricious and cruel egomaniac, and certainly a deity who is to be feared and shunned, not loved.
I see you have NOT read the difference between Infralapsarian and Supralapsarian? Most all of the Reformed Creeds follow the Infralapsarian. I am myself an “Infra”! But, the Supra is not of itself wrong either! For example, the historic Westminster Confession does NOT deny the use and idea of the Supra, but does itself still follow the Infralapsarian.
Same crap, different shovel. The theological hair-splitting with infra- and supralapsarianism does not refute the fact than on behalf of the human being himself, the fate of his final depository is pure lottery – and extremely cruel lottery too. There is absolutely nothing the poor person himself can do. It all depends whether you get the outcome “This ticket wins Heaven” or “This ticket does not win” – in which case the latter ends up in eternal, pointless and brutal torture in Hell.
Look at the mirror. Can you honestly tell your children: “Before you were born or had done anything good or bad, God chose whether to save you or not. It may be that you will end up in Heaven, but it may just as well be that you end up in Hell in eternal torture, and it has already been decided and there is nothing you can do. And if you end up in Hell, it is because God manifests His sovereignty in your doom, and your doom and eternal torture is to glorify His eternal glory.”
Can you look into your son’s or daughter’s eyes, and say that aloud to them? I cannot.
If I believed that, I’d be terrified to have children. I’d live in constant fear that perhaps they weren’t chosen before they were born, and they will be damned to fiery torment no matter how much I love them and try to point them to Jesus and Lord.
If this is true, I don’t think I would even pray to God about anything, because if He didn’t care enough about most of His creation to save them, why should He care about anything in my life? Or that perhaps He will fulfill my prayers in the nastiest and most cruel and crooked way the wordings of my prayers would allow?
If this is true, how can I lift my hands or my voice to praise a God who doesn’t want to save all creation? How could I call a God “good” or “beautiful” or “loving” if I truly believed that His grace is reserved for a few favored inner circle recipients?
How could I believe that this story we’re living has any meaning, if our eternal destiny is based only on the roll of the dice in the hands of a God who is too petty or too self-absorbed to adopt everyone?
This piece so betrays your understanding of classic and historical Calvinism, and all of your poor ad hoc therein! Both the Judeo and Christian historical doctrine and teaching of God is theologically based upon God’s Transcendence, first and foremost! Or as Barth said, God’s, being is ‘Totally Other’! Btw note Barth’s doctrine of God is also somewhat Reformed! To quote John Updike, who quotes Barth: ” ‘There is no way from us to God – not even a ‘via negativa’ – not even a ‘via dialectica’ nor ‘paradoxa’. The god who stood at the end of some human way . . . would not be God.’
Sorry, I know what I am facing. Calvinism is what it says and says what it is.
Double predestination implies God pre-selects some people to salvation, and it also implies the rest are doomed to Hell. But since selection implies an active choice, God also actively selects the rest of the humankind to Hell. On human point of view, this is nothing short of some particularly cruel lottery.
If God is “Totally other”, why would have He then created sentient, intelligent beings with conscience and given them an ethical code and knowledge of right and wrong, if that won’t matter, and the pre-selection is completely arbitrary on human point of view?
Is God like some mad scientist who treats human beings (referred as “His children”) like bacteria on petri dish?
All tyrants, dictators and despots have always claimed to be “totally different” and “totally other” and “beyond human criticism”. Relying such incomprehension is sweeping the garbage under the carpet – the problem disappears out of sight, but it is still there.
Claiming God is “totally different” and “transcendetial” is a logical fallacy called argumentum ad ignorantiam, appeal to ignorance. Claiming human beings are unable to comprehend Him (and apparently His arbirtariness and whims) is argumentum ad hominem abusivis. Two neat logical fallacies.
“Wow, such a poor ad hoc! Of course Jews believe in Sin, but don’t pronounce it in NT theology per se,”
Check any Jewish website. Judaism rejects the concept of the original sin. See https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Original_Sin.html
The doctrine of original sin is totally unacceptable to Jews. Jews believe that man enters the world free of sin, with a soul that is pure and innocent and untainted. While there were some Jewish teachers in Talmudic times who believed that death was a punishment brought upon mankind on account of Adam’s sin, the dominant view by far was that man sins because he is not a perfect being, and not, as Christianity teaches, because he is inherently sinful.
” but Saul-Paul was certainly Jewish, and always so, and always something of the Jewish Pharisee (Acts 23: 6).”
As such, he represented a minority view, and by no means the mainstream of beit Hillel, let alone Pharisean Judaism. Actually St. Paul’s views are very much contrary to what Judaism today teaches on humankind and its sinfulness.
“And you surely should read Paul’s Romans 7, especially verses 13-25! The innate and existing sinfulness of the human being is indeed profound in this life!”
Shaul ha-Tarsi (St. Paul) is entitled to his opinions. He speaks of himself. You might just as well ask if our biological instincts, desires and traits such as sexuality, are capital crimes punishable by eternal damnation. Mere knowledge of theft being crime does not ignite in me an overwhelming desire to steal, and being aware pork is treif does not make me to yearn for bacon. Or that murder being prohibited does not make me a psychopath. [Apparently St. Paul was going through the Dark Night of Soul.]
“Also we must read about Traducianism, the belief that parents transmit the soul as well as the physical body of their offspring.”
So far neither medicine, genetics nor biology has not yet neither identified nor discovered the soul gene. Neither in the chromosomal DNA nor mtDNA. Traducianism is in contradiction with hard sciences.
On the other hand, Traducianism leads into dire problems. If soul is inherited from the parents, it must be transmitted by genetics and is therefore a corporeal entity. If soul is a corporeal entity, it is just as perishable as any part of the body and dies when the body dies. Ergo, soul would be mortal and would get annihilated at death. This leads into dire theological problems.
We may safely assume Traduacism is a false doctrine.
Well, you forgot two great Western minds… both Tertullian and Augustine! And also, you might want to do a full study with concordance of the word and words for sin in Hebrew! Note, “ashem” surely involves our personal quilt and shame! It also involves personal offense and trespass. Indeed GOD is quite “offended” by human sin!
“Well, you forgot two great Western minds… both Tertullian and Augustine! And also, you might want to do a full study with concordance of the word and words for sin in Hebrew! Note, “ashem” surely involves our personal quilt and shame! It also involves personal offense and trespass. Indeed GOD is quite “offended” by human sin!”
Both Tertullian and Augustine lived some 1700 years before the discovery of modern genetics and hard sciences. They had no idea of DNA – therefore their thoughts can safely be taken as mere assumptions, not as word of God.
Certainly God is offended when we sin. Likewise, I am offended when my sons behave rudely on me. Does that mean I should take a revolver and shoot my children on the spot when they refuse to clean their rooms and when they bang the doors? Would a loving mother execute her offspring on the spot when they behave rudely? Surely it would manifest my sovereignty, but also make me a complete psycho.
The usual Hebrew word for “sin” is “khata” (חָטָא). It means not “to transgress”, but rather “to miss the mark” – that is, not to meet God’s standards, to fail the test. See http://biblehub.com/hebrew/2398.htm and https://www.facebook.com/notes/earth-we-are-one/the-original-hebrew-word-for-sin-has-been-wrongly-translated-its-true-meaning-wi/312081935474801 The corresponding Greek word, “hamartia”, has the same contents : to fail, to shoot astray, to miss the target. Not to commit transgression.
Now your using “Paul’s” language for sin! 😉 Note, I read my Greek NT every A.M.! And to ‘miss the mark’ DOES surely include transgression also! Note Romans 3: 25 also…”expiation”!
Again, your “Calvinist” comparisons are way off the mark! I am myself a “neo-Calvinist”, but note the term: Infralapsarian!
To transgress or commit a crime is a different concept from missing the mark or failing the test.
The Jews believe God rather gets disappointed than wrathful and irate when we sin – and happy when we succeed the test and refrain from sinning.
Again, your “missing” the fuller Biblical words for sin and transgression! It is much more than etymology, but as Paul brings forth in further “Revelation”, human sin is surely an Imputation, as in the Adamic nature of Adam’s sin, i.e. the Federal Head of the Race! See, Romans 5!
*Btw, too, Saul-Paul was always the Jewish Hellenist, and Greco-Roman thinker-theolog! (Acts 21: 39 ; 22: 3)
Just a personal note, but after Gulf War 1, and finishing my education, I lived and taught philosophy & theology in Israel in the latter 90’s, almost five years. I still have several Jewish and Messianic friends (even too some Arab friends), in Israel. And yes, I am pro-Israel and something of a so-called Christian Zionist! Note too, I am Historical-Premillennial, (Post-trib.)
Judaism teaches that human beings are not basically sinful. We come into the world neither carrying the burden of sin committed by our ancestors nor tainted by it. Rather, sin, khet [of which khata], is the result of our human inclinations, the yetzer, which must be properly channeled.
Khet literally means something that goes astray. It is a term used in archery to indicate that the arrow has missed its target. This concept of sin suggests a straying from the correct ways, from what is good and straight. Can humans be absolved of their failure and rid themselves of their guilt? The ideology of Yom Kippur answers: Yes.
This is completely contrary to Christian concept of sin, which sees sin as crimes or transgressions against God, and of which the ruthless God punishes with extreme prejudice.
The concept of yetzer can be best interpreted as intent or human instincts, similar to the Freudian id. Later, the rabbis spoke of the yetzer ha‑tov, the good inclination, and the yetzer ha‑ra, the evil inclination. The Judaist view is that every human has both the instinct to good and to evil. Our task is to choose the good and avoid the evil intention
Btw, Jesus Himself called human-beings “evil”… “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give what is good those those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7: 11)
It is not a good policy to detach individual verses off the context and quote them as singular truth. That particular verse is off the Sermon of the Mount, and it is awfully out of context. Here is the whole context:
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
The Narrow and Wide Gates
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
The verses 7:13 and 7:14 assert the free will and that Pelagius was indeed right. How can anyone choose the “narrow gate” [to salvation], if God’s predestination has already blocked it? Without free will and with predestination, this context becomes completely meaningless.
Btw, thank God for the NT Revelation that Christ “died” for “sin” and “sinners”! And as Jesus said in the Passover with his disciples… “My time is near, I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.” (Matt. 26: 18). Note also, “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Verse 28)
“For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 5: 7)
*I am myself a “Pauline” and “Paulinist” Christian, so I will go with Paul and the Reformers (Reformation)! 🙂
On what comes to Traducianism, it is in contntradiction with The Ecclesiastes (Qoheleth) 12:7:
5 Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
and the golden bowl is broken;
6 before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel broken at the well,
7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
5 גַּ֣ם מִגָּבֹ֤הַּ יִרָ֙אוּ֙ וְחַתְחַתִּ֣ים בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ וְיָנֵ֤אץ הַשָּׁקֵד֙ וְיִסְתַּבֵּ֣ל הֶֽחָגָ֔ב וְתָפֵ֖ר הָֽאֲבִיֹּונָ֑ה כִּֽי־הֹלֵ֤ךְ הָאָדָם֙ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית עֹולָמֹ֔ו וְסָבְב֥וּ בַשּׁ֖וּק הַסֹּפְדִֽים׃
6 עַ֣ד אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־ חֶ֣בֶל הַכֶּ֔סֶף וְתָרֻ֖ץ גֻּלַּ֣ת הַזָּהָ֑ב וְתִשָּׁ֤בֶר כַּד֙ עַל־הַמַּבּ֔וּעַ וְנָרֹ֥ץ הַגַּלְגַּ֖ל אֶל־הַבֹּֽור׃
7 וְיָשֹׁ֧ב הֶעָפָ֛ר עַל־הָאָ֖רֶץ כְּשֶׁהָיָ֑ה וְהָר֣וּחַ תָּשׁ֔וּב אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר נְתָנָֽהּ׃
This implies both in English and original Hebrew that we indeed do get our souls from God rather than from our parents.
To diminish our genre pool and “soul” to degree from our parents, is not either biblical or scientific! My father, RIP (lived to be 88), was a scientist and physicist, but a WW II Vet (a Spit pilot)… and I am also a retired British RMC. Just a point… I am my father’s son, aye a first-born!
There still is no soul gene and also the Bible implies you haven’t inherited your soul from your parents. Ergo, Traducianism is simply a false theory.
I would quite disagree, and from both science and the biblical theology! I would hold, as Augustine (still the greatest Western Father, and especially of the Reformation!) to something of and in Traducianism! The human soul does somewhat in-twine with genetics, of course in my opinion, as many others! Even in philosophy, we definition “gene” as ‘the unit of inheritance’ that controls the passing of a hereditary characteristic from parent to offspring, etc.’ And of course now DNA or RNA…”Simplistic forms of biological determinism suppose that arbitrary characteristics of an organism (e.g. poverty, criminality) are genetically specified.” (Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, (1994).
Btw, I of course believe in the Canon and Authority of Holy Scripture, as also what is called: ‘Sola Scriptura’! The Scripture is always the final and lasting authority and revelation of God! ( 2 Tim. 3: 16-17)
Amicus Plato, sed magis amici veritas.
For me, hard sciences and empiric experience goes over the Scripture. If they are in contradiction, scientific knowledge is stronger. No soul gene -> no Traducianism.
Here is a piece from the Irish Articles 1615, by the well known Irish Anglican Archbishop James Ussher, himself a Calvinist!
‘Of God’s eternal decree, and Predestination.’
11. God from all eternity did by his unchangeable counsel ordain whatsoever in time should come to pass: yet so, as thereby no violence is offered to the wills of the reasonable creatures, and neither the liberty nor the contingency of the second causes is taken away, but established rather.
12. By the same eternal counsel God hath predestinated some unto life, and reprobated some unto death: of both which there is a certain number, known only to God, which can neither be increased nor diminished.
13. Predestination to life, is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, he hath constantly decreed in his secret counsel to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ unto everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honor.
14. The cause moving God to predestinate unto life, is not the foreseeing of faith, or perseverance, or good works, or of any thing which is in the person predestinated, but only the good pleasure of God himself. For all things being ordained for the manifestation of his glory, and his glory being to appear both in the works of his Mercy and of his Justice; it seemed good to his heavenly wisdom to choose out a certain number towards whom he would extend his undeserved mercy, leaving the rest to be spectacles of his justice.
15. Such as are predestinated unto life be called according unto God’s purpose (his Spirit working in due season) and through grace they obey the calling, they be justified freely, they be made sons of God by adoption, they be made like the image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by Gods mercy they attain to everlasting felicity. But such as are not predestinated to salvation shall finally be condemned for their sins.
16. The godlike consideration of Predestination and our election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their minds to high and heavenly things: as well because it doth greatly confirm and establish their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: and on the contrary side, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s predestination is very dangerous.
17. We must receive God’s promises in such wise as they be generally set forth unto us in holy Scripture; and in our doings, that will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.
#11. Is very clear… “the liberty nor the contingency of the second causes is taken away, but established rather.”
Indeed YOU leave out the biblical and especially NT Doctrine of God! [The] “Christian God is evil, simply put”. If this is not atheist, I don’t know what is? And you argue only from a human type of experience, and also don’t really believe in any real Judeo Scripture “Revelation”. Your arguments are more of just a mere human philosophy, deist like, and only rational. No doubt you would like the Dutch Jewish philosopher, Spinoza. Who however, did NOT believe in a “Personal” God! He presented monism as an eternal reality, and that of just reason itself. Such is the aspect of today’s so-called dynamic of self-realization. Once again, just “humanism” alone!
“Indeed YOU leave out the biblical and especially NT Doctrine of God! [The] “Christian God is evil, simply put”. If this is not atheist, I don’t know what is?”
I have no problems with the concept that a) God exists and b) He is a complete monster. He is simply not worth of respect and certainly not worth of worshipping. Compare to a dysfunctional family and no-good parents. Do the children have a duty to respect parents which abusive, violent, scornful, uncarning and tyrannical? If the fate of each and every human being is decided by some cosmic raffle and there is absolutely nothing the poor sucker can himself do, isn’t that not unlike abusive parents?
“And you argue only from a human type of experience,”
I have been given a brain in order to use it. Not to be a brainwashed sheep and repeat the sentences of the scripture on rote.
“and also don’t really believe in any real Judeo Scripture “Revelation”. Your arguments are more of just a mere human philosophy, deist like, and only rational. ”
Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas.
If philosophy implies God is a complete monster and authority implies He isn’t, I rely on the laws of science, logic and philosophy. Relying solely on Scripture is another argumentum ad auctoritatem, which itself is a logical fallacy.
“No doubt you would like the Dutch Jewish philosopher, Spinoza. Who however, did NOT believe in a “Personal” God! He presented monism as an eternal reality, and that of just reason itself. Such is the aspect of today’s so-called dynamic of self-realization. Once again, just “humanism” alone!”
Baruch Spinoza has been dear to me, but even more dear have been the Scholastics.
If my cosmic salvation lottery ticket reads “This ticket does not win” and my final depository is Hell, exactly what reason do I have to a) obey any moral codes b) obey any laws, both divine or secular, c) love and respect my Maker who has reserved me an afterlife of eternal torture and pain? And if, as Augustine stated, the majority of the humankind will end up in Hell (massa perditionis), what other purpose of human life has but to produce fuel in Hell? In that respect God IS a complete monster and creation of a sentient, intelligent and self-aware creature is an extremely miserable event.
IM: Well once again, as you have done in this whole dialogue, you miss the right use of philosophical logic, and surely have NOT quoted John Calvin in any honest debate! But what else is new? I noted you did not even touch the idea of “the contingency” of second causes, and here also the aspect of logic therein! All you do is call GOD a monster, based I guess on John Calvin, with his mentor (to degree) Augustine of Hippo.
As far as Augustine and Pelagius, I think I have mentioned Peter Brown’s classic book: Augustine Of Hippo, A Biography, (1967, 463 pages). See chapters 29, “Pelagius And Pelagianism”, and chapter 30, “Causa Gratiae”. But surely as Brown shows, Augustine thought of Pelagius as certainly heretical, as too the Catholic Church itself has judged by Council. Btw, just a note, but I was born and raised Irish Roman Catholic in Dublin, Ireland in the 1950’s. And later my first and only Roman Catholic degree, was a BA in Western Philosophy. I have a doctorate now in Western Philosophy, but since I have become Reformed, (which has been many years now).
Finally, the logical fallacies are surely yours here, you have quite murdered good reasoning, with your mistakes and poor choices! Indeed logic comes from God, though He quite often transcends it, but He never suspends it! See the traditional lists in the great ” ad argumentum”, yours again is quite the “ad populem” an argument appealing to the prejudices of the people. As too the great “ad hominem”! With too it appears something of the “ad baculum” (literally, arguing to a cudgel): supporting a conclusion by the so-called dire consequences of not believing your idea! But, I will pass, thank you!
Btw, you might want to read and roll on the Jewish Saul-Paul’s Romans chapter 9! A great piece, and part of God’s “revelation” for us who believe Holy Scripture!
Btw, he whole of Matthew 7: 13-14 (noting some hyperbole), with the true and false teaching and teachers of verse 15-20, with the conclusion.. verses 21-27 (with of course 28-29) and the great “authority” of Christ, surely tends towards GOD’s great sovereignty and purpose in all human life!
Btw surely too you are a “Pantheist” at best! But good old Einstein was also! (He so loved Spinoza too! 😉
And I am a process metallurgist. So what?
Reality check: If God is the creature described by Calvin and Augustine, he IS evil. I am a human being and I look at the things on the human viewpoint, and the concept of predestination – which as well could be a grand cosmic salvation raffle, makes God irrational, arbitrary, random and evil.
If everything has already been decided before you have been born and if there is absolutely nothing you can affect on your final depository, what is the point of living by any law, divine or secular? Or even prayers, belief, faith or attempting to turn unto God? Why evangelize? In order to spread callousness and superciliousness amongst those who are certain they belong amongst the lottery winners, and to spread despair and agony amongst those who are not?
I don’t care what God thinks of himself or if God is sovereign or not. What I do care is how He relates to human beings because I am one. Regardless of how we understand sovereignty or salvation, it implies that God picks and chooses favorites for no apparent reason. I honestly could not care less the of contingency of second causes or any other such mental prestidigitation on guiltifying the victims. An evil god is simply not worth of respecting, not alone of worshipping.
This leads me to wonder, if God only loved a select few enough to save them from hell, why should I love my neighbour? Statistically speaking, God probably didn’t love him enough to choose him to be part of God’s family before the foundation of the world, so why should I care about him during these few brief years before he’s sent to sizzle in the Hell (presumably for God’s glory)?
Furthermore, to “share the Gospel” with my unsaved neighbor would be quite difficult. If I was theologically honest, I’d have to say: “God randomly chose some people millennia ago to be part of the family, and the rest He’s destined to eternal torture. Let’s both hope you’re one of the chosen ones, but there’s really nothing you can do about it either way. Good luck in the afterlife!”
In plain English: By predestination and reprobation God punishes human beings from obeying and executing His irresistible and monergistic will. That makes God the source of all sin and all evil.
And: please do familiarize yourself with the concepts of the various logical fallacies. I haven’t committed any of them. You have – as have Calvin, Augustine and various other theologicians.
IM: YOU quite amaze me at your constant condescension toward Calvin and the great history of Calvinism! And to remind me of any idea of logical fallacy? Funny, but again ignorant! This itself shows your great ignorance of the subject, and your patronizing manner and behavior! Note, I never do this with Spinoza or really the classic aspect and history of Deism. Which btw, is historically 17th and 18th century in nature.
I quite note you have said “nothing” about Modern Calvinism, or some of its theological leaders? And it is surely quite alive and well! I think we have come full circle here, as you are surely NOT interested in real dialogue on this most profound historical and religious subject! You just keep speaking negatively, and with ad hominem, at least with great prejudice therein, towards Calvin and Calvinism! It’s getting OLD!
Btw, what’s up with the sexual moniker “Ironmistress”? Or is this some kind of Freudian statement?
Gobbledygook, was the diverting reply.
“IM: YOU quite amaze me at your constant condescension toward Calvin and the great history of Calvinism! ”
Great history? Like Westboro Baptist Church?
Honestly, I could not care less of any great history of any particular denomination. What I do care is the theology, philosophy and logical conclusions drawable. If the problem of theodichy combined with doctrine of predestination undeniably imply God is evil, why cannot you just admit it?
If the concept of double predestination imply it is on human viewpoint all a grand cosmic lottery, and on human viewpoint God is arbitrary, random, favouristical, whimsical and evil, why cannot you just admit it?
If the majority of the humankind has been doomed to Hell before they even were born, why evangelize? Since God knows His own, He will save them, whether they ever have heard or read the Gospel ever. Nobody can affect anyhow on their own salvation nor that of the others, so what is the point? To enhance the superciliousness and callousity on those who are psychopatically certain of their own salvation and to cause despair and agony to those who aren’t?
If before you were born or had done anything good or bad, God chose whether to save you or not, why have children? Every mother loves her kids and no mother wishes any evil to them. I’d live in constant fear that perhaps they weren’t chosen to Heaven before they were born, and they will be damned to fiery torment no matter how much I love them and try to point them to Jesus.
If this all is true, why even pray to God about anything? If He didn’t care enough about most of His creation to save them, why should He care about anything in my life?
If this is true, how can I lift my hands or my voice to praise a God who doesn’t want to save all creation? How could I call a God “good” or “beautiful” or “loving” if I truly believed that His redemptive work is reserved for a few favoured recipients?
How could I believe that this story we’re living has any meaning, if our eternal destiny is based only on the roll of the dice in the hands of a God who is too petty, too egomaniac or too self-absorbed to adopt everyone?
What is the meaning of life? To produce fuel in Hell? Why could God not just produce some insentient cosmic firewood instead of the humankind? It would have been far kinder that way.
These are questions NO Calvinist can EVER answer in a satisfactory way.
I can deal with an evil and malevolent God. Such God can and may well exist. What I cannot deal is intellectual dishonesty of the Calvinists and attempts to explain things the way they aren’t and attempts to intellectually confuse things, such as referring “God’s sovereignty” or that “it is incomprehensible for human mind”. If God is evil, let’s approve things as they are and get over with it, okay? What is so difficult on assuming God to be evil?
“And to remind me of any idea of logical fallacy?”
Yes, and you have committed them a lot, and I have pointed them out.
“I quite note you have said “nothing” about Modern Calvinism, or some of its theological leaders?”
Like Fred Phelps? Honestly, why should I care? What I do care is the theology, the philosophy, the implications and the fallacies. If the undeniable implication of Calvinism is that God is evil, why should I care about its theological leaders?
“Btw, what’s up with the sexual moniker “Ironmistress”? Or is this some kind of Freudian statement?”
No. It is a professional moniker. As I stated, I am a process metallurgist. It is feminine from “ironmaster”.
IM: Now I surely know you don’t know “beans” about what you are talking about, such a shame! The so-called Fred Phelps Baptist group has nothing to do with classic and true historical Calvinism! I mean how low can you go in this so-called dialogue? Just amazing, and as I have said, your arguments against classic Calvinism are simply lame! You won’t even touch “the contingency of the second causes”! Note, I am as I have said several times here, a Neo-Calvinist, and this is also historic, note Abraham Kuyper here for example, and today’s: John Frame. But again, for the classic Calvinism, see the well-known and respected R.C. Sproul! And I just bet YOU have never read a line of Sproul? And as I have noted the profound bible from him as general editor: The Reformation Study Bible!
Yes, sadly YOU are the “bigot” here – blind and intolerant towards true and historical Calvinism!
*Is Fred Phelps a Calvinist?
Scurrilous opponents of Calvinism sometimes try to tar Calvinism by associating Calvinism with the infamous Fred Phelps. But keep in mind that according to Calvinism, it’s quite possible to profess the doctrines of grace without possessing the grace of the doctrines. So even if he were a professing Calvinist, that wouldn’t mean his life is a reflection of his creed.
But according to his estranged son, Nate Phelps, this is what Fred Phelps believes:
This doctrine is very important to understanding the Westboro Baptist Church. My father, and those who follow him, are not preaching to try to convince people of their truth. Unlike street evangelists, who are trying to convert people, my father has no intention of converting anyone, since conversion is impossible. You’re either chosen, or you’re not. To illustrate, in the mid 90’s my father was a guest on a radio talk show hosted by a popular Christian apologist named Rich Buehler. Mr. Buehler suggested that my father’s failure at bearing any fruit from his evangelizing efforts might point to some error in his theology. With typical aggression my father barked back at him: “That’s not the test!! The test is fidelity in preaching!”
Needless to say, that’s not Calvinism–that’s textbook Hyper-Calvinism.
Btw, it is quite interesting that John Calvin is being read today (600 years later), and vociferously, of course some for good, and some for their own views for Hyper-Calvinism! Though the latter just mis-quote him, as you do, and press stupid ideas therein! But, in just about every area in life we have these kind of people, sadly. Again, its just the attitude and behavior of bigotry! Which you yourself IM manifest under the guise of study, philosophy and intellectualism. But again, this is just a smoke screen!
Wow! Dumb and dumber, and not one look at “the contingency of the second causes”! And whatever this is? It “ain’t” philosophy, logic or the science of study! And logic is not done by quoting mere definitions. Where is any abstraction, abstract ideas, substance, causation, change, etc. Note the debate between Locke and Berkeley here. THIS (yours) has just been at best an ad hoc hypothesis, but actually mostly just good old ad hominem! You both can try laying all this out before God at the Bema or Judgment! Before HIM who is both the “Logos” and the “Rhema”, i.e. of course “Christ-Messiah Jesus/Yeshua”!
Very unworthy, from an atheist and I guess a deist! This will be my last here!
The Ironmistress’s logic is impeccable.
Fr. Robert’s pedantry is insane.
I put a Comment on the wrong Site. I hope you will allow this. Dr. Robert says “You’re either chosen or you’re not”. I say to John Dawson and IronMistress .. Leave it alone ! Robert only wants to put his own Belief in front of us … there is no way he will be ‘converted’. You both repudiate his God … Who is not worthy of your time and energy … you are both more righteous than his God ! ” The God of Moses doesn’t even have morality ! ” said Prof. Karl Budde ( circa 1930).
We live in two different worlds. Ken Cameron.
Yes, “we live in two worlds”! The righteous and the unrighteous, regenerate and non-regenerate! Btw, who the heck is Prof. Karl Budde, but a German liberal theolog, died 1935 I believe?
Definitely, ‘Father’ Roberts is an intellectual. Totally deceived by the vain ramblings of John Calvin. Once saved always saved, mate! Faith alone in Christ alone. 1 John 5:13 reads, “These things I have written to you who BELIEVE in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” You state it plainly yourself that you are NOT a believer in Jesus Christ but are merely an adherent to religious codswallop known as ‘Calvinism’. Ha! Ha! Ha! For all your study n qualifications, you are none the wiser concerning the purposes of God. Numpty.
Incidentally, I thought Ironmaiden’s answers were really good.
So, very clearly much later now, perhaps everyone has moved on. But could we cut through the din for a moment and provide some very direct and succinct answers to those questions posed above concerning Calvin’s predestination (call it doctrine, interpretation, teaching…the label does not matter and is not chosen with motive):
The questions above are:
“exactly what reason do I have to a) obey any moral codes b) obey any laws, both divine or secular, c) love and respect my Maker who has reserved me an afterlife of eternal torture and pain?”
I ask from honest intellectual curiosity, with also a religious upbringing. My faith is well-seated—and by that statement obviously not of a Calvinist line. My purpose is simply to better understand the debate over this topic. I would appreciate not receiving the “you can’t debate this unless” response. There is little reason to separate people like this, divine, logical, or otherwise. Pretend you have 3 minutes on the street to proselytize a wayward, average soul seeking answers. Thanks.