Poly's POTD


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The observation that Calvinist doctrine renders God to be unjust is absolutely right and true!

Have you ever wondered why the Calvinist cannot see it?

If you repeated this to a Calvinist 10,000 times, it wouldn't penetrate even once. My theory as to why has to do with their willingness to have alternate definitions for what would otherwise be easily understood terms. The words 'justice', 'righteous', 'fairness', etc simply has no meaning when applied to God in the Calvinist system. In reality they mean their opposites. Arbitrary reward and punishment is justice, creating evil people for the sake of creating evil people is rightousness, predestinating people to Hell for no reason at all, is fairness. And they think that simply rejecting such accusations and verbally insisting that "God is just!" is accepted as sufficient in their minds. The Westminster Confession states the following in Chapter III section I...

I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.​

Here we have a statement that proclaims that God both is and is not the author of sin. The statement implies that God is the author of sin and knowing that this is the implication, the opposite claim is made outright. You can search high and low for an actual rational argument attempting to reconcile these contradictory claims but you'll be hard pressed to find one. The closest you're likely to get is a quotation of some bible verses - some that they take to mean that God predestined everything and others that, in fact, do say that God doesn't do evil. In other words, they believe that the bible teaches both and so they accept both - period. There is no real attempt made to explain it. They just accept it and that's it. They call it an "antinomy" and consider the matter closed. AMR's post #498 on this thread is a great example of an argument but it is not a rational one. At bottom it is still just a Calvinist making the claim that both doctrines are true.

The problem, of course, is that the Bible doesn't teach both and if it did, it would be proof that the Bible was false. (The fact that Calvinism does teach both is proof that Calvinism is false.) What is actually happening is that the Calvinists is not getting his doctrine from Scripture but brings his doctrine with him and interprets the Bible in light of his doctrine. In fact, they will occasionally even admit that no propper reading of the Bible can be done in any other way! (e.g. Augustine) This, they say, is in keeping with the idea that people cannot come to God in faith (i.e. understand the Bible) until after they've been regenerated. This, of course, implies that only Calvinists are regerate and therefore only Calvinists believe the real gospel and therefore only Calvinists are really saved. Rarely will you find a Calvinist willing to state this outright but we have a few here on TOL.

So, we can see from their own writings, even right here on TOL, that all of this is true but if any of them were to read this post, they would all universally and immediately reject it as flatly false and ridiculous. In fact, they are quite completely convinced and passionately insist that they use the most stictly objective and rationally consistent hermanuitics of any Chistian sect in existence. They literally cannot even conceive of how it is possible that anyone could accuse them of bringing their doctrine to the Bible rather than taking their doctrine from it and yet that is precisely what they do.

One of my favorite examples of them doing this is from an article by R.C Sproul. This article is explicitly about the objective interpretation and understanding of Scripture. In it he writes the following...

Closely related to this point is the principle that the implicit must be interpreted by the explicit, rather than the explicit interpreted by the implicit. This particular rule of interpretation is violated constantly. For example, we read in John 3:16 that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” and many of us conclude that since the Bible teaches that anyone who believes shall be saved, it therefore implies that anyone can, without the prior regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, exercise belief. That is, since the call to believe is given to everyone, it implies that everyone has the natural ability to fulfill the call. Yet the same gospel writer has Jesus explaining to us three chapters later that no one can come to Jesus unless it is given to him of the Father (6:65). That is, our moral ability to come to Christ is explicitly and specifically taught to be lacking apart from the sovereign grace of God. Therefore, all of the implications that suggest otherwise must be subsumed under the explicit teaching, rather than forcing the explicit teaching into conformity to implications that we draw from the text. - R.C. Sproul "Knowing Scripture"

Mr. Sproul and every other Calvinist that reads this paragraph is entirely blind to the fact that it is their doctrine that tells them which passages are implicit and which are explicit and they REFUSE to consider that they could possibly have it backward or that there is the slightest possibility that it is their paradigm which makes one passage implicit and another explicit (or perhaps both explicit for that matter).

So, where do they make their initial mistake? Where is the crossroads where they make their first wrong turn?
Well, in an importance sense, their mistake is in thinking that they've started with the Bible and that they are capable of reading the Bible objectively or that it was ever intended to be read objectively or that the objective reading of the Bible (or anything else) is even possible to do in the first place. It isn't and they don't because they can't - no one can.

Atheists make a similar mistake when attempting to understand the world with logic as their first principle. Logic cannot be a first principle in the way atheist attempt to make it so because you cannot explain the existence of logic without using logic to do it which is question begging (i.e. not logical)! They have placed logic in the place where God should be and by the same token, the Calvinist (and most Christians of any flavor) has likewise put the Bible where God should be. The Bible is NOT the foundation of correct doctrine - God is!

"But our understanding of God is doctrine!", you might be thinking. Quite so! Theologians call it "theology proper" and there is loads of information about who God is in the pages of Scripture but I submit that our understand of God is it not derived from the Bible but rather confirmed and completed by it. The existence of God is intuitively understood, as evidenced by the fact that no more than 16% of the world's population is "religiously unaffiliated" never mind actually atheistic. Further, we can know rationally that God is living, personal and rational because we are those things and the effect cannot be greater than the cause. Likewise, we can know that God is righteous and just because these concepts are understood to be right and good by everyone, including both good and bad people. Punish an atheist for a crime he did not commit and he will object because he knows, both intuitively and rationally, that it is unjust but no one objects to the punishment of a murderer. Sleep with a drug dealer's wife and you and she will probably both get shot because even the most hardened criminal understands that there is a line there that ought not be crossed, even by him! The imbecilic college professor that claims that "All private property is theft!" would be first in line to press charges against someone who stole their Prius. The anarchists who thinks that people ought to be permitted to do whatever they want, wouldn't like it much if I punched them in the face. And even the most naive amoung us knows that someone who sets a person's house on fire so that they can then rescue the occupants from the flames is an arsonist, not a hero.

Thus we can know that God exist and that He is alive, that He is personal, that He is relational, that He is rational, that He is righteous and that He is just. And that is not a complete list!

It is upon this foundation that ALL UNDERSTANDING, including but not limited to the understanding of Scripture, is to be based! Any thought in your head that renders God as impersonal, irrational, unrighteous or unjust, whether implicitly or explicitly, can be immediately rejected as false whether you got it from the Bible or not! In fact, all understanding of any truth by anyone about anything is based on this foundation! To reject it, as atheists do, or attempt to modify/substitute it, as Calvinist do, is to guarantee error in one's worldview. More than that, it is to invite erorr that you cannot detect and that you will refuse to acknowledge much less correct.

There is probably 10,000 more words I have to say on this topic but I am out of time. For a more detailed discussion of this and related topics read Does God Exist?, Openness Theology - Does God Know Your Entire Future? - Battle Royale X and Our Moral God

Resting in Him,

Clete has always had the ability to get to the heart of the matter and just lay it out like it is. The unfair tactics that Calvinists use to try and defend their beliefs is something that can be very frustrating and even hard to put into words. But Clete puts the words together very clearly here as always.