Thursday, April 29, 2010

Satanic Calvinism!

It’s odd to see how some folks react to Calvinism. The Calvinist God is “monstrous,” “hateful,” Hitlerian,” “worse than Satan,” &c. If that’s what God is like, then they hate God. If that’s what God is like, then they’d renounce the Christian faith. If that’s what God is like, then they’d rather go to hell. And so on and so forth.

And where is all this splenetic venom coming from, exactly? Well, it’s all based on their theory of the will. That’s right. Just a theory of the will. All for a theory of the will.

Better to burn in hell than worship a God who offends my theory of the will!

Such an attitude exhibits boundless confidence in human reason. Unless I understand something, I refuse to believe!

It’s the same attitude we see among infidels who reject Christianity because they can’t explain the Trinity, or the hypostatic union, or the justice of hell, or the execution of the Canaanites, or how to harmonize the Easter narratives, and so on and so forth.

And it’s a paradoxical rationalism. An irrational rationalism. What could be more irrational than to turn your back on God just in case it goes against your theory of the will? How can any reasonable man have so much faith in his theory of the will, and so little faith in the Maker of the world?


  1. Steve,

    Is there any mystery to the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human action?

    As you know, W.L. Craig cited Turretin to show that Reformed theologians are “self-confessedly left with a mystery.” When I read your material, I get the impression that you don’t think there is any mystery involved.

  2. Yes, God can make it compatible that there be something that is fully God and fully man yet one person, and a person who holds apparently contradictory thoughts at times, but he can't make it that he determines whatsoever comes to pass and that humans can be free and responsible given this.

    Wheat, there's mystery, of course. However, it much, much, much further down the road than the vast majority of Reformed theologians think; they pull that rip cord way, way, way too early--which hurts and does not help matters. Where they usually draw the line, it is not entirely clear of they don't think we have libertarian freedom but that God determines this and they call that contradiction a "mystery," or they leave people with questions that can be answered---all because they think calling mystery a good way to excuse yourself for being radically unfamiliar with the issue. The mystery card isn't to pulled out to justify the lazy card.

  3. All divine agency is mysterious in the general sense that we only have direct access to the effect, and not the cause. We don't observe the cause, just the effect.

    However, I don't find predestination and responsibility to be in apparent contradiction, for reasons I've given at various times (most recently in reply to W. L. Craig).

  4. The short end of the stick, to me, is simple.

    "God is Love".

    If you don't love God, one, you are basically stupid or two, you are farther down the path to destruction and don't know it yet or three, you are completely of satanic influences and a reprobate.

    My question is simple: "Just what did God do to offend you, anyway?"

    I can think of plenty of things I have done and more so now that the Law has come alive in me that I have done to offend God.

    I just cannot think of one thing He has done to offend me.

    That is why I find it amazing the hostility that rises up in my flesh and soul at times against My Loving, Heavenly Father!

    Oh, amazing Grace, not only the sound but the "effects" upon my soul, so, so amazing, this Grace and Mercy and Peace that comes through Christ by one Spirit to me too!

  5. "Better to burn in hell than worship a God who offends my theory of the will!"

    Yeah, I don't understand that one. I don't know why some LFW'ers allow their hearts and minds to be hardened so.

  6. I have some friends who are of the "the Calvinist God is a monster" type. Their position isn't staked out so much on a theory of the will, as on a theory of what it means for God to be love.

    The idea that Jesus didn't die for someone is, for him, just too appalling.

    Having myself been raised to believe that Jesus died for everyone and wants everyone to be saved in the same sense, I can sympathize with that "intuition".

  7. Mr. Manata, you wrote, “[T]here's mystery, of course. However, it much, much, much further down the road than the vast majority of Reformed theologians think.”

    What is the mystery that is “much, much, much further down the road” to which you are referring? Steve, if I am understanding him correctly, suggests that there is no “apparent contradiction” (which I understand to mean mystery in a non-general sense) to be found in predestination and responsibility.

  8. Wheat,

    I'm not using 'mystery' as 'apparent contradiction' in this sense. If you think there is one, can you specify it?

  9. Would all Calvinists worship a God who gave people libertarian free will? Is that even a valid question?

    The Arminian venom may be undue, but the allegation that God as described by Calvinism is unloving and therefore not the God described in the Bible is of the same sort as the Calvinist allegation that the Arminian God is not in control and therefore not the God described in the Bible. They're both arguments from Scripture and a theory of the will, and obviously both can't be right. I'm not wanting to defend Arminian Calvinist-bashing and over-the-top rhetoric, but when it's stripped away the allegations seem not far removed from those that many Calvinists make in a more level-headed fashion (i.e. that a God who allows creatures libertarian freedom cannot be God because he is not sovereign). As a Calvinist, I would say that the libertarian theory of freedom cannot be made sense of and no God whatsoever could create creatures with such freedom, but that's just staking a theological position (in part) on a theory of the will.

  10. I don't see that a theory of the will plays the same presuppositional role in Calvinism as it does in Arminianism.

    Given the Reformed exegesis of Scripture, Calvinists *then* reject libertarianism in favor of compatibilism.

    But for Arminianism, libertarianism is a necessary precondition of responsibility. They treat that as intuitively compelling, independent of Scripture. A self-evident truth of reason, rather than a truth of fact. For them, Calvinism can never be a live option.

    For them, libertarianism is a hermeneutical principle. And it's also a criterion to adjudicate revelatory claimants.

  11. Steve

    I reckon the most frightening and sobering thing about the name-calling is that the God which Calvinism explains is an accurate representation of the biblical God, so these folks, are, in fact calling God himself these cursed names. How will they fare at judgment when they spent their lifetime cursing God?

    John H.