I’m going to begin by juxtaposing two statements by Roger Olson:
I think the main difference lies in different views of God’s intentionality. Arminians say God never intended the fall to happen and does not intend any of its consequences–except to allow them. Calvinists would seem to have to say that even the fall, then all of its consequences, was intended by God. To me, there’s a huge difference there. If God intended for the fall to happen, if it is part of a divine plan, then God’s character is questionable.
However, even Anabaptists believe God gave the sword to the state and so some killing is justified even if it is sin. But it is never justifiable for the Jesus follower to kill. It is not God’s will for his people to kill.
Christian realists believe sometimes God’s people must hold their noses and kill. But even when killing is absolutely necessary (e.g., in the case of Bonhoeffer participating in the plot to kill Hitler) the Jesus follower must not celebrate. The appropriate response is instead to repent and trust God for forgiveness.
If you think evil events are divinely unintended events, if God didn’t plan the fall, or other evil events, then it’s easy to see how that, in turn, would generate intractable moral dilemmas in which we have no morally good options. For we’re dealt our cards from a disorganized deck of haphazard events.
If conversely, God predestined every event, including evil events, then each event (including evil events) is coordinated with every other event. God has good reason for whatever he decrees. Even if a given event is evil in and of itself, it serves a good purpose.
But if you take Roger Olsen’s position, then evil events are random, disjointed events. So you could well find yourself trapped in a haphazard situation where there is no right course of action. It’s just the luck of the draw whether or not unplanned evils leave you with a morally licit option.
Ironically, Olsen’s position is fairly fatalistic. You may find yourself, through no fault of your own, caught up in a web of helter-skelter events where whatever you do will be morally wrong.
But it’s unclear, on that scenario, why Olson still believes our actions are blameworthy.
In a further irony, Olson’s position invalidates a popular Arminian prooftext (1 Cor 10:13). For on his view there are situations in which we have no innocuous escape route. We may have choices, but all our choices are culpable choices.
Mind you, as I’ve argued on more than one occasion, I don’t think 1 Cor 10:13 succeeds as an Arminian prooftexts, but it’s nice to see an Arminian theologian who agrees with me (albeit for different reasons).