Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nothing doing

I'm reposting some comments I left in response to an Arminian on James White's Facebook wall:

Perry Fernandes:
"So correct me if I am wrong, but according to Calvinism theology God preordained the choices of every human being before the foundation of the world which includes every evil act: rape, murder, molestation, terrorism, etc…..????"

According to Biblical Calvinism, God predestined every event. 

"God preordained that you would post that comment. We are just a bunch of pre-programmed robots….."

Well, Perry, if you think predestination reduces humans to robots, then what's wrong with robots "murdering" other robots? How can robots even be murdered? 

"That means Arminian theology was preordained by God too…"

Yes, God predestined Arminians to be a foil for Calvinists. One way of illustrating the truth (Calvinism) is to contrast the truth with something false (the errors of Arminianism). 

"Great question. My answer would be no God is not in any way responsible for the evil of man because God in His sovereignty chose to create mankind with free will/free choice and through allowing human beings to do evil God has a glorious ultimate plan that will be accomplished through it all."

Lots of internal problems with that claim:

i) Take the story last summer about a man who died when he fell into a woodchipper. He didn't choose to kill himself. It wasn't suicide. And his coworkers didn't choose to kill him. It wasn't homicide. Moreover, the woodchipper didn't choose to kill him. So how does your freewill defense explain accidental evils?

ii) If God knows that somebody will murder somebody else if he creates a world with that foreseeable future, then God causes that murder by creating a world with that foreseeable future. So how is the God of classical Arminianism "not in any way responsible" for that evil outcome? 

iii) As for "allowing human beings to do evil," years ago, where I was living, some teenagers were kidding around on a train trestle over a river. One boy pushed another boy into the river. But the boy didn't know how to swim. He splashed around and cried for help, but none of the other teenagers dove in to rescue him, so he drowned. 

Now, only one of the boys pushed him. However, by their inaction, all the boys ensured his death. The other boys didn't have to do anything to guarantee that he would drown. Their nonintervention rendered his drowning inevitable. 

Do you think they had no responsibility to save him, even if they didn't push him off the trestle? 

"God did not foreordain in some secret decree that these parents would BURN their sons in fire as offerings to Baal. No He said it didn't even cross His mind…."

Does that mean you're an open theist? Moreover, how does that let God off the hook? Even if God can't anticipate child sacrifice, he can step in at the last moment to prevent it. 


  1. What a confused guy. Sad really.

  2. I havent looked at this debate in years but a comment there caugth my eye.

    "God predestined every event. " you said that in response to the guys accusation that God preordained every rape and murder. Is this the same thing as saying God is responsible for every rape and murder? If it is are you then saying that calvininism teaches that God is responsible for evil?

    1. We need to distinguish between responsibility and culpability. God is responsible for everything that happens in his world, although he's not solely responsible. He is not, however, culpable or blameworthy for anything that happens.

  3. Steve,

    If God is the ultimate responsible of every event that occurs in the world, why does he allow or cause every murder o rape? What reasons does God have?

    1. It's an opportunity for God to express his grace and justice. And it's an opportunity for the elect to experience God's mercy.

      In addition, a world without crime would be a different kind of world. And world in which sinners like you and me never existed. So there are tradeoffs.

    2. And if God is responsible of every event, why isn't Him culpable as well?

    3. To be responsible for an event doesn't make God solely responsible. God was responsible for Joseph's brothers plotting to murder him, then selling him into slavery, but they were genuine agents in that transaction as well. Moreover, their intentions were evil whereas God's intentions were good.

      A screenwriter is responsible for creating a villain, but the villain is evil, not the screenwriter.