Saturday, May 03, 2008

Providing Clarification for Reppert

In this post, Victor Reppert asked for some clarification. Ask and you shall receive.

Steve Hays gave some answers. He wrote,

"This is simpleminded. God would be just in damning everyone *because* everyone is a sinner. The justice of this counterfactual is indexed to a necessary condition. God would be just in saving everyone *if* Christ died for everyone. The justice of that counterfactual is indexed to a necessary condition. The justice of the outcome is not irrespective of other relevant factors.

If God damned the innocent, that would be unjust. If God saved sinners apart from penal substitution, that would be unjust."
This answers Reppert. I'd like to make a couple related observations, similar and complementing.

"How could God possibly be unjust?"

Not punish sin. Let the guilty go without punishment whatsoever.

"What could it turn out that God has done that could be identified as unjust, given the fact that God is the creator and we are creatures."

One example would be: After the Apostle Paul dies, faces judgment, God sends the Apostle Paul to hell.

One of the things you're not taking into account (well, there's many things not being taken into account, reading some of our systematics books on the decrees would help), is the Reformed emphasis on covenant theology and the corollary of federal headship theology.

Your questions are really just a spin off the old debate with voluntarists (and caricatures of reformed thought) regarding the question: God could send the Virgin Mary to hell. After all, his sovereignty is such that he does what he does, and its right no matter what.

The answer came back, "No." God is bound by his covenant. This covenant spans back to the decree to save some of the lost. The are also judged according to covenant conditions. The covenant of works.

You also mentioned that Calvinist exegetes "trivialize Scripture." I'd love to see your analysis of "Calvinist exegetes" and how they trivialize scriptural claims. Which ones did you have in mind? Page numbers?

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