Saturday, June 13, 2009

Reppert's put-put gun is all out of ammo

Victor admits all he has left as an argument against Calvinism is his argument from language. Here's the gist of this argument:

"It occurred to me in reading a critique of Walls and Dongell's Why I am not a Calvinist (IVP 2004) that one could argue against Calvinism without appealing to any moral intuitions whatsoever; that indeed what I objected to in Calvinism wasn't just that I found Calvinism morally repugnant. I do, of course. But what I find equally disturbing is the fact that Calvinists use terms in ways which render those terms unrecognizable.


"But the question is whether someone God destines for perdition when he could have destined them otherwise can sensibly, in any recognizable sense, be considered to be loved by God. I think ordinary usage makes it clear that some conduct toward another person is inconsistent with the idea that God loves them.

"Take for example an abusive husband. Ann Coulter once said "Liberals love America like O. J. loved Nicole." At some point abuse becomes so severe that no sensible person can reasonably call it love anymore.

Now, let's think of a human, Smith. Suppose Smith is a great king. Suppose Smith claims that he loves all men. Now, suppose Smith, on repeated incidents, orders the armies of his kingdom to utterly destroy any trace of certain groups. Not only that, Smith tells his armies to go and kill not only the men, but all the women and children too. Yes, the babies. Then, if that weren't enough, he tells his armies to destroy all the livestock and pets and such in those countries. Yes, the puppies and kitties too.

But, recall that Smith says he loves all the people of these countries. He claims his love for all men is his most defining characteristic.

We can furthermore suppose that Smith dislikes the lawlessness in a certain region and so orders the drains of some massive damns to be opened, thus flooding this region, killing all who live there.

Would Victor apply the word "lover of humanity" to this person? Given his political comments over the years, the answer would seem to be no. In fact, if I called this person "love," Victor would claim, "then I don't know what that word means, you've made nonsense of the English language."

Would Reppert call this man, this puppy killer, "good?" I don't think so. Reppert has said things like this:

I remain convinced that the creature can say to the creator "Why hast thou made me thus." As John Stuart Mill puts it:

I will call no being good who is not what I mean when I apply that epithet to my fellow creatures; and if such a creature can sentence me to hell for not so calling him, to hell I will go.

Since Reppert would not call this man good, he cannot call God good. To the extent Reppert hurries to try and justify God's actions in the OT, the noose will grow tighter as he'll have to let the God of Calvinism off the hook too. If he doesn't, he'll look arbitrary.

From my perspective, I see no way out for Victor. Well, he can deny inerrancy . . .

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