Monday, March 14, 2011

Arminian incoherence

Giving life to humans knowing that they will never trust in Christ and go to heaven; but, will rather choose another gospel and go to hell (Jude 1:4; 1 Pet. 2:8; Rom. 9:22). God however still chooses to create them even though He could have freely created only people that would freely choose Him.”
Now this point, on the surface, appears to be a real and valid argument or “problem” for the Arminian, so it deserves a response. I think Jared is correct to suggest that God could have chosen to bring into the world only people who would freely choose to trust in Christ. Of course, our genealogies would be entirely different, and on a much smaller scale, but such is not beyond the scope of  philosophical reasoning with regard to the ability and mind of God. God was under no obligation to create any being or any thing. He did so because He wanted to do so, even foreknowing that billions upon billions would spend eternity in hell separated from His presence. Why?
First, I find Jared a bit presumptuous on this point, in that he seems to assume that some Arminians do not wrestle with this reality. How does he know that some Arminians do not philosophically wrestle with this fact, but should? I have both heard and read this type of argument or statement for years from Arminians, non-Calvinists and Calvinists alike. So I do not think that it is ipso facto a reality that Arminians “don’t have a problem with, but should.”
Second, while answering this complaint is not easy, we do have to consider the notion of a free will theodicy, in that God’s objective, from the Arminian’s perspective, is not unconditionally regenerating His unconditionally elect when He decides to “save” an individual, but to give that individual the ability to believe on Christ and thus be saved by grace through faith. From this angle, God’s desire is for people to freely choose to love and trust Him, yet there are many who do not. Because they do not, they are held responsible for their choices — choices which they freely made, and were not made for them by God’s decree — and they will spend eternity in hell separated from His life, holiness, joy and blessing, presence and goodness. Those who hear the gospel of Jesus Christ really can have life with their Creator by God’s grace in Christ, through faith in Him, by the act or work of the Holy Spirit. (This is more than can be admitted in Calvinism, since many hear the gospel whom God has no intention of unconditionally saving.)
Coupling point 3 with point 9, to which we now turn, is even more problematic — at least, on the surface. (Some of the less weighty “problems” I have listed in the footnotes below because they are, much like the first two points, not a “problem” which Arminians should have a problem with, in our opinion. Therefore I will now address a few more weighty arguments.)

Two fundamental problems:

i) In what sense does the Arminian God love the damned? How is it loving to create them for a fate worse than death? Doesn't Scripture say the damned are better off had they never been born? So the Arminian God isn't acting in their best interests. To the contrary, he is acting in their worst interests. He is doing them harm, avoidable harm.

ii) How can the Arminian God intend to save the hellbound if he foreknows their doom, and seals their doom by creating them with that foreseeable outcome?


  1. As always, the blog traffic is appreciated.

  2. Hope you're not texting as you drive back to school.