Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Eternity matters

A commenter at Wintery Knight’s fine blog made some apt observations concerning Jerry Walls lecture attacking Calvinism:

eMatters says:
02/25/2013 at 9:01 PM

I still find it amusing that Arminians and Middle Knowledge people get upset with Calvinists for their interpretations. But don’t all three camps agree on the simple timeline where God knows ahead of time — that is, before He creates people — who will end up in Heaven and who will end up in Hell? Regardless of how you define predestination you can’t get around that fact. So how does the Calvinist interpretation make God a big meanie and the others let him off the hook? He knew, then He created knowing who would go to Hell.

eMatters says:
02/25/2013 at 10:40 PM

I’d distinguish between God’s perfect love and the apparent definition of the speaker when he says “all loving.”

Again, I don’t think the Middle Knowledge guy going to Hell in the “real” scenario God picked — even though the guy would have chosen Heaven in other scenarios — would buy into the speaker’s definition. He would rightly question if God “really” loved him if he would have chosen to follow Jesus in other universes but not this one. God obviously loved the people in the real universe more than Mr. Tough Luck — or He loved his goal of maximizing the entrants into Heaven over the individuals chosen.

Seriously, thanks for putting these things out there. They make me think about the particulars more, and, oddly enough, make me more Reformed ;-).

eMatters says:
02/25/2013 at 10:02 PM

Yes, we should be consistent, and she was. But I have yet to hear a non-Calvinist speak this truth when sharing the Gospel: “If you don’t trust in Jesus, then God knew you wouldn’t. He created you with full knowledge that no matter what happened in your life — no matter whom you met, no matter what you read or heard, no matter how many debates you listened to on Wintery Knight’s blog, etc. — you would NOT believe in Jesus and you would spend an eternity in Hell. His carefully crafted Middle Knowledge universe left you on the outs. Yeah, sure, one of the other possible universes had you believing, but this universe maximized the total believers. Sorry about that, champ! Or maybe He’s the Arminian God who is super-powerful but just not persuasive enough to convince you that He exists and that you should trust in Jesus. But He created you anyway, because He wanted to, even though He knew you’d never turn to him. And He loves you thiiiiiiiis much.”

eMatters says:
02/25/2013 at 10:16 PM

We agree that God is good and that if we end up in Hell that it is well-deserved. That’s one of the main things, and why I don’t get all worked up when people disagree on these views.

My point is simply that the other views aren’t as far from Calvinism as their adherents like to think they are (“That old meanie Calvinist God who knew which people would go to Hell but created them anyway is nothing like our loving Arminian/Middle Knowledge God who knew which people would go to Hell and created them anyway!!!”).


  1. Every time you say "Wintery Knight" I think "Watery Tart."

    Sorry, that's just the way it is.

  2. Ah, one of those free association tests.

  3. As long as she doesn't start throwing swords around...

  4. Neil is a friend of mine, and I am always re-tweeting his stuff. He has excellent stuff on his blog that I find through Twitter. I think Triablogue should be on Twitter. Are you?

    Neil is right to say that even on middle knowledge, God is doing a lot of arranging of the universe in order to guarantee that a certain group of people will not resist his grace and drawing so that they are saved. It's almost like a case of entrapment, where God is engineering the world to get the people he wants to do what he wants so he can achieve his ends.

    The vessels of wrath who do not respond to this drawing have only themselves to blame.

    And I am not a "Watery Tart"!