More On the Authorship of Sin (Part 3)

In parts one and two of the authorship of sin series (as well as the post that kicked it off), we examined some of the Calvinist defenses against the charge of their making God the author of sin, as well as some of the counter-objections they raise to the Arminian view. As was shown therein, the exhaustive determinist views eliminate all other possible authors of sin except for God. They may attempt to obfuscate the issue with defenses such as this I found (attributed apparently to Bartholomew Traheron),

To ordain a thing and to be the proper cause, author, and worker of a thing is not all one, as by these following. He that sets his wine abroad in the Sun to make vinegar, ordains it to be made vinegar, and yet he is not the proper cause of vinegar, but the nature of the wine and the hot Sun beams.

Such a defense relies upon factors (e.g. the natures of wine and sunbeams) that are at least to some degree independent of the one who makes the vinegar. Whereas if everything about us is due to God with man’s independence playing no part whatsoever, then such an analogy would still leave God the author of sin through secondary causes (as we covered in part II).

The Last Fall-Back Position: The ‘So what?’ Defense

The irreconcilable contradictions in the necessitarian views and God not being the author of sin have driven many Calvinists to take a stance of simply granting that God is in fact the source of all evil, and that all sin is exhaustively decreed by Him. While they may maintain a formal stance that He isn’t the author, this is double speak meaning only that God isn’t responsible for what He decrees or God isn’t sinning in authoring sin (or some similar evasion), they still firmly maintain that sin originates in God. Others have dropped the facade entirely, as Vincent Cheung demonstrates in ‘The Author of Sin‘:

On the other hand, when someone alleges that my view of divine sovereignty makes God the author of sin, my first reaction tends to be, “So what?” Christians who disagree with me stupidly chant, “But he makes God the author of sin, he makes God the author of sin….” However, a description does not amount to an argument or objection, and I have never come across a half-decent explanation as to what’s wrong with God being the author of sin in any theological or philosophical work written by anybody from any perspective. Whether or not God is the author of sin, there is no biblical or rational problem with him being the author of sin.

Cheung isn’t some crazed, lone exception. Alpha and Omega Ministries’ Turretinfan echoes the sentiment:

To briefly summarize, God is not the “author” of sin because he does not do sin: he is not a voluntary agent that performs a sinful act. Furthermore, God is not the “author” of sin because no one who sins is coerced into sin contrary to their will by God. If WLC means something else by “author of sin” we can respond with Vincent Cheung that we will simply grant the objection, and ask why that should be a problem. Used outside the first two items listed above, it is simply pejorative rhetoric, not a meaningful objection.

Authorship of sin in this context (as we’ve already shown) implies origination thereof -which in Turretinfan and Cheung’s views is attributed to God. The defense that God somehow isn’t the author of sin in such views amount to equivocation -merely redefining author to mean “he who commits” or “he who violates someone’s will to bring it about,” rather than the originator. Such circumventive excuses may satisfy the giver, but it doesn’t change the fact that their views still make sin ultimately and completely the design of God, which contra Cheung’s assertion, is a massive problem for anyone who believes scripture as we’ll examine directly.

Calvin Cat is making you reprobate

Problems of Biblical Proportions

Determinists often try to shift the issue to that of culpability, but to attribute the origination of sin itself to God is already a denial of what the scriptures plainly state, despite Cheung’s hand-waving. In part 2 we pointed out that hearts that devise evil schemes are an abomination to Him (Proverbs 6), yet this deterministic philosophy in fact makes every evil scheme God’s own invention. Further problems arise when God Himself refutes such a notion through the prophet Jeremiah:

“They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.” (Jeremiah 32:35)

God made it very clear that He not only didn’t command such a thing, but distances Himself from the concept entirely in stating it didn’t enter into His mind that they should do this abominable act – a plain denial that it was His contrivance at all.

The Calvinist responses I’ve heard given this would be funny if they weren’t so desperately bad. They often try to set up a straw man “literal interpretation” of “nor did it enter my mind” meaning “I didn’t know they were going to do it”, then insist that taking the passage ‘literally’ amounts to Open Theism, so therefore one should accept their view that the passage is some sort of anthropomorphism. Besides there being apparently nothing conveyed by this supposed ‘anthropomorphism,’ contextually speaking, the concept of “didn’t enter my mind” is most readily interpreted idiomatically as “I didn’t think this up”[1], not, “I didn’t see that coming.” This being the case, the choice of ‘Open Theism or Determinsim’ is a false dichotomy. (See here for a discussion on this passage by Richard Coords).

Who is the father of lies?

In John chapter 8, Jesus provides an extremely fitting description for His chief adversary:

“… He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44b)

Now if every lie the devil tells is his own independent invention, then this certainly must hold true, for deception and hatred of the truth begins in him. But what if this weren’t the case at all? What if in fact the devil didn’t rightly imagine his falsehoods for himself, but rather had someone else thinking it up and feeding it to him? Could he rightly be called the ‘father of lies’ if someone else made up his lies for him, and he were just the ‘delivery boy?’ As I explained in the comments of a previous post:

“If every lie the devil ever told wasn’t really his own idea that was rooted in his own heart and will, if instead each lie were really just God’s invention that He decreed the devil tell, to say that, we would literally (contra John 8:44) be calling God the father of lies rather than the devil.”

This is where exhaustive determinism begins to scripturally break down even further. Those who spread it would literally have us believe that God conceived all of the devil’s lies for him; thus, applying the term ‘father of lies’ to Satan would be little more than quaintly inaccurate pejorative, as the real source of all the deceit he spreads would in fact be God Himself!

Explicit Denial

It was pointed out by another poster named Steven, that scripture plainly denies sin coming from God. He quoted 1 John chapter 2:

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world -the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)

Here John cites major factors of sinful behavior that the unregenerate world is defined by: wicked cravings, lust, and pride, which drive all manner of wicked action. He also explains that one cannot love these things and have the love of God abiding in him, because as opposed to agape love that is from God (cf. ch 4:7-8), the lust and pride that are from the world (and by extension, its prince – Eph 2:2, 2 Cor 4:4) aren’t from Him at all. The word ‘ek’ [from] used in this sense in both passages is a commonly-used primary preposition, …denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote) (source)

The underlying reason John gives not to love the world’s elements such as lust and pride then is because they neither originate nor proceed from God, they are “not from the Father but from the world.” As implied above, this is in direct contraposition to the love of God emphasized throughout 1 John,

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

The contrast between the things of the world and the love of God, with regard to their respective origins, is important as well: for in the same sense that love is from God, wickedness such as lust and pride is not. Yet this contrast seems to be lost on most hardcore Predestinarians. Their consensus is that all wickedness actually does come from God, just secretly and in a way such that He’s not responsible for it.

Therefore I conclude with Jonathan Edwards, “God decrees all things, even all sins.” Or, as Paul says in Ephesians 1:11, “He works all things after the counsel of His will.” (Piper, John; Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained that Evil Be?)

As John Gill said, “Though God’s decree made Adam’s fall infallibly necessary as to the event, yet not by way of efficiency, or by force and compulsion on the will.” Clearly it was the divine will that sin should enter this world, or it would not have done so.

God’s decree that sin should enter this world was a secret hid in Himself. Our first parents knew nothing of it, and that made all the difference so far as their responsibility was concerned. Had they been informed of the divine purpose and the certainty of its fulfillment by their actions, the case would have been radically altered. They were unacquainted with the Creator’s secret counsels. What concerned them was God’s revealed will, and that was quite plain. (A.W. Pink, “Gleanings from the Scriptures”)

Isn’t it impossible for God to do evil? He can’t sin. I am not accusing God of sinning; I am suggesting that He created sin. (R.C. Sproul, Jr., Almighty Over All, Baker, p. 54) [emphasis mine]

Both Pink and Sproul insist that God still “isn’t the author of sin” by appealing to the same equivocation cited above; but don’t be fooled by the glossing over -they still maintain that the origin of all wickedness is God. Ironically, Sproul employs a similar process of elimination as I do at the end of part 2 and in this post to arrive at the same conclusion: that exhaustive determinism makes God the creator of evil, which is equivalent to calling Him the author of sin.

Christian Philosopher Paul Copan takes Sproul to task on this point by citing that all which God creates is good (1 Timothy 4:4, James 1:17, which strongly agrees with 1 John 2:15-16), and that while God does create things like disasters (Isaiah 45:7), these aren’t to be confused with God creating moral evil (sin) as Sproul argues for.

‘Proof-Texting?’

The plain denial that sin originates within God doesn’t sit well with many determinists. Paul Manata attempts to frame the use of 1 John 2 as eisegetical proof-texting by appealing to Christ’s words in John 15:5, “apart from me you can do nothing” (to which he satirically insists that this would include sin). Immediate context obviously dictates that the “nothing” Christ speaks of is opposite of bearing fruit by abiding in Him (vs 2-5). While it’s obviously true that context absolutely must be observed and factored in, Manata’s counter-example fails to make any relevant point, as it doesn’t identify how or why our use of 1 John 2:15-16 is supposedly violating context, merely that context in fact can be ignored and passages of scripture misapplied (which he unwittingly proves on a fairly regular basis[2]). He does attempt to provide some alternate explanation:

But not only that, commentators recognize that John means that those actions are not characterized by a godly life (e.g., Yarbrough, 1-3 John, BECNT). John’s speaking of what characterizes actions, they are either from the father or from the world.

This argument doesn’t make much sense: there’s no indication in the passage that it’s addressing ‘godly life’ vs ‘worldly life’ but clearly speaks of God Himself and the world in reference to where evil originates. The determinist eisegesis here ignores the preposition that denotes the evils’ origin without verbal or contextual warrant in favor of a contrived reinterpretation that’s apparently based solely on a non-scriptural philosophical presupposition. Secondly, entities don’t objectively characterize their actions in terms of good or evil on the basis of their person, the actions themselves that are good or evil characterize the entity as such.

“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.” (1 John 3:7)

The commentary Manata cites on 1 John 2 actually makes the very point that it’s the world’s actions that characterize itself. Quoting Yarbrough:

The third component in John’s explanation of what characterizes the [world] is [the arrogance of life] (Yarbrough, Robert; 1, 2, and 3 John (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), p. 133)

John’s indisputable point to his readers is that much of what surrounds them, insofar as it “belongs to the world,” is “not from the Father. It is rather from the world.” More specifically, the world is characterized by an unholy trinity of “what the body hankers for and the eyes itch to see and what people toil to acquire.

The logic of 2:7-17, as it comes to a close, runs like this: do not set your affections on the [world, 2:15], insofar as what characterizes the [world] is foreign if not hostile to the Father and what he represents (2:16).” (Ibid., p. 134)

Yarbrough in fact makes the point that it’s the sinful pride that characterizes the world, and makes no attempts to change or reinterpret the originative language in reference to sin of verse 16. Under the heading ‘The origin of world-love’, he even states,

The reason lies primarily in the place of origin of “the things” John has in mind … everything that belongs to the world is not from the Father but is from the world). John is thinking of things that can be regarded as detrimental because they lack sanctifying ties with the Father. They are not rooted and grounded in him and can therefore be regarded as not coming from him. (Ibid., p. 131 [emphasis mine])

Instead of lending aid to Manata’s verbal gymnastics, Yarbrough instead drives home the point that the origin of the wicked things is central to John’s imperative against them in verse 15! This is especially relevant, since where an action properly originates is one of its primary defining characteristics where Christians are concerned; agape love and good works in Christ (Eph 2:10) are from the Father (godly); lust, pride, and all manner of evil are from the world (and thus worldly).

I’ve also heard it argued that the passage is talking about what God hasn’t commanded, i.e. lust and pride aren’t commanded in the law of God or scripture. While the statement itself is true, it doesn’t hold up well as a viable explanation for this passage, since in the same sense that lust and pride don’t come from God, they do come from the world. This defense would be tantamount to saying that the world in general makes laws stating that men must be lustful, greedy, and prideful. While those of the world may condone or hypocritically practice these things, the case can hardly be made that they issue them as points of law!

Another conceivable defense Necessitarians may claim is that the passage is using some kind of idiom to express that these things come directly from the world, and only indirectly from God through the world, which would make it an expression not of origin, but mere proximity. Such a stance would reduce the motivation behind John’s admonition to a rather feeble line of reasoning: that God is just as much and completely the author of sin as He is of salvation, we’re just to shun the former because He implements it “less directly.”

In short, from whence evil comes is its source. As necessitarian doctrine frames the issue, these evils don’t arise due to some contingency of other independent wills within the world, but in fact arise wholly from within God who immutably decrees that sinners commit them. Were that the case, then it would be completely inaccurate to say that these things don’t come from Him as John proclaims.

Conclusion

It’s been asserted that real Calvinism is most always eventually supplanted by hyper-Calvinism, the tenets of which include God authoring sin. This brand of hyper-Calvinism has strong roots in the movement, being propagated by many of its most respected and influential authors of past and present. It’s accordingly made strong inroads into this latest ‘Reformed Resurgence,’ becoming increasingly popular among internet Calvivangelists, and will likely consume the movement (at least in the leadership and scholastic echelons) as time goes on. The adoption of this hyper-Calvinist belief may be because it’s the most (perhaps only) logically consistent and defensible theodicy given the mainstream Calvinist definition of ‘sovereignty’ espoused by those like Piper, which they stretch from “always having total power” into meaning, “always completely exercising total power.” It’s little wonder then that he, Toplady, Gill, Edwards, Pink, Sproul, Cheung, et al have embraced the idea of God being the creator of evil. Calvinists who truly believe God isn’t the author of sin should be advised that this transition to hyper-Calvinism isn’t merely a possible danger to their movement, it’s already well under way.

Bottom Line:

* Among Necessitarians, the phrase “God isn’t the author of sin” is a smokescreen; they still maintain that sin comes from and is decreed by God.

* The issue goes beyond just culpability: to claim that sin actually originates in God is still making Him its author, contrary to the scriptures.

* Exhaustive determinist doctrine makes the God who finds it abominable when hearts devise wickedness into the deviser and source of all wickedness.

* To God’s proclamation that it never entered His mind that Israel should sacrifice to Molech, said doctrine asserts that He in fact engineered their transgression in toto from the beginning.

* It changes God from a God of truth in Whom is no darkness to the originator of every lie, and Satan from the father of lies into little more than a courier for the falsehoods God decrees he tell.

* It gainsays scripture’s declaration that wickedness “comes not from the Father but from the world,” contending that lust and pride actually are altogether fashioned and immutably decreed by God.



[1] The word for ‘mind’ [leb] is the same as that used for ‘heart’ in Hebrew. The same word is used in Proverbs 6:18 when referring to “a heart that devises wicked imaginations.” A thing “entering one’s heart” can be indicative of concepts such as calling a thing to remembrance (e.g. Jeremiah 44:21) -obviously not the meaning in this case- or purposing / setting affections on a thing. An example of the latter is in Ezekiel 14:4-7 in reference to setting up idols in one’s heart. An example of it implying purposing a thing is in 2 Kings: “And Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the dedicated gifts that are brought into the house of the LORD—each man’s census money, each man’s assessment money —and all the money that a man purposes in his heart to bring into the house of the Lord….” (2 Kings 12:4, NKJV) The KJV translates it more literally as “all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the LORD.” From the Hebrew usage of the term and the context, it seems that their idolatry being a thing not purposed by God is the most viable interpretation.

[2] A particularly amusing example is his treatment of Hebrews 6.

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15 Responses

  1. Nice post JC, thanks.

  2. A very good conclusion. Thanks for the awesome work JC.

  3. Hello JC,

    Another great job as usual. Thanks for taking the time to put this all together and especially your citing actual Calvinistas (so their errors can be seen as coming from the “horse’s mouth”, not invented by non-determinists).

    You wrote:

    “God made it very clear that He not only didn’t command such a thing, but distances Himself from the concept entirely in stating it didn’t enter into His mind that they should do this abominable act – a plain denial that it was His contrivance at all.”

    What the Calvinista obfuscations attempt to do is to gloss over, minimize, or change the subject, but as you say the passage clearly says that God “distances Himself from the concept entirely.” And this is the point: when it comes to evils we do or lies the devil invents, their source is **from us or the devil** not God. God distances Himself from them because He neither DESIRED THEM TO OCCUR, nor did He PLAN FOR THEM TO OCCUR.

    In contrast, according to the Calvinista, God preplanned it all, decided beforehand what every event would be, including every sin and evil that eventually occurs, all part of his one total plan for the fully determinate world He wanted.. So it was God who first conceived of the child sacrifice by the Israelites. It was God who ****planned for**** and ****intended for**** it to occur, before these people ever existed, God had already preplanned their abominations and desired for them to occur as part of his total plan. For God to then have the reaction as given in scripture does not make sense if exhaustive determinism is true.(it is certainly disingenuous on the part of the determinist God to seem shocked by something He himself preplanned). If things are going exactly as He planned them to go, then why would God have such a reaction? What it a case of do as I say and not do as I do (with us being against child sacrifice and God being for it as he plans and ensures every instance of it?).

    The bible is full of instances where God’s response or reaction clearly shows that he ****did not desire*** for the event to occur and ***did not plan*** for the event to occur, its occurrence is due to the actions of other persons acting independently of God’s plans. The reality is, and what the bible clearly presents is that GOD HAD NOT PLANNED THESE ACTIONS.
    It is not that he did not know they would occur (that would be open theism and denial of divine foreknowledge). It is that besides God’s plans existing and being carried out in this universe, there are **other minds with other plans** whose plans are also being made and carried out in this world. Contrary to what the necessitarians may wish, this universe is not just one giant sock puppet with God’s hand in it directing every event that occurs. Nor is this a universe with one puppet master who alone acts freely while all of his puppets perform the show that he wants to see. Spiritual warfare is real, it is not a sham, it is not entirely prescripted as Calvinistas want to believe.

    It is real because God has plans and the devil has plans, and these plans contradict each other. Jesus said when accused of working his miracles via the power of the devil (can a kingdom divided against itself stand)? Jesus spoke as if the conflict and spiritual warfare is real; because it **is** real. If exhaustive determinism is true, it is all a sham, there is no real spiritual warfare or conflict as every evil and opposition to God and His Word is PREPLANNED BY GOD HIMSELF. This same principle that Jesus brought up (that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand) also applies to the universe as a whole. If God prescripted it all, then the supposed opposition between the devil and God is a sham, between men and God is a sham, because even the opposition and actions of Satan and us are precisely what God wants to occur and preplanned to occur.

    “Now if every lie the devil tells is his own independent invention, then this certainly must hold true, for deception and hatred of the truth begins in him. But what if this weren’t the case at all? What if in fact the devil didn’t rightly imagine his falsehoods for himself, but rather had someone else thinking it up and feeding it to him? Could he rightly be called the ‘father of lies’ if someone else made up his lies for him, and he were just the ‘delivery boy?’”

    Exactly correct.

    While God foreknows the evils that demons and humans commit, these evils and lies are invented by the devil and by humans. I like the way you put it: “but rather had someone else thinking it up and feeding it to him?” In theological determinism, God is the one thinking it all up, preplanning every evil and sin and just feeding it to the computers so that His programs for evil and sin are carried out.

    I also like your point about how could the devil be rightly called the “Father of lies” when in fact if exhaustive determinism were true, then the God of determinism is the actual father of lies, the one who conceived of them first and planned for them first, and then just used the devil (as His, as you put it “deliver boy”).

    I like the analogy of actors on a stage myself. In determinism God creates the stage the actors are on, maintains this stage in existence, but he also directs every movement and action and thought of every actor on the stage (controls every molecule to quote Sproul). And not only does he direct them, he preplanned them all, and by controlling them the way a puppet master controls his puppets He ensures that the actors follow His preconceived script. In such an environment though it may appear that the actors have their own thoughts and choose their own actions, it is all a sham, cause it is all prearranged, predecided, and ensured by the director behind it all.

    The bible says the devil seeks whom he may devour and that he seeks to destroy people and deceive people. Taken at its face it seems as if the devil is actually opposing God with plans and schemes of his own. Yet if determinism is true, he is just a pawn in God’s chess game, a pawn, like everything else controlled in such a way as to ensure that everything already decided by God is done. God’s preplanned will in determinism is always done, God’s prescripted will is never violated or opposed (now it may seem like the bible is disobeyed and opposed and its commands violated, but that is **just** the bible, that is not the real will of God that counts, the real will, the one that is always done is the one that prescripts every event). If determinism is true even the things that look like violations of God’s explicit and expressed will in the bible are illusory violations of God’s will: they are not violations of the real will of God (the prescripted will, the total plan). The real will of God (also known as the “sovereign will” or “decreetal will” in Calvinista lingo) is for those Israelites to engage in child sacrifice (though the will of God expressed in the bible is against it, that is just the bible, it is not really the total plan where every evil is decided by God beforehand and which he delights in seeing done as part of history).

    “This is where exhaustive determinism begins to scripturally break down even further. Those who spread it would literally have us believe that God conceived all of the devil’s lies for him; thus, applying the term ‘father of lies’ to Satan would be little more than quaintly inaccurate pejorative, as the real source of all the deceit he spreads would in fact be God Himself!’”

    I like what you say here as it really captures what is going on behind the scenes in determinism: “that God conceived all of the devil’s lies for him . . . . the real source of all the deceit he spreads would in fact be God Himself!”.

    Take the lie that we can be saved by works. Was this lie first conceived by the devil? No. Did the devil first come up with the plan to deceive vast amounts of people with this lie? No. It was the God of determinism, who in planning his total plan, included in it, the deception of many people with the lie that you can save yourself by your works. It was the God of determinism who has Paul write in Romans that justification is through faith alone, who **also** is the one who ensures that people believe the lie that they save themselves by their works. I guess the God of determinism quite enjoys lying to those he wants to damn, and only tells the truth to the lucky ones that he wants to save (but even with them he lies because he says things in His Word that are not true: such as that He always provides a way of escape from temptation, when in reality if he preplanned for you to give into a particular temptation then you will do so with no possibility of avoiding giving into the temptation; or he says he wants you to be Holy separate yourself from sin and yet he preplans and ensures that you commit every sin that you commit). The devil did not invent this lie or first conceive of it, No, as you say JC the devil is just the “delivery boy” bringing the lie to those God intended to deceive from eternity with that particular lie.

    And take any evil or sin that you want to name, God first thought of it, planned for it, and designed every circumstance that would make it possible and ***ensure*** that it would occur (and that is true whether a person is a believer or not, doesn’t matter as God preplanned every sin that everybody commits and ensures that they occur just as planned).

    And they want us to believe that God is not the author of sin under this deterministic nightmare??

    Robert

  4. Steve, SLW, glad you enjoyed it.

    Robert,

    “The reality is, and what the bible clearly presents is that GOD HAD NOT PLANNED THESE ACTIONS.”

    Correct, there’s a huge difference in planning for the actions, and actually planning out the actions.

    “It is not that he did not know they would occur (that would be open theism and denial of divine foreknowledge).”

    The word for ‘mind’ [leb] is the same as that used for ‘heart’ in Hebrew. The same word is used in Proverbs 6:18 when referring to “a heart that devises wicked imaginations.” A thing “entering one’s heart” can be indicative of concepts such as calling a thing to remembrance (e.g. Jeremiah 44:21) -obviously not the meaning in this case- or purposing / setting affections on a thing. An example of the latter is in Ezekiel 14:4-7 in reference to setting up idols in one’s heart. An example of it implying purposing a thing is in 2 Kings:

    “And Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the dedicated gifts that are brought into the house of the LORD—each man’s census money, each man’s assessment money —and all the money that a man purposes in his heart to bring into the house of the Lord….” (2 Kings 12:4, NKJV)

    The KJV translates it more literally as “all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the LORD.”

    So from the Hebrew usage of the term and the context, it seems that their idolatry being a thing not purposed by God is the most viable interpretation. Matt Slick makes a similar case, which he concludes:

    “In other words, their sin did not enter the intention of God’s heart in His plans for Judah.”

    “Take the lie that we can be saved by works. Was this lie first conceived by the devil?”

    Or you ask them if they think God came up with Roman Catholicism and Open Theism. ;)

  5. Hello JC,

    “Correct, there’s a huge difference in planning for the actions, and actually planning out the actions.”

    And that is a major difference between the Calvinista view (where EVERYTHING is planned by God, including the most despicable evils that occur) and the biblical view where men and angels make the evil plans and carry them out (while God does not cause their evil actions but sometimes uses them to accomplish good purposes, the best example being the crucifixion of Jesus).

    “So from the Hebrew usage of the term and the context, it seems that their idolatry being a thing not purposed by God is the most viable interpretation. Matt Slick makes a similar case, which he concludes:
    “In other words, their sin did not enter the intention of God’s heart in His plans for Judah.””

    This is really a key here: in theological determinism, every event without exception is purposed by God (meaning that God purposes and intends every evil that comes to pass, He preplanned them all, desires for them all to occur and then ensures for them all to occur).

    The bible presents God as having some purposes, but not that every sin is purposed by God and preplanned by God to occur. In the bible it is men and angels that plan to commit sins and then carry them out: it is not God.

    “Or you ask them if they think God came up with Roman Catholicism and Open Theism. ”

    Again according to the false view of theological determinism, God thought up everything, first conceived of every evil event (as part of his total plan) and then He uses created beings to ensure that ***his preplanned evils*** occur.

    It is funny that you bring up Catholicism and Open Theism as these are two belief systems the Calvinistas particularly hate and rail against.

    And yet by their own theology/philosophy/exhaustive determinism, an open theist is **only doing exactly what God preplanned for him to do** (they cannot help it, they have no choice, they are what they are because God made them to do and be exactly what they are and do).

    So why are the Calvinistas so hateful of open theists and so frustrated and so angry and bitter towards the open theists when the open theist like the devil and everyone else is merely playing their role in the play???

    The Role that God (according to theological determinism) assigned to them, that God decided beforehand they would play and that God created them to be?

    The open theist cannot help themselves according to determinism: he has to hold the beliefs and present the arguments that God preplanned and decided beforehand would be his lot in life.

    Instead of being so hateful and hostile to them, the Calvinista should feel sorry for them and be glad that God did not assign them that role in the play (when he just as easily could have made them into the open theist, they just got lucky that in ***this particular play*** they are determinists (the “good” guys with the white hats) and not open theists (the “bad guys” with the black hats), or Catholics, or Arminians, or Muslims, or Eastern Orthodox, or Mormons, or whatever).

    The only thing that decides your role in this deterministic play is luck (if you are lucky God gives you a good role, to be one of the elect, if you are unlucky, then God gives you a “bad” role, which for them is quite simple: ANYTHNG OTHER THAN A CALVINISTA).

    I still really wonder why Calvinistas with their belief that their selection is merely at the whim of God , who could just as easily have chosen them to be reprobates, with their emotional connection with the so-called “doctrines of grace” can be some of the most hostile and hateful and prideful people you will ever meet.

    Again, if they really believed (what they profess to believe), then they ought to be the most humble people realizing how lucky they are. Realizing that their luck in being assigned their role in the play has nothing to do with them, realizing that the bad luck of others assigned bad roles were just unlucky when they got lucky. Realizing that God **could have just as easily** **made them into** one of the hated open theists or Catholics or Arminians or whatever.

    In their theology God makes you precisely what you are, whatever you are is what God purposed for you to be.

    And God has some particularly sadistic roles for some to play (e.g. those who believe they are Christians, associate with other believers, and find out only at the very end that they were never saved and that God was just playing a humorous little trick on them, before he punished them eternally for being the nonbelievers who thought they were believers but were not cause God made them to be that and play that role: or what about apostates who also were made into the apostates they were by God and then got punished for it forever). Every event is purposed by God according to the Calvinista and every event is preplanned by God, so just hope you get lucky! Hope you are lucky to be picked to be saved, hope your life does not involved too many difficulties, and above all hope that you are not assigned the role that most of the human race gets to play in this sadistic little game: reprobate, made by God to be an unbeliever, having your unbelief and sinful actions all preplanned by God and then getting eternally punished for being and doing EXACTLY WHAT GOD MADE YOU TO BE.

    Robert

  6. Well Done JC!

    ICXC NIKA

  7. Excuse me, because this is going to seem cliche. But, in light of what you have just written, how do you then propose we interpret texts such as Acts 2:23 or Genesis 50:20?

    I see how your logic is not flawed in showing that God would be the author of sin in exhaustive determinism, but it does not truly follow given the antinomy established by the Holy Writ in passages such as these. In general, I find that you are failing to directly address the texts the we Reformed use to defend compatiblistic determinism and in general have failed to appeal to scripture in general, instead appealing to unaided human logic, with minimal scriptural reference used only as a crutch.

    So, I ask that you would please tell me how you would hand scriptures such as these, as well as (and especially) Romans 9:19, where Paul anticipates the counter-argument to what he prior established. It must be understood that this counter-argument never would have arisen if it was not clear that he was not arguing for the exhaustive determinism of God and yet upholding human responsibility.

    Thank you,
    Christopher

  8. Just a few thoughts.

    #1) I cracked up at “Calvin Cat” but in reality the post is scary. I think the Arminian person in engaging with the Calvinist should therefore always be upholding the holiness of God as the root and source of God’s glory. This holiness means God is set apart in nature to the things of the world, and therefore set apart from the many evils thereof and therefore necessartarian determinism is false.

    #2) Do you think those claims that God really IS the source of evil come from a misunderstanding/low view of what REAL evil’s actually like? For example, I assume most of these prominent scholars and theologians in their very clean business suits have never seen half their child blown up in a war zone from a land mine, or seen their daughter pack-raped… Recently an elderly Japanese survivor from Horoshima after the Adom-Bomb attack–her name is Junko Morimoto– visited my school, and described several scenes that have been etched into her memory from the event; People with their skin so burnt from the blast that it literally begins to fall off, only to stop at their fingernails so that they literally have sheets of skin hanging from their hands… the outbreaking of disease from the multitudes of the bodies of the dead… a beautiful landscape literally transformed into a desolate waste in a matter of moments… a little girl amongst the carnage of the streets screaming at her dead mother to wake up… Could we really experience such things in our own lives and come to the conclusion that such is ultimately the work of God?

    #3) I find that in discussing the problem of evil with an unbeliever, it is effective to explain that the human being in the Christian perspective is a being who has been created in “the image of God,” and this implies self-determination, which can then be used to explain human sin as a personal choice to disobey God which directly leads to evil, which can then lead on to an evangelistic talk about Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary, God’s love for them displayed on the cross and the reconciliation THEY can have personally by placing their trust in Christ, which God really DOES offer and call them to in full integrity.

    #4) Uphold the Word. Pray, endure, hold to your life and doctrine closely. These are some things among many which are more important than ever before.

    God bless.

  9. I give an addendum, as I realize there is more scripture reference than I did see previously (reading first, then skimming to post). However, I still ask you what I have already posted.

  10. Robert,

    Don’t know if you will get this, but I lost your email address and need to get in touch with you. If you get this, please go to my site at xCalvinist.com and email me so I can contact you.
    Thanks much

    Hope you are well,

    Daniel Gracely

  11. Thanks for the work you do. Calvinism is the most irrational theological system known to man.

  12. Zach Doty believes God is the author of sin.

  13. Christopher,

    I address the issue of Christ’s death here: http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/fallacies-of-calvinist-apologetics-fallacy-8-calvinism-doesnt-charge-god-with-the-authorship-of-sin/

    I’m not sure why you’d say that Paul’s reply would imply exhaustive determinism, and Genesis 50:20 states nothing about God authoring anyone’s sin.

  14. I’m sorry. I have been away from this for a while, noticing that my comment had not been for about a week. But, on the same note, I haven’t had time to check and I don’t have time to formulate a response other than that your statements on those two verses are seemingly begging the question as to how to come to that conclusion. Please feel free to respond, with the understanding I do not have much time to contribute to debate.

  15. Christopher,

    saying “I’m not sure why you’d say…” isn’t begging the question. From the fact that Paul answers an objection, it doesn’t follow that he was teaching exhaustive determinism; to make such an assumption would require assuming a priori that such a concept was his point in the first place, which isn’t implied in the text of Rom 9. The fact that Genesis 50 plainly says nothing about God authoring the brothers’ sin in His allowance of it is a matter of simply examining the biblical text.

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