Does Arminianism Make God the Author of Sin?

For some excellent observations concerning the differences between the Calvinist and Arminain view, see Billy Birch’s recent post, Libertarian Freedom in a Post-Fall State (Part 2).

I plan to post more on this subject in the near future as it is becoming increasingly popular for Calvinists to argue that the Arminian position falls to its own objection in claiming that Calvinism makes God the author of sin.

2 thoughts on “Does Arminianism Make God the Author of Sin?

  1. Interesting stuff—even Luther claims the Calvinistic view of determinism makes God the author of sin. See: for example since I need time to look up some references from the Book of Concord. I don’t see how anyone could argue Arminianism makes God the author of sin. Keep up the good work.

  2. Hello Ben C,

    “Interesting stuff—even Luther claims the Calvinistic view of determinism makes God the author of sin.”

    Luther (and Calvin as well) unlike some modern proponents of theological determinism/exhaustive predeterminism of all events that occur in history, at least were honest about what their necessatarian view logically entails.

    Many modern necessatarians are not so honest and want us to believe two irreconcilable propositions simultaneously: (1) that God has predetermined **all** events; (2) that God is **not** the “author of sin”. The problem is that you cannot logically hold both propositions. The “author of sin” metaphor is one which none of us should have too much trouble understanding, especially those of us familiar with actors, screenwriters, etc.

    Imagine a human author who first conceives of say, a stage-play, then writes all of this down as a script. Actors are then selected who follow the script precisely in every detail (thus the initially conceived story is then executed on a stage in real time involving real actors and scenes). Say this play consists of only three characters and only three scenes. Well if the actors say each and every line exactly as conceived by the author of the play, and there are only three actors and three scenes, this would be perfect execution of the pre-written script. Now if part of this pre-written script involved the third scene and the third actor saying certain lines which the actor did say as was pre-written. We could not come along and say that the author is not the author of that third scene and the actions of that third actor: claiming that the author is not the author of that third scene as well as the actions of that third actor.

    But the calvinist comes alone, and he believes that the author wrote the one play with the three scenes and the three actors, he believes with no doubt or reservation that the author conceived of and then wrote down the script that calls for every detail of that play (with no exceptions). And he simultaneously wants us to believe that certain parts of the play were in fact not the prewritten story of the author! Well you can’t have it both ways: if He wrote that story, if he exhaustively predetermined every detail of history, with the three scenes three actors/with all of history, then everything that happens whether on the stage/or in history, is exactly what the author wanted to make up **his play**. The Calvinist cannot logically escape the charge that the one author conceived and executed every detail of his play, except for the parts that involve sin. If he determined every detail, then that includes the “scenes” that involve sin. To deny this is to become incoherent and dishonest.

    Significantly, some necessatarians are honest and fully embrace and understand what logically follows from their belief in exhaustive determinism (they are pejoratively called “hyper-Calvinists” by other more squeamish Calvinists who refuse to “bite the bullet” on their own system and beliefs). But these so-called “hyper-Calvinists” are not hyper at all, they are in fact **consistent Calvinists** (understanding that if he pre-wrote the entire play, and then carries out this play that he pre-wrote, then He is the **author** of every scene and moment in his own play, whether the actors in the scenes behave nicely or with evil (because in any and every case they do only what the author wanted them to be and do).

    “I don’t see how anyone could argue Arminianism makes God the author of sin. Keep up the good work.”

    With Arminians the story is significantly different than the necessitarian play. According to the Arminian, while God **foreknows every detail** of history, he did not ordain/predetermine every event of that history. The Arminian version of this “play” is more open and would look more like this: the author develops a story with some parameters and some things that He makes sure will occur in the story, but he also leaves some room for “improve” on the part of the actors (they are allowed to have and make choices about what words they will say and what actions they will perform as part of the story). While everything is foreknown, not everything is predetermined and pre-decided by God before any human choices are made or any humans make their own decisions. Instead in this “play” there is a **real interplay** between the author’s conception of the parameters as well as certain events that they want to see occur in the story, combined with the real and actual choices made by the actors as they improvise words and actions in the situations that they find themselves in.

    In Calvinism, the play is completely predetermined in every detail, so the author **alone** has and makes choices. In Arminianism, the play is not completely predetermined in every detail as both the author and the actors have and make choices and the resulting story that unfolds occurs as the interplay of these various choices. In one play it is all “fixed” with the actors having no choices, they just act out the pre-written script. In the other play, some things are “fixed” by the author, and some things are open, to be decided by the actors themselves. These are two very different conceptions of the play.


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