Excellent Article by *Former* Calvinist Dr. Kyle Roberts

You can find the article at SEA.  Below is an excerpt pertaining to God’s permissive will and foreknowledge ,

There is an important theological consideration here that should be made explicit. Many Arminian-leaning theologians who have been existentially and theologically disturbed by the problem of evil and suffering have felt it necessary to deny God’s foreknowledge of future events in order to maintain genuine freedom and to absolve God of responsibility for the world’s suffering. Both Fretheim and Polkinghorne, for example, are “open theists” who hold that a truly open future implies that there can be (logically speaking) no prior knowledge of it—even by God.

But it’s not necessary to take this route. A classical Arminian can counter that God’s foreknowledge of the future doesn’t imply causality of it. Just because God may have known what is going to happen doesn’t necessitate that he caused, determined, or ordained it. There is no necessary causal link between foreknowledge of an event and the event itself. Of course, one can still ask why, if God knew, didn’t he intervene? Assuming God knew that Japan was going to be engulfed, couldn’t he have intervened? Why then didn’t he? Or on a grander scale, if God knew that the world he would create would contain tsunamis and earthquakes, why didn’t he take a different approach? Why not put limits on natural suffering more than he apparently has?

Surely at one level we can grant that God could have intervened. Indeed, who knows how often—and in what manner—God does intervene? Perhaps he could have miraculously prevented the earthquake in the first place or suppressed the waters afterward. But would he do this every time? If so, why? On what basis would we expect these judgments to be made? By what criterion? That God would never allow us to experience difficulty and tragedy and death? That would certainly be a very different world than the one we currently inhabit. Our hope lies in God’s promise to restore, renew, or altogether recreate this world when he brings about the next. But it is reasonable to suppose that our present world, with its embedded freedom, mystery, and tragedy, provides occasions for faith in God, hope in his promises, and love for those he has created.

It is prudent to acknowledge the fact that the world we live in is at once dangerous and mysterious, beautiful and tragic. But we don’t have to suppose, even in principle—and even if we are careful about not supplying divine motivations or intentions—that there is a particular, “meticulous” divine purpose for each and every tragedy. They are part of the world we live in. It’s a beautiful world, but it’s also a broken and fallen world, one that awaits its final liberation.

 Dr Kyle Roberts: Tsunamis Or Why I’m No Longer a Calvinist

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