Calvinist (Bad Logic) Comment #9: Cause vs. Allow: What's The Difference?

9.  When it comes to the idea of God preplanning (predestining) everything that happens, Calvinists love to accuse non-Calvinists of being in the same boat as them.

They'll say, "Well, you believe that God is omniscient, right?  That He knew everything that would happen, right?  And so since He didn't stop the bad things even though He knew they'd happen, then you also have to believe that God 'ordained' these bad things to happen, unless you are going to deny His omniscience.  If, in His omniscience, He knew it would happen and didn’t stop it, it’s the same thing as wanting it to happen and planning it to happen, right!?!  Besides, what's the difference whether God planned the bad things to happen or simply knew the bad things would happen but didn't stop them?  Due to His omniscience, the end results are still the same.  So we are in the same boat, essentially believing the same thing!"

But I say … Nonsense and hogwash!

And notice how they accuse you of denying God’s omniscience if you don’t see things their way!  Calvinists classically resort to “Well, Calvinism is the Gospel!  And so if you disagree with Calvinism, it’s because you don’t like Truth and can’t stand the idea of God being sovereign over all.”

(Really!?!  Because I thought that if I disagreed with Calvinism it was because Calvi-god caused me to disagree with Calvinism, for his glory!  I thought that he causes everything that happens for his glory, and that me disagreeing with Calvinism is as equally glorifying to him as you agreeing with Calvinism.  So we are both doing exactly what Calvi-god wanted/preplanned/caused us to do, for his glory!  So, yeah, I guess you're right ... we are in the same boat!)

A comment someone made at Soteriology 101:  “If God destines something to an end or permits it and sustains it to the same end, what is the difference?”

My reply:  
What’s the difference between a God who allows someone to make their own decision to rape and kill, and who punishes them for their choice … and a God who causes someone to rape and kill, with no option to do anything different, but who then punishes that person for raping and killing?

What’s the difference between a God who genuinely offers salvation to all people, who lets us make our choice about if we want Him in our lives or not, and allows us to face the consequences of our choice … and a God who predestines our eternities and choices, who causes unbelievers to be unbelievers, who never gives unbelievers a chance to seek/find Him or to find salvation, and who then punishes unbelievers in hell for being the unbelievers He caused them to be?

If you can’t see a difference, what does that say about your view of God and the Gospel?  Either that, or you’re just not thinking about it carefully enough.

On a slightly different note, focusing on the elect’s response to the “offer” of salvation, a dogmatic Calvinist says this:  “The offer becomes irresistible to the elect because even though there could be a possibility for them to resist for a time using the will, but the final end result is that the Elect cannot really resist.”

My reply:  
“Does this make sense to anyone?  The elect can resist, but not really!?!  The “irresistible” offer is resistible for a time, but not really!?!

The more Calvinists try to defend their theology, the more nonsense they come up with that they need to defend!  The only way out of that ever-deepening hole is to toss out the Calvinism, take off the Calvinist glasses, and read the Word, as it was written, in context, as God intended it.”

TS00 (a fellow anti-Calvinist whose comments I love) says this:  

“Just in case anyone missed the obvious reasons Calvinists need to smuggle human autonomy into their belief system when no one is looking, I thought I would spell out the most obvious one: because their system does not hold up under actual reality.

The so-called ‘elect’ can and do resist God’s call upon them at various times. They may resist his call and continue to live in sin for years before becoming saved.  Or they may continue to dabble in their favorite sins, despite the obvious fact that God would prefer that his elect not sin.

As much as Calvinists like to claim that God ordains and predetermines whatsoever comes to pass, they don’t much like to get into the details.  Like, why God predetermined this elect pastor to cheat on his elect wife, or that elect parent’s child to get cancer, or some elect child’s father to sexually abuse her.  It gets pretty dicey when it comes to specifically spelling out the horrific sins and crimes God supposedly ordained and predetermined to come to pass.

‘Well, non-Calvinists have the same problem’, Calvinists claim, ‘as they also have to answer for why God allows evil to happen.’  While I admit that I hate the evil that happens in this world, and I often weep and wail to God over it, there is an enormous difference between God merely permitting men to reject his will (to do that which he does not will, which is evil) and God deliberately predetermining that man must irresistibly perform said evil acts.

A great, big, enormous, immeasurable difference.

One scenario leaves God innocent of evil-doing, while allowing men the freedom to make their own choices, even when they lead to really bad things happening. Things which God would never desire for them to choose. The other scenario has God planning, ordaining, and ensuring that evil comes into existence, long before the individual who will irresistibly perform it even exists. Whatever ‘means’ the Calvinist asserts his god uses to bring evil to pass, it still sprung from Calvi-god’s mind, his will and his predetermination, like whatsoever comes to pass must, under Calvinism, unfailingly do.

Calvinists do not like to face this unpleasant reality.  Even less do they like admitting it to others.  They will turn on a dime from proclaiming God’s sovereignty and control of all people and events to suggesting that man has the freedom to pursue his own desires, making him, supposedly, the source of evil.  But what is it that men are really choosing?  Do they have the freedom to resist doing the evil that God has preordained in eternity past?

Can they reprobate repent of wickedness and live a life of righteous obedience?  No and no.

Under Calvinism, all things – and ‘all’ means ‘all’ – are predetermined, not merely foreknown, by God.  This is the key distinction between Calvinist and most other believers, who acknowledge that God foreknows, but does not irresistibly bring to pass sin and evil.  Most Calvinists do not have the stomach to face this reality, or if they do, they know that most people in the pews do not.  As my former Calvinist pastor, who claimed to unflinchingly preach whatever scripture says, said to me: ‘If I said that from the pulpit everyone would leave’.  There are very, very few Calvinist pastors who will teach what their theology genuinely demands, because they know that everyone would reject such a God, them and their church.”

[My note: I agree with TS00 on Calvinist pastors hiding what they really believe.  Our new pastor- a dogmatic Calvinist - was very careful to slowly, bit by bit, drip his Calvinism into sermons over the course of years, making sure to never use the word "Calvinism."]

(For all the posts in this series, see the "Intro ..."  Or look for "'Calvinist Bad Logic' Series" in the labels on the side-bar.  Or find the whole series in one post, "When Calvinism's 'Bad Logic ' Traps Good Christians.")

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