Showing posts with label Calvinism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Calvinism. Show all posts

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The Divine Veto

Lately I’ve been wondering how much latitude God gives his servants in choosing how they go about doing his work. If you read either Testament carefully, it seems like it could be an awful lot.

Now, bear in mind that from John Calvin’s perspective, it is really God doing everything that is done in the universe. I don’t think he ever used the word “pawn” (which might have been the most honest way to describe how he thought God treats his creatures), but in effect he taught that sentient beings, good or bad, cannot really act contrary to the will of God. God’s determinate counsel initiates and controls every transaction in the universe — “all events whatsoever”, as Calvin put it.

I’m not operating on that wavelength at all, so disciples of Mr. Calvin may want to take a pass on the following musings.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sovereignty in Action

Our Calvinist friends tell us God is sovereign, and I would be the last to disagree with them. Of course, we define “sovereignty” a little differently.

I think it’s possible to believe that God is King of Everything without believing he personally ordains every act that takes place within his kingdom. John Calvin, on the other hand, was convinced that “all events whatsoever are governed by the secret counsel of God” and that “nothing happens without his counsel”. Words like counsel and government imply not just knowledge but personal direction.

But if God is behind every single event that takes place in the universe, then why do the scriptures constantly single out certain events to assure us that it was God who did them? I mean, he does EVERYTHING, right?

Monday, January 02, 2017

A Dangerously Clear Head

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

More Complicated Than It Appears

Cause and effect are not simple things.

Lots of people would really like them to be. Whether an effect is ultimately good, bad, or a little bit of both, they would like the question “Who did it?” to have a single, obvious answer.

John Calvin taught a deterministic view of the universe that remains exceedingly popular in Christian circles today — largely, I think, because of its simplicity. It reduced all causes to … God.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Redhead Returns

None of us knows God perfectly or understands him in every respect.

That statement will not come as a shock. To believe the human intellect capable of grasping the Infinite is ignorance and arrogance in near-equal measure. Theologians generally acknowledge this, and those who have seen God’s glory are frank in expressing it. Job said, “I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes”. Isaiah cried, “Woe is me! For I am lost”.

That said, John equates eternal life with knowing the true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. So while our knowledge of God may be incomplete, it is absolutely vital that the things we DO know about him are accurate.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Total Disappearing Act

The limitations of the Blogger platform became evident last week when the comments on IC’s post on the subject of Total Depravity started misbehaving.

Total Depravity ended like this:

I think we need a new term. “Total depravity” is a poor coinage, and terribly misleading, I think. I would opt for a biblical term instead. However, “dead” won’t do, unless we keep remembering that it’s a metaphor, not a total reality. The danger is that we will take that metaphor farther than the Bible takes it — which is an error comparable to adding or subtracting from scripture.

after which IC and Qman got into a lengthy exchange that Blogger truncated for us around the seventh comment. The original post and previous comments may still be read at the link above, but further comments (if there are any) may be made here.

For convenience, here are the portions of the exchange that are missing:

Monday, February 09, 2015

By Special Request

Stephen Fry’s little burrowing friend ...
Probably to his regret, in the process of trashing the Christian God comedian Stephen Fry ran into the logic buzzsaw that is libertarian Vox Day.

Fry was doing an interview for an Irish television show called The Meaning of Life. When asked if he thought he would get to heaven (Irish interview shows apparently ask more intelligent questions than their American counterparts), he decided to pontificate on the character of God.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Inbox: Unreceptive Hearts

Qman comments on Spiritual Treachery:
“The most obvious reasons are that, being omniscient, both the Father and the Lord Jesus are well aware when men and women have receptive hearts and when they don’t, and they tend not to entrust valuable truth to those who care nothing about it.”

With regard to the above point, I have not yet seen you deal with the argument below (maybe I missed it) which is a typical, but fairly valid, response to the above from the Ag[nostic]/Atheist crowd. I think IC may have dealt with it in a different forum but I forgot.”

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This Explains Why the People I Work With Are Frequently Nicer Than I Am …

The Sword takes up the subject of total depravity reasonably and biblically:
“… to suggest that there is no trace of anything good left in man at all is to contradict the Bible. The Bible teaches that we were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). That isn’t a reference to our physical appearance, but to a variety of spiritual, moral, emotional, and intellectual attributes. Whatever else it means, it means that we can think, reason, create, love, etc. If “total depravity” means that man is as depraved as possible in every way, then it would mean that the image of God has been utterly obliterated and that an unsaved man retains none of it. This is patently untrue. Unsaved men can think, reason, and create. Unsaved men can even love. Although diminished and corrupted, vestiges of the image of God remain. It is for this reason that the Holy Spirit can say through Peter that Christ “called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Pet 1:3).
Read the whole thing here, including disclaimer.

And especially “The disclaimer disclaimer”.