So I’m talking with another Christian on here and I mentioned that I believe Calvinism causes many problems when it comes to God’s omni-benevolence. “Omni-benevolence,” He says; “I’ve never heard that one. Care to explain and back it up with Scripture.” I was pretty taken aback. I mean, the man’s a pastor, and I have to explain and back up God’s goodness? When I tell him omnibenevolent simply means that God is all-good like God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, he told me that my theology is new and has many problems. I’m sorry. Am I crazy? Is this theodicy thing new? I thought it was widely considered fact in most circles of Christianity that God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good. That’s why we have Calvinism in the first place is it not? Calvinism itself is a theodicy, yes? The basis of Calvinism is that God is all the things I mentioned, but it does not seek to reconcile them with free will, but with predestination, total depravity, and irresistible grace. The term and theological idea of Calvinism came from John Calvin’s personal apologia and defense of his personal faith statement.
My understanding of Calvinism, in essentials, is this:
- God created man.
- Man sinned.
- All men are completely depraved.
- God chose who will and will not be saved. (Unconditional Election)
- Salvation comes only from God and there is nothing we can do to ask for it or resist it. (Irresistible Grace)
- Only for the chosen did Jesus die. (Limited Atonement)
- Once saved always saved. (Perseverance of Saints)
- God is sovereign over Everything
This means that God created some people knowing (omniscience) that they would not have any other choice or path but than to go to hell. Not putting the choice of choosing to except or reject God’s grace and thus escape hell, put’s the responsibility on God rather than on us for our damnation. A Calvinist would say that God is good and gracious because God chooses to create us at all, though we disgust God. Perhaps they would even say (as the preacher in a video the website provided said) that we have no right to ask how a good God could send us to Hell without first giving us the chance to repent, because God is so thoroughly repulsed by us in our complete depravity.
Basically, Calvin answered why does evil exist with: because we are a disgusting and completely depraved creation and that has no bearing on our creator’s character because we had free will when we sinned the first time. But what I don’t understand is nothing is outside of God’s sovereignty, which means that nothing happens without God making it happen. Not allowing, because free will is muddled in this theology, but making it happen. Theologically this would place us back into an Old Testament kind of God. God created, designed, and caused the Iraq War, Holocaust, Katrina, etc, etc. And further back than that, we had no choice but to sin originally. Thus, the whole reason we are depraved is because God caused us to be in the first place.
I’m not really sure I can understand the very subtle difference between making it happen and allowing it to happen as it can only happen. To try and do the idea justice, I’m going to quote Pastor Timothy Hammons: “God doesn’t cause men to sin, even when He decrees that they will sin. We sin because we freely choose to do so, in fact, that is all we can choose to do, it is only when we have become born again that we are free NOT to sin. God is not causing fallen mankind to sin, just allowing them to be what they are.”
Anyway, yes, I have a problem with Calvinism. No, that’s not a radical new theology. Yes, other Christians don’t believe in Calvinism, and no not all reject it. I’m not trolling, just saying I agree that Calvinism causes many problems in trying to believe that God is good.
Can someone Please explain to me what part of this theology is new?? Is God’s goodness no longer a “tenable position?”
We’re continuing the discussion here: Is God Omnibenevolent?