Thoughts On Calvin …

In a remote corner of the cosmos, God sent Jesus the Christ for the redemption of mankind. And though this all unfolded far from human eyes, it was necessary so that God would be able to allow himself to save those he felt like saving, and damn those he felt like damning; as no person’s actions sway God about a person’s eternal destination at all. All of this, unbeknownst to mankind so that the Gospel is this: you may be screwed, or you may not. Whether you believe or even know this or that doesn’t matter, since this implies man has something to do with his salvation, and certainly that’s not the case!

But being that God is omnipotent and since it isn’t logically impossible to do, God never sent Jesus if predestination entails to making humanity acceptable to Himself since He can simply forgive sins full stop. We know Jesus existed, and if sent for a purpose, it necessarily is because men have the ability to accept and resist the grace of God (if by “grace” one means something other than “the goodness in the world man is drawn to”). The Calvinist is perfectly fine, after all, to assert man’s obliviousness to either goodness or evil; though for some reason he’d want to damn the human animal but not the lion, the wolf, the butterfly.

All of this entails a dilemma however. Jesus must matter and human free will must matter and in some way, the Calvinist must adjust his sails. If not, there’s no reason for Jesus at all and there can’t be any teleological reason human beings exist at all, for God could have merely created his desired end having no need for a “middle” at all. And, there can’t be any glory in a “middle” that is utterly existent for the fact that God literally must damn some to Hell. After all, we all perfectly understand that the ends don’t justify the “middles” (and if the only reason we know this is because God is why we recognize this “good”, then no rational person would assert a “middle” is necessary)! And in the very same thought, we also know that neither the idea of property nor power makes any action or decision moral. 

So, since predestination and foreknowledge have nothing to do with each other, and since Jesus existed but cannot be necessary to a predetermining God, God cannot be predetermining because the life and death and “afterlife” of Jesus actually is necessary.

It becomes clear too that again, because an omnipotent God can do all things logically possible, and since it is logically possible for God to forgive simply full stop, Jesus is not necessary to God for forgiveness, but for people; and this also necessarily relies on the “natural ability” of man.

No Church father prior to the Manichean Augustine believed in total depravity nor in the irresistible “grace” (defined otherwise than as I have defined previously) of God. Instead, in the discovery and reclaiming of a “glass less darkly” as it were, through the life and death of Jesus and in his “afterlife” that is “resurrected” as we “live through him” — which is to live as he lived, seeking to understand why he lived that way. The natural ability of man was never diminished in the otherwise whole of Christendom.

The fact is, Jesus existed among men in plain view in order for mankind to respond in a very genuine, human way. One way was to kill him and what he represented. Another is to pick up where he left off, living as he lived, faithful to what he represented.

Except that Calvinism is popular in Churches, I am otherwise pleased at the very large extent it is rejected in Theology, a marginal blip on its radar and even in popular, Western Christianity, being abandoned as irrelevant and immoral; the very reasons Theologians in general reject it.

Just a thought.

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19 thoughts on “Thoughts On Calvin …

  1. Steven Hoyt says:

    sorry … that was supposed to have been a question mark, not an exclamation. small phone, fat fingers.

  2. Jamie Carter says:

    Just because a teaching isn’t enduring, it doesn’t mean that it can’t do a lot of damage. Calvinism has been around roughly five hundred years, Augustine died roughly a thousand years before-hand, making the foundation of Calvinism present in Christian teaching for the last one thousand five hundred years – almost as long as Christianity itself! Augustine mainly concerned himself with fighting various groups of heretics – Arians, Donatists, Manichaeans, and Pelagians; just as Calvin saw Catholic and other Reformers are equally heretic groups. Both of them convinced themselves that they had the right understanding of Scripture and represent a failure to listen or to be open to other interpretations. It’s that hardening that opened the door to people hurting others in various ways.

    • Steven Hoyt says:

      How long an idea has been around only indicates how long it’s been around. And while I appreciate your historical commentary, it obviously strikes me as non sequitur. Exactly what do you take my point to have been!

      • Jamie Carter says:

        You’re not a fan of Calvinism?

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        correct, but that’s hardly the point.

      • Jamie Carter says:

        You asked for a point, and now criticize me for finding one you didn’t realize you made. Next time be more specific about which points not to take.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        no. i didn’t ask for any point. i asked what you thought my point was. whether or not i like calvin has nothing to do with anything i wrote.

        in light of that, what do you think my point was, given only two sentences suggest i’m happy it’s dying out and a couple hundred others talking about something else entirely, about which you yet to get.

      • Jamie Carter says:

        To be honest, I didn’t get that much out of it. It was more like:
        blah, blah, blah, I don’t like Calvinism, blah, blah …
        Then again, I pretty much skimmed over it, too. Calvinism/Doctrines of Grace/Systematic Theology is so much information overload that I usually get confused by it before I even begin. It’s a theology that doesn’t know how to be succinct and never uses ten words when thirty will do.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        right. don’t you think it’s a bit arrogant to jump in with commenting while literally having no idea what you’re commenting on, by your own admission? why would you then expect others do more than see you as having said no more than “blah, blah, blah, i have an opinion”?

      • Jamie Carter says:

        Nope, not really. I’d been taught to think of arrogance as pride dialed up to ten, an inability to admit being wrong. Nine times out of ten, people are usually all too happy to explain to me their point was and how they got to it – I learn by being a devil’s advocate and through debate. I often don’t learn the other way around where I have to find a moral to the story because it’s backwards to me.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        LOL. so really, the only question is whether or not the spoon need be silver, the one i feed you with? you are literally owning being lazy and illiterate and possibly slow?

        you’re a peach.

        why’d you comment, really?

      • Jamie Carter says:

        Such a kind and Christian attitude there, friend, you overwhelm me.
        I don’t know, as my friend might say – felt the Spirit move me. Apparently the Spirit didn’t feel it necessary to enlighten me as to why in the process.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        so, you have no idea why you commented and won’t own anything, and in fact, want to project the incivility on me … is that about right?

      • Jamie Carter says:

        When you put it that way, no. I was a little confused, and now I’m befuddled.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        sort it out then maybe, then perhaps strike up a conversation, eh.

      • Jamie Carter says:

        I read it again … and I think you’re missing a note or two on Calvinism. Somewhere you talk about a “middle” and say that human free will must matter – Calvinism’s Sovereign God doesn’t allow for any true free will: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/is-god-sovereign-over-my-free-will

        “Jesus takes that truth and generalizes it to all of us and says in this very verse: “No one” — not just Judas — “can come to me unless it is granted” — unless the decisive coming is granted — “by the Father.” No one has the power of ultimate self-determination to get themselves to God. God gives or withholds the power to come.”

        John Piper believes that God grants us free will in deciding whether to make a right turn or a left turn or to not turn at all when we’re driving on the roads and in other smaller matters of life, but in the big life decisions – we’re playing out the script God prepared for us long before we were born. Jesus then, becomes the medium through which God saves the elect. Calvinism’s sovereign God is chiefly concerned with his own glory, saving those whom he chooses to save because it glorifies him to do so, damning those whom he chooses to damn because it glorifies him to so do.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        james, the fact that calvinism doesn’t entail free will is why i said existence (what the “middle” is) doesn’t matter; god could skip it entirely and just create those who he wanted “saved”.

        john piper is far from being a logical thinker on the point and as you’ve quoted him here, it’s hard to say he’s articulating an idea of calvin or even being coherent at all.

      • Jamie Carter says:

        Calvinists see all existence as a means to an ends, the ends being for God’s own glory and that the ends always justifies the means.
        John Piper has made quite a few controversial statements in his time, even so, he’s a prominent teacher in their camp. Some of their other teachers like R.C. Sproul make the same point: “I don’t see any problem in reconciling the sovereignty of God with man’s free will as long as we understand the biblical concept of freedom. With respect to mankind, human beings are given the ability to make free choices, but our freedom is a limited freedom. We are not absolutely free.” from: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/qas/how-do-we-reconcile-fact-god-sovereign-fact-he-has/
        So it seems modern Calvinism is an evolved Calvinism that shares many of the same basic teachings, only improved upon with centuries of thinking making their own mark and adding alterations.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        jamie, i can’t believe i’ve written so horribly that you or anyone could be so oblivious.

        follow along please:

        1) we exist.
        2) there must be a point to existing.
        3) existence isn’t necessary if predestination is true, since god could simply create “saved” beings.
        4) therefore, if predestination is true, we exist solely in order for god to damn people he chooses to.
        5) since might does not make right, and
        6) since beings cannot be owned,
        7) god cannot be glorified if predestination is true because there is nothing glorious about immorality, which predestination clearly implies about god.

        slow down and take your time reading what i wrote.

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