Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Question for John Calvin

Calvin clearly understood his detractors' objections to the extreme and illogical position he had taken. Consider the questions they were asking, as reported to us by Calvin himself:

"Why should God blame men for the things the necessity of which he has imposed by his own predestination? What could they do? Could they struggle with his decrees? ... It is not just ... to punish them for things the principal cause of which is in the predestination of God." (Institutes III, xxiii, 6)

Does Calvin give a scriptural answer?


His answer is theological intimidation:

"This... is the scoffing language which profane tongues employ" (ibid)


Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Antonio, I suppose Paul was also “extreme and illogical” in your view.

“Consider the questions they were asking, as reported to us by Paul himself:”

Romans 9:18-20: “Therefore, He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?’ But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’”

“Does Paul give a scriptural answer?”


“His answer is theological intimidation”

Rom 9:20: “who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’”

October 13, 2005 12:43 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

It might be a bit much, but what about the rest of what Calvin said on this subject?

First, all must admit what Solomon says, "The Lord has made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil," (Pro 16: 4). Now, since the arrangement of all things is in the hand of God, since to him belongs the disposal of life and death, he arranges all things by his sovereign counsel, in such a way that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction. If any one alleges that no necessity is laid upon them by the providence of God, but rather that they are created by him in that condition, because he foresaw their future depravity, he says something, but does not say enough. Ancient writers, indeed, occasionally employ this solution, though with some degree of hesitation. The Schoolmen, again, rest in it as if it could not be gainsaid. I, for my part, am willing to admit, that mere prescience lays no necessity on the creatures; though some do not assent to this, but hold that it is itself the cause of things. But Valla, though otherwise not greatly skilled in sacred matters, seems to me to have taken a shrewder and more acute view, when he shows that the dispute is superfluous since life and death are acts of the divine will rather than of prescience. If God merely foresaw human events, and did not also arrange and dispose of them at his pleasure, there might be room for agitating the question, how far his foreknowledge amounts to necessity; but since he foresees the things which are to happen, simply because he has decreed that they are so to happen, it is vain to debate about prescience, while it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment.

Calvin in fact gives a Scriptural answer which you do not attempt to discuss.

October 25, 2005 6:25 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


A bunch of hoolabaloo and one prooftext (out of proverbs no less!)

November 03, 2005 1:05 PM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

"Does Calvin give a scriptural answer?


I supose God did not decree the Jews and Romans to kill Christ. I suppose He did not hold them accountable for their sin. I suppose everything is a mere cosmic accident.

November 04, 2005 6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you go so far as to say that Judas was doing God's will? What if the Jews accepted Christ - their faith would have been counted as righteousness, I suspect. Of course, God knew they wouldn't. Did God decree, then, that they would kill his Son? If yes, then God killed His Son.

Before creation, God knew that Christ's death would be necessary; I suspect, in space-time, there were no shortage of those willing to do the job. So, did God compell them? I don't think he needed to compell anyone-otherwise they, quite simply, would not be guilty.

October 18, 2006 2:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

compell => compel, oops-tired

October 18, 2006 2:45 AM  

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