Calvinism and the origin of evil

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Luke2427, Mar 16, 2011.

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  1. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    Both sides (Arminian and Calvinist) must abandon the issue at some stage to mystery.

    That we cannot fully understand this issue is clear.

    But we should seek to understand as much as God has revealed in his word.

    I contend that Arminians and those with nameless theologies abandon the matter to mystery too soon and fail to pursue it as far as God reveals it in Scripture.

    I further contend that Calvinists have adopted the fullest expression of what Scripture reveals on this subject of all known theologies. Keep in mind, however, that though Calvinists go further than Arminians in the Scriptures on this matter, that even Calvinists have to abandon the pursuit to mystery eventually.

    Calvinists do not believe that God DOES evil.

    In the sense that God is the "doer of a wicked thing" then God is most certainly NOT the Author of evil. God is NOT the doer of ANY wicked thing.

    But that Calvinists have understood from the Scriptures and proclaimed that God willed for evil to exist and arranged the world so that it would infallibly come to pass and that he decreed the existence of it for the most holy of purposes is undeniable.

    There is a real sense in which God is the CAUSE of evil, but only in an ULTIMATE or REMOTE sense.

    God has ordered the world in such a way that sin will come to pass. Sin does not exist ONLY by bare permission. It is permitted in the sense that God does not intervene and prevent it by his providence when it is time for it to come to pass. But it comes to pass, in part, because God decreed that it should come to pass and ordered the world so that it would come to pass.

    In that sense God is the REMOTE or ULTIMATE cause of sin but not the proximate or direct cause.

    This idea that God only PERMITS sin is inconsistent with Scripture and Calvinism.

    Edwards argues:
     
  2. Iconoclast

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  3. Van

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    I have encountered more than one person that claims to be a Hyper-Calvinist, and believes in exhaustive determinism, so to them, when the confession says whatsoever comes to pass, that means God ordained it, with ordained meaning predestined. Thus God causes rape, murder, you name the evil. Other Calvinists disavow this view, and start talking in riddles, secondary causes, and mumbo jumbo.

    Second, as I have said, natural calamity in the eyes of God is not evil, but when we are affected, from our view the calamity is evil because it is adverse to our expectations and desires. Just ask a survivor of the Tsunami in Japan.

    I believe God has subjected creation (mankind) to futility and futility includes stuff happening without meaning or purpose. But the absence of specific purpose does not require the absence of an over-arching purpose, to lead us to God as a refuge and rock.

    Next, consider the evil done by man. My view is God created man with autonomous ability, to choose life or death, to do wickedness, and this capacity for us to cause evil to happen to ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, and those we treat with malice is allowed by God because our autonomous ability is necessary for His purpose of creating us, to glorify God. When we repent, we glorify God. So I do not see this issue as a mystery at all.
     
    #3 Van, Mar 16, 2011
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  4. quantumfaith

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  5. SolaSaint

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    I like what you say. If we are all honest, the more we study the scriptures and the doctrines drawn from them, we must admit mystery. So then isn't it faith that pleases God? Isn't this the only way to please Him? Heb 11:6.
     
  6. quantumfaith

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  7. Crabtownboy

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    So far your quotes and statements are, to me, proving the opposite ... and I do not believe that God is evil or does evil.

    If God predestined it, how is he not the author of evil. If I decide I will drop a child at a zoo into a tiger pit and the tigers kill that child ... am I not responsible?

    Why would God do this? This is an argument for free will.



    Double speak. God is the cause, and you use the word ultimate. Ultimate is not remote. What in the world do your mean by remote. This looks like it is approaching a gnostic view of God.



    Another good statement for free will.

    Above you say God is the cause of evil, and here that God only permits sin. Which is it? I do not understand this seeming contridiction.

    Your quote from Edwards also contradicts the above statement.

    Also to me it is double speak to say, "God does not intervene and prevent it," i.e. evil, and then in the same paragraph say "God decreed it," i.e. evil.

    At the very least these statements and quotes make God our as a being of evil. I am very sorry to say that. But, you have, IMHO, destroyed your own position and have shows that free will is the only possibility of showing that God is loving and kind. He loves us enough to allow us to make our own choices and in making our own choices we fall short, we sin ... but he allows us to do so.

    I will think more on this. Very busy today and not much time to contemplate these ides more.
     
  8. quantumfaith

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    I think (and Luke will correct me if I am wrong) that Luke and others who hold to the degree of absolute determinism that explained in the OP do so because they see the essential and primary motivation of God being that "God is glorified" and His desire and need for creation to glorify him. Luke and I have, if memory serves me correctly, have had this discussion on previous occasions. I see the essential and primary motivation of God being His love for creation rather than the desire for being glorified. Both God's Love and His being glorified are definite realities but my question is: Which one is the essential motivator of all that He has done?

    1 Corinthians 10:31 (New International Version, ©2011)

    31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

    1 John 4:8 (New International Version, ©2011)

    8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
     
  9. Crabtownboy

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    Yes. I have read that some, perhaps all, I am not sure, say God preordained, predestined ... whatever you want to call it, sin and evil so that he would be glorified. To me this is an abomination of an idea as it indicates that God is egotistical and needs praise. I do not believe this at all! I totally agree with you on God and his creation.
     
  10. Luke2427

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    This is what that leads to:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vg-qgmJ7nzA
     
  11. quantumfaith

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  12. Luke2427

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    You missed the differentiation between proximate and remote cause.
     
  13. Crabtownboy

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    I would appreciate you explaining to me the difference. Thanks in advance.
     
  14. Luke2427

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    That is because you do not yet understand. I didn't for a very long time.

    It is a very complex issue but it is well within the grasp of those who want to understand it.

    He is the cause of evil BUT ONLY IN A REMOTE sense- not in the sense that he creates it because evil is not created.

    All that must happen for evil to exist is for good to vacate. It is much like the fact that darkness is not something that is created. It is nothing but the absence of light.

    God can predestine something to happen for an eternal end and that something be a tragedy in time but lead to glorious eternal purposes.

    If God's motive is good in organizing the world so that the evil will come to pass is good then God is not sinning. Sin is about motive. From the HEART evil comes.

    God can will for Christ to die, the greatest evil of all time, and God can arrange it so that he will kill him by the hands of wicked men whose motives are evil, but God's motive be glorious.

    Scripture is clear. God did just that.
    Acts 4:27-28 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place.


    Because without evil there can be no mercy, no grace, and no wrath. There can be no FULL display of the love and holiness of God without evil. There can be SOME display of it- but not a FULL display of it. He is worthy to display his attributes to the fullest and receive honor and praise for them.

    God displays his love in an evil world in a way that he could NEVER display it if evil never existed.

    There is no Lamb receiving the praises of multitudes which no man can number throughout the endless ages of eternity if there is no sin for which he could die.

    There is no "Amazing Grace" if there is no evil.

    There is no song of the redeemed that the angels cannot sing if there is no evil.

    Did you read Edwards on this? He explains it very clearly in my op.



    Now you need to calm down.

    There is nothing gnostic about it. And if you are going to make such a charge, please support it. Show the link between my comments and gnosticism.



    As long as your definition of free will recognizes that the ultimate reason there is sin in this world is because God willed that there be sin and decreed that it should come to pass- I have no problem with it.

    Free will is a real thing, btw, if it is understood to mean- the ability to do what you want to do.

    You are not reading thoroughly. I did no such thing. I NEVER said that God ONLY permits it. I said the dead level opposite.

    Please try to read the post more diligently.

    Why?


    No they do not. You just don't get it yet. Reread the Edwards quotes.

    Prove the logic of that remark. How is giving everyone a free will whereby the VAST MAJORITY of them will choose to spit in God's face and fry in hell for trillions of ages and then eternity beyond that without one second of rest nor one ounce of relief- how is that loving us so much?????
     
    #14 Luke2427, Mar 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2011
  15. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I agree with you and Sola on the Bottom Line being about FAITH. As a Calvinist & a Christian, I am inexplicably drawn to God's Sovereignty over all things. When we give Him the Glory, we must also give Him the Faith that it will all work out for Good & not Evil. Perhaps some will question it & say its too basic & naive but it is my own personal belief system. So Hebrews 11:6 is a splendid response in my view.

    Thank you Sola
     
  16. Luke2427

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    Take stacked dominoes for example.

    If I take my finger and directly thump one of them, I am the proximate cause of its fall.

    But if I thump the first one only, and the hundredth one falls, I am the remote or ULTIMATE cause of it's fall.

    The illustration breaks down theologically but the difference between the two is clear in the illustration.

    God arranged the world so that evil would inevitable come to pass much like you arrange the dominoes so that the hundredth will fall.

    But God did not thump the first domino. He simply made it so that it cannot stand without his assistance. When he removed his assistance it fell and caused the fall of many others.

    Did God knock over those dominoes? No. Did he arrange for them to fall? Yes. Is he the author of their fall? No. The domino that could not stand without his assistance is the author of the fall.

    Consider that there could be no evil unless God removed his assistance from the one who brought evil into this world.

    God removing his goodness results in the inevitable entrance of evil just as you turning off the light results in the inevitable entrance of darkness.

    God removed his goodness and restraining power from Lucifer BECAUSE God intended for evil to exist. It could not have existed otherwise. Why else would he have done it?

    If you hold a lopsided domino next to a line of stacked dominoes they CANNOT fall unless you remove your finger that holds it up. But the moment you remove you finger the domino will. You did not knock it over. You simply removed your power from it. No one can rightly blame you for being the proximate cause of the fall of the hundredth domino. But they can see that you designed it and intended it. That is remote cause.
     
  17. Van

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    Hi Luke2427

    "You missed the differentiation between proximate and remote cause."

    No, I disagreed with your view of them. Proximate refers in your view with the immediate cause. Say a tornado rips up a church building in Kansas. The natural laws that govern creation, such as earth wind and fire (heat from the sun) send calamity over the wise and the foolish. Thus the proximate cause for the tornado hitting that church, in the absence of specific revelation telling us God directed it at the church building to cause a specific calamity, is that creation has been subjected to futility. On the other hand, the remote cause is God's over-arching purpose of using our harsh environment to lead us to God as a Refuge and a Rock. So much for natural calamity.

    As for man-made evil, the proximate cause is the autonomous action of individuals and groups, but the remote cause is God allowing us to make autonomous choices for the purpose of us bringing glory to God. Needless to say, you may believe we cannot make autonomous choices, but that is what scripture says we do. Otherwise we must define choice as non-choice.

    So I did not miss it, I look at it differently.
     
    #17 Van, Mar 17, 2011
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  18. Crabtownboy

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    Luke, you ask me if I had read the Edwards quote. Yes I did. Several times.

    As I said in another post, I do not believe God would decree sin, pain and evil so he could be glorified. That seems a great perversion to me. There is no love in decreeing sin, evil and pain. I do not believe God is so self-centered and selfish as to do that which Edwards says.

    Have you noticed how many negative words Edwards uses in this quote.

    Again this is making God out to be selfish, egotistical being.

    So, to be happy I must be miserable. This is not only illogical it is a perversion of God’s message of being a God of love. Do you, as a father ... if you are one ... deliberately inflict pain on your child so they can see how merciful you are when you treat their pain? You are convincing me more and more that Calvin is totally wrong.
     
  19. quantumfaith

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Luke, you are correct, there is no understanding.

    Understanding sometimes only comes thru illumination. It took me years to break out of Catholism principally because I THOUGHT something or another. Then when I was (and I wont say Arminian because I was only 3/4 there) I AGAIN THOUGHT. And even as a Calvinist I STRUGGLE WITH. So people aren't going to accept & flip because you EXPLAIN IT THUS. 1st there is FAITH there is understanding that comes like the fall of a gentle rain, it comes thru the HS as Paul received it, as Whitfield received it, as Wesly received it. So my point is that you can not force it my Brother. Put emotions to the side & keep educating yourself but always be open to the Spirit. Please be a Champion for Christ Vs a stumbling block for the brethren.
     
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