Calvinism is a combination of Theological Fatalism and Determinism, or is it?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    Calvinism is a combination of Theological Fatalism and Determinism, or is it?

    Several times I've seen calvinists on this board deny that Calvinism is fatalistic or state that claims made against the theology does not reflect their belief but instead reflects fatalism. While this may be the case, I have not seen any explanation as such. If it is the case it would seem that it is in their interests to make the distinctions known, since, imo, it is on the minds of most that would considering the theology.

    I'd like to offer this thread for them to make the case that Calvinism is not equal to or worse than Theological Fatalism. Regarding determinism, I don't think I've seen anyone deny that but, if there is a Calvinist that would make the case that it is not equal to or worse than determinism then that is welcome here as well. Hopefully we can come to a better understanding so that we can communicate efficiently, effectively and fairly.

    So, Calvinism is a combination of Theological Fatalism and Determinism, or is it?
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    Thomas Paul Simmons addressed this question in his 1935 book A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine. You can find it on line.
     
  3. Iconoclast

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    Loraine Boettner says it well here;
    http://www.the-highway.com/objections1_Boettner.html


    1. THAT IT IS FATALISM

    MUCH misunderstanding arises through confusing the Christian Doctrine of Predestination with the heathen doctrine of Fatalism. There is, in reality, only one point of agreement between the two, which is, that both assume the absolute certainty of all future events. The essential difference between them is that Fatalism has no place for a personal God. Predestination holds that events come to pass because an infinitely wise, powerful, and holy God has so appointed them. Fatalism holds that all events come to pass through the working of a blind, unintelligent, impersonal, non-moral force which cannot be distinguished from physical necessity, and which carries us helplessly within its grasp as a mighty river carries a piece of wood.

    Predestination teaches that from eternity God has had one unified plan or purpose which He is bringing to perfection through this world order of events. It holds that all of His decrees are rational determinations founded on sufficient reason, and that He has fixed one great goal “toward which the whole creation moves.” Predestination holds that the ends designed in this plan are, first, the glory of God; and second, the good of His people.


    On the other hand Fatalism excludes the idea of final causes. It snatches the reins of universal empire from the hands of infinite wisdom and love, and gives them into the hands of a blind necessity. It attributes the course of nature and the experiences of mankind to an unknown, irresistible force, against which it is vain to struggle and childish to repine.

    According to the doctrine of Predestination the freedom and responsibility of man are fully preserved. In the midst of certainty God has ordained human liberty. But Fatalism allows no power of choice, no self-determination. It makes the acts of man to be as utterly beyond his control as are the laws of nature. Fatalism, with its idea of irresistible, impersonal, abstract power, has no room for moral ideas, while Predestination makes these the rule of action for God and man. Fatalism has no place for and offers no incentives to religion, love, mercy, holiness, justice, or wisdom, while Predestination gives these the strongest conceivable basis. And lastly, Fatalism leads to skepticism and despair, while Predestination sets forth the glories of God and of His kingdom in all their splendor and gives an assurance which nothing can shake.

    Predestination therefore differs from Fatalism as much as the acts of a man differ from those of a machine, or as much as the unfailing love of the heavenly Father differs from the force of gravitation. “It reveals to us,” says Smith, “the glorious truth that our lives and our sensitive hearts are held, not in the iron cog-wheels of a vast and pitiless Fate, nor in the whirling loom of a crazy Chance, but in the almighty hands of an infinitely good and wise God.”1

    Calvin emphatically repudiated the charge that his doctrine was Fatalism. “Fate,” says he, “is a term given by the Stoics to their doctrine of necessity, which they had formed out of a labyrinth of contradictory reasonings; a doctrine calculated to call God Himself to order, and to set Him laws whereby to work. Predestination I define to be, according to the Holy Scriptures, that free and unfettered counsel of God by which He rules all mankind, and all men and things, and also all parts and particles of the world by His infinite wisdom and incomprehensible justice.” And again, “. . . had you but been willing to look into my books, you would have been convinced at once how offensive to me is the profane term fate; nay, you would have learned that this same abhorrent term was cast in the teeth of Augustine by his opponents.”2

    Luther says that the doctrine of Fatalism among the heathen is a proof that “the knowledge of Predestination and of the prescience of God, was no less left in the world than the notion of divinity itself.” In the history of philosophy Materialism has proven itself essentially fatalistic. Pantheism also has been strongly tinged with it.

    No man can be a consistent fatalist. For to be consistent be would have to reason something like this: “If I am to die today, it will do me no good to eat, for I shall die anyway. Nor do I need to eat if I am to live many years yet, for I shall live anyway. Therefore I will not eat.” Needless to say, if God has foreordained that a man shall live, He has also foreordained that he shall be kept from the suicidal folly of refusing to eat.

    “This doctrine,” says Hamilton, “is only superficially like the pagan ‘fate.’ The Christian is in the hands not of a cold, immutable determinism, but of a warm, loving heavenly Father, who loved us and gave His Son to die for us on Calvary! The Christian knows that ‘all things work together for good to them that love God, even to them that are called according to His purpose.’ The Christian can trust God because he knows He is all-wise, loving, just and holy. He sees the end from the beginning, so that there is no reason to become panicky when things seem to be going against us.”3

    Hence, only a person who has not examined this doctrine of Predestination, or one who is maliciously inclined, will rashly charge that it is Fatalism. There is no excuse for anyone making this mistake who knows what Predestination is and what Fatalism is.

    Since the universe is one systematized unit we must choose between Fatalism, which ultimately does away with mind and purpose, and this biblical doctrine of Predestination, which holds that God created all things, that His providence extends to all His works, and that while free Himself He has also provided that we shall be free within the limits of our natures. Instead of our doctrine of Predestination being the same with the heathen doctrine of Fatalism, it is its absolute opposite and only alternative.
     
  4. HeirofSalvation

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    The two responses thus far have demonstrated that neither your detractors...nor the ones they are citing...have any real clue what either word means, nor what their own Theology boils down to...it's rather humorous IMO.

    Here's one example:

    LOL...and when they can describe to us, how God's nature, is NOT, in fact, what it is by necessity...then this is mere trick of poetry and use of large words....Specifically, the one quoted here fools the masses by equivocating between Philosophical necessity, and Physical necessity....then again, no one demands that "human philosophy" be learned anymore...so, therefore the Cal overlords are easily capable of using it's tricks to confuse the masses....another obvious example of abuse here:


    LOl what a laugh...."human liberty"???? "Power of choice"??? "self-determination"??? Yeah....O.K.....Only those who have been slavishly forced to believe that "Human Philosophy" is not worth learning, will be fooled by its simple mis-use here. No wonder some Calvinists are often threatened to not allow themselves the freedom to learn "vain philosophy"...so that they might use it's tricks themselves so that the simple tithers will be be fooled so easily by such obvious category mistakes as this one. This one attempts to make the case that because the "determiner" is "personal" that all choices available are therefore somehow more signifigant than those made by a machine....Who cares????? The choices are made by a "person" or a "mind" in Philosophical parlance, yes, but this quoted fallacy pretends that because the determinitive force is personal that all actions made available to the subject are therefore "personal" and not "necessitated" or "Machina"....What an obvious lie.....
    I am indeed a "mind" and a "person"....but when I use the steering wheel and pedals of my car, I am still fatalistically controlling a machine possessed of no freedom of contrary choice whatsoever......These Calvinistic Papists are using such tricks of verbiage to equivocate and trick their unsuspecting victims. If one were permitted to learn "Vain Philosophy of corrupted minds" and what-not....then one wouldn't be fooled when their Calvinist overlords used such "Vain Philosophies" themselves in order to enslave their tithing masses.
     
    #4 HeirofSalvation, Sep 1, 2012
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  5. Mexdeaf

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    Since you seem bent on getting a philosophical answer and I am admittedly no philosopher, one of the greatest Calvinist minds of our day (in my opinion), Dr. R.C. Sproul, has his doctorate in Philosophy from the Free University of Amsterdam. You might check out his writings to answer your questions.

    Here is what he says about determinism- http://www.reformationtheology.com/2007/08/compatibilistic_determinism.php
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    Sadly methings "humble" thinking may not be the motive. No need to "Defend" such an error. Just use webster and be done is 15 seconds.

    Give you a chance. "Orange is really green. Or is it?" Assurdities. ;)
     
  7. humblethinker

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    Can anyone actually give an answer that is their own or at least in their own words? This is surprising.
     
  8. Mexdeaf

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    You want my own words to answer your question in the OP?

    "No."
     
  9. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Taken from Primitive Baptist Online

    Fatalism is the doctrine that all things, great and small, mental and material, were eternally and inexorably predetermined, by an external, arbitrary, irresistible fate, or destiny, or necessity, an endless and admantine chain of causes and effects, so that nothing, not even any thought, or feeling, or word, or action of any human being can, by any possibility, in the slightest respect, be different from what it is, and thus no man is really to blame for anything he does, because he cannot help it. The word fatalism is derived from fate, which is the Latin word fatum, meaning something spoken or declared by some intelligent being who has power to make his words good; and as the word fatum indicates, the doctrine at first implied the supreme and universal, yet un-moral government of God; but it afterwards came to mean a shadowy, undefined, mysterious, impersonal, unconscious, unintelligent power, even at times above the power of God. Fatalism annihilates the moral character and the moral government of God, and the moral nature of man, and the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, and reduces man to a mere involuntary, irresponsible machine or automation. No sane mind, whether heathen or Christian, has every fully believed it, or can believe it, in all its boldness and deformity; for by the very constitution of our moral nature, every man knows, as well as he knows his own existence, that he is a voluntary and accountable being; that he ought not to do many things that he does do, and that he ought to do many things that he does not do. All the laws, literatures, histories, and religious of mankind teem with demonstrations of this momentous and universal truth, which is inherent in the natural conscience of the human race (Rom. i-iii). The doctrine of fatalism is the rebellion of the carnal heart against this universal principle of our nature, seeking to excuse itself for its sinfulness by throwing the blame, the responsibility, upon the Creator (Gen. iii.12). But even nature teaches, and the Holy Spirit effectually impresses that teaching upon the inmost recesses of our being, that we alone are altogether accountable and blamable for our wrong-doings, and that our Holy Creator is not at all responsible for them, and that therefore we justly deserve condemnation and punishment at the hands of the Righteous Governor of the universe; and the Spirit of God further teaches us that it is only of His merest, His sovereign mercy, that we can be pardoned and saved from that everlasting ruin which our sins richly merit. Any doctrine that lessens the accountableness and blamelessness of man belittles and tarnishes the grace of God.
    __________________
     
  10. Tom Bryant

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    Here in my own non-Calvinistic words, "NO".
     
  11. SovereignMercy

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    Baptists believed in the doctrines of grace long before humanism and free will crept in. We are the true Baptists.

    1729 Goat Yard Declaration of Faith

    A Declaration of the Faith and Practice of the Church of Christ at Horsely-down,
    Under the Pastoral Care of Mr. John Gill, & c.

    Having been enabled, through divine grace, to give up ourselves to the Lord, and likewise to one another by the will of God; we account it a duty incumbent upon us to make a declaration of our faith and practice, to the honour of Christ, and the glory of his name; knowing, that as with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, so with the mouth confession is made unto salvation--our declaration is as follows:

    I.

    We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, and the only
    rule of faith and practice.

    II.
    We believe that there is but one only living and true God; that there are three Persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who are equal in nature, power, and glory; and that the Son and the Holy Ghost are as truly and as properly God as the Father.

    III.
    We believe that, before the world began, God did elect a certain number of men unto everlasting salvation, whom He did predestinate to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, of His own free grace, and according to the good pleasure of His will: and that, in pursuance of this gracious design, He did contrive and make a covenant of grace and peace with His Son Jesus Christ, on the behalf of those persons, wherein a Saviour was appointed, and all spiritual blessings provided for them; as also that their persons, with all their grace and glory, were put into the hands of Christ, and made His care and charge.

    IV.
    We believe that God created the first man, Adam, after His own image, and in His likeness; an upright, holy, and innocent creature, capable of serving and glorifying Him; but, he sinning, all his posterity sinned in him, and came short of the glory of God: the guilt of whose sin is imputed, and a corrupt nature derived, to all his offspring, descending from him by ordinary and natural generation: that they are by their first birth carnal and unclean, averse to all that is good, incapable of doing any and prone to every sin; and are also by nature children of wrath, and under a sentence of condemnation, and so are subject not only to a corporal death, and involved in a moral one, commonly called spiritual, but are also liable to an eternal death, as considered in the first Adam, fallen and sinners; from all which there is no deliverance but by Christ, the second Adam.

    V.
    We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, being set up from everlasting as the Mediator of the new covenant, and He, having engaged to be the surety of His people, did, in the fullness of time, really assume human nature, and not before, neither in whole nor in part; His human soul, being a creature, existed not from eternity, but was created and formed in His body by Him that forms the spirit of man within him, when that was conceived in the womb of the virgin; and so His human nature consists of a true body and a reasonable soul; both which, together, and at once, the Son of God assumed into union with his divine Person, when made of a woman, and not before; in which nature He really suffered and died as their substitute, in their room and stead, whereby He made all that satisfaction for their sins, which the law and justice of God could require, as well as made way for all those blessings, which are needful for them both for time and eternity.

    VI.
    We believe that that eternal redemption, which Christ has obtained, by the shedding of his blood, is special and particular, that is to say, that it was only intentionally designed for the elect of God, and sheep of Christ, who only share the special and peculiar blessings of it.

    VII.
    We believe that the justification of God's elect is only by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, without the consideration of any works of righteousness done by them; and that the full and free pardon of all their sins and transgressions, past, present, and to come, is only through the blood of Christ, according to the riches of His grace.

    VIII.
    We believe that the work of regeneration, conversion, sanctification, and faith, is not an act of man's free will and power, but of the mighty, efficacious, and irresistible grace of God.

    IX.
    We believe that all those who are chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sanctified by the Spirit, shall certainly and finally persevere, so that not one of them shall ever perish, but shall have everlasting life.

    X.
    We believe that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust; and that Christ will come a second time to judge both quick and dead, when He will take vengeance on the wicked, and introduce His own people into His kingdom and glory, where they shall be for ever with Him.

    XI.
    We believe that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Christ, to be continued until his second coming; and that the former is absolutely requisite to the latter; that is to say, that those only are to be admitted into the communion of the church, and to participate of all ordinances in it, who upon profession of their faith, have been baptized by immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

    XII.
    We also believe that singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, vocally, is an ordinance of the Gospel to be performed by believers; but that as to time, place, and manner, every one ought to be left to their liberty in using it.

    Now all, and each of these doctrines and ordinances, we look upon ourselves under the greatest obligations to embrace, maintain, and defend; believing it to be our duty to stand fast, in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel.

    And whereas we are very sensible, that our conversation, both in the world and in the church, ought to be as becometh the Gospel of Christ, we judge it our incumbent duty to walk in wisdom towards them that are without, to exercise a conscience void of offence towards God and men, by living soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

    And as to our regards to each other, in our church-communion, we esteem it our duty to walk with each other in all humility and brotherly love: to watch over each other's conversation; to stir up one another to love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as we have opportunity, to worship God according to his revealed will; and, when the case requires, to warn, rebuke, and admonish one another, according to the rules of the Gospel.

    Moreover, we think ourselves obliged to sympathize with each other, in all conditions, both inward and outward, which God, in his providence, may bring us into; as also to bear with one another's weaknesses, failings, and infirmities, and particularly to pray for one another, and that the Gospel and the ordinances thereof might be blessed to the edification and comfort of each other's souls, and for the gathering in of others to Christ, besides those who are already gathered--all which duties we desire to be found in the performance of, through the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit, whilst we both admire and adore the grace which has given us a place and a name in God's house, better than that of sons and daughters
     
  12. TCGreek

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    To your question, it is not.

    To suggest it is, is a caricature. Period.
     
  13. Iconoclast

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    You have posted correctly:thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  14. Bronconagurski

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    I am a Calvinist, but not a fatalist or determinist. I believe God predestined us according to His foreknowledge. He has the right to harden whom He will given the fact that He knows what the person will do with Christ. I believe that people can resist the Holy Spirit, or we would not have the command to quench not the Holy Spirit, nor the warnings in Hebrews against apostasy after being enlightened by the Spirit and seeing the results of salvation in other people. But I also believe were it not for the wooing of the Holy Spirit and the drawing of God the Father, no man would ever get saved. Once a man is truly saved, he will persevere to the end.
     
  15. Iconoclast

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    You said you wanted an answer and several were given. You have not offered any response . I do not think you can because the answers are very clear.

    Why do you want some answer in ......our own words......when very clear answers are offered.
    Is it because you like HOS...do not really want the answer as much as you really hope you can catch us....in our own words....so you can dispute .....our words????Hos misses the whole point of the quotes which answer the question in the original post....he picks out a couple of phrases....diverts the focus off the OP question...rambles about .....human philosophy, calvinist overlords,poetry, and anything else under the sun...to avoid whatever is offered. This constant disputing over words is what is vain indeed.
    He projects this vain disputing on the teachings that have come down from scripture.....
     
  16. HeirofSalvation

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    Those answers had little to do with Scripture, and they weren't particularly based upon Scripture. Neither could they be because "Fatalism" is something that you claim the Scriptures do not teach, and I would agree. If Cals object to being called "determinists" that's fine with me, I suppose I will try to forego calling them "determinists" if they want. But copying and pasting the answers you did from someone else is not really engaging the subject. I was pointing out that the "answers" you posted were themselves an example of "disputing over words". I was trying to expose that. "Fatalism" and "determinism" are not really Biblical words, Icon...so a disputation over their meaning is precisely what you posted.
     
    #16 HeirofSalvation, Sep 2, 2012
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  17. WITBOTL

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    I hesitate to weigh in but some "cal" theologians can correct me if I'm wrong.

    Simply put, isn't providence the primary difference between fatalism and biblical predestination. While fatalism claims the future is determined no matter what comes before; predestination claims that the future is determined by God providentially working all things after the counsel of his own will. Predestination then is not just a predetermined outcome but a theology that says ALL things are working in God's order under God's design for God's desired outcome. That includes God working in man both hardening and softening hearts (for example) for his purpose according to his will.

    Predestination is not just about outcome it is about the whole process (if you will)
     
  18. Iconoclast

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    That is what the op wanted...I am content to stick in the scripture.These terms areintroduced by those who oppose the scriptural teaching.I posted that several days ago...which led to the OP here.
    I cut and paste as often as i can...i type like a turtle...so it is easier.In person it would just be bible verses.....and my own words as Ht requests.
    I know many of these resources exist and use them.I believe they are very good. Not perfect ...but good for making us think.

    I get on your case about it....because sometimes it seems as if you want to obscure the overall intent of the writer,teacher.....so as to avoid the obvious implications. There have been times where you seem to make an honest effort to interact with the material offered. Those posts are more profitable, then when you go off in a psychotic rambling about calvinistic overlords...as if there is a big calvinistic conspiracy....
     
  19. HeirofSalvation

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    I imagine you have been told numerous times that non-cals are perpetually "avoiding" "clear teachings" and the "obvious implications" and you probably think that is the case yourself. This simply isn't true. I simply disagree with some of what you post....I honestly think the answers you supplied from Ms. Boettner were simply not good, and I think what she was doing was actually "OBSCURING" the issue. I simply thought they were bad answers. You think they were spot-on, I think they aren't, isn't that ok? You are mistaken.....Your personal beliefs likely seem painfully obvious to you and perhaps you fail to see how anyone could conceivably not "SEE" how "obvious and clear" they are. Trust me, they simply aren't that "clear" to many who disagree. Your "implications" are simply rarely as "obvious" to others as they are to you.

    Here's my over-all objection....and then I don't really care what Cals consider themselves....The insistence upon demonstrating that "Providence" and mind is at work in the Cal system as opposed to a mindless or necessitated "Fate" (from a "Pagan" perspective) is of no real existential signifigance to the end subject (namely a human) anyway. Regardless of whether their eternal "Fate" is necessitated by mindless forces, or whether, it is rather a mind which intentionally created them for the sole pleasure of torturing them in Hell is of no ultimate existential signifigance. The differences between the two may technically be correct, but the "obvious implications"----are that it doesn't really matter one whit anyway.
     
    #19 HeirofSalvation, Sep 2, 2012
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  20. Iconoclast

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    Boettner....although named Lorraine...is a man:laugh::laugh:https://www.google.com/search?q=pic...bO-eaiAKv3oDoDw&ved=0CCMQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=653

    hey, I did not name him:laugh:
    Catholics hate his book on RC teaching.
    You are correct in that what I see clearly ...simply put is fatalism is impersonal and random

    The biblical teaching is our Creator having a perfect plan, unfolding right on time, in which he in perfect fashion has every created thing, anywhere in the universe, under His complete control, with nothing left to chance.
    His purpose is unfolding in time exactly as He intends....it always has , it always will.
    man a fallen image bearer, some being restored , some not.
    Yet...all are responsible for their choices, which he allows them to have.
    The last statement in my post made this clear that the two are opposites.

    The quote was clear...I could multiply post after post, I just picked one.
    if people are set to resist it does not matter who or what is posted.
     
    #20 Iconoclast, Sep 2, 2012
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