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Calvinism revisited and free will superiority, Part 3

October 12, 2010

Recently I did some commentary on an article that appeared in The Economist. My main problem was that they glanced over theology and were so eager to reveal statistical divisions and the flexible nature of American Christianity.

Part 1 can be found here. Part two is here.

I have been thinking a bit since I last posted on American Christianity. I don’t think I dealt with free will as well as I should. I was browsing my library late around midnight the other day and came across a book I had forgotten about. The book is called Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer, revised by John F. Walvoord, 1974 Dallas Theological Seminary.  It sparked some thoughts I felt needed to be addressed within my commentary upon Calvinism. I flipped randomly and immediately I landed upon page 234 section C – Defense of the Doctrine of Election. In some ways the substance of Calvinist arguments are silently admitted to within my previous writing parts, although not explicitly mentioned as Calvinist-centric. I mentioned the need for God to ultimately take into account the human component of free will. Calvinists do accept free will of choice of man to determine himself elect or not. The book also lists some problems with free will of man and that of Gods will. Calvinists essentially believe that prior to our creation, and thus our ability to have  any choice at all, the purpose of God was that a specific elect shall come to know Him and His love. The question is of course, if this is so, who’s free will is superior? Why is a sovereign and complete purpose of God not wholly dependent upon Himself, but the will of His creation, which is outside of Himself and thus does not share the same characteristics? Does the dependency on human free will diminish God’s sovereignty? I do not see any contradictory notion within the logic of Scripture that would eliminate God’s sovereignty if the free will of man is taken into consideration as a determining factor for His purpose of salvation.

There is God’s will and our will. In Genesis, we see the creation of free will, it consisted of an original will of which was being followed, and then a choice that helps determine for yourself, if you live for Gods will or your own will. Actions present influence to all, and thus original sin or the choice exorcised by Adam and Eve has influenced mankind ever since. This influence as well as God compete for our choice and then ultimately produces an action based on that influence. God does not become subordinate by free will but rather either accepted or denied. From atheism to satanism, the idea of eliminating God as a source of will is a deep intellectual tradition coming out of the Age of Enlightenment if trying to place it in a modern context. It is the idea of a perfectible man, without need for God’s will, it is mankind’s faculties through rationalism and the social sciences that the human condition is to be diagnosed and fixed. Forming a new man from the old, education is key yet the Enlightenment eliminates the truths of will by God. It eliminates God as an influence and feeds upon the intellectual stimuli created by man to build humanity, molding the true human will, which will manifest choice and then action. To say  there is no permanent human condition, or that it is indeed changeable as the Enlightenment declares, is to create a type of god on earth called intellectual rationalism. This molds hearts and minds not towards something outside of themselves but is wholly built upon human ideals and values which humanity itself becomes a type of god. This would be called humanism. This is the same process used by the original ancestors of the human race when choice was implemented. Adam and Eve used intellectual rationalism, by an influence that was antithetical to God. The choice brought action and thus immense influence of humanism than originally implemented. Instead of established law and order built upon Christ (or what is God’s revelation to mankind) and righteous action to form a change. The enlightenment decided that mankind can bring about change, in which humanity becomes like God, and thus can change the very nature of man.

If what I describe is Calvinism, then I suppose I am a Calvinist, however in this light I would be Baptist as well. This is why I like to consider doctrine not based on denomination but whether it is Biblical or not.

  1. October 19, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    thanks for sharing the info.that is interesting.

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