Etikettarkiv | secret will

God does not have a secret will

Is God the author of sin? (Thanks to Britt Williams)

Some may be surprised to learn that Calvinism, by implication, actually makes God the Author of sin. Calvinism (also known as Reformed theology) advocates, among other things, an unscriptural and perverted view of the sovereignty of God, election, and the atonement. It asserts God, as sovereign Ruler of the Universe, either directly or indirectly causes all events, including sin?

”Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly DECREED.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVI)

”the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has DESTINED.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVI)

”God is the only proper author and fountain; we only are the proper actors”
Jonathan Edwards

”God controls not only natural events, but he also controls all human affairs and decisions”
Vincent Cheung (The Problem of Evil)

Calvinists also attribute the fall of Adam to God’s decree, teaching that God not only foreknew Adam would sin, but orchestrated it as well. John Calvin affirms this belief in the Institutes of Christian Religion

”God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure ARRANGED it.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, XXIII)

Some Calvinists teach that God is the originating cause of sin but not the proximate cause of sin. However, if Calvinists consistently follow their theology to its logical end, especially the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and predestination, they must attribute to God every act of sin, including murder, rape, sodomy, incest, child molestation, etc. Calvinists affirm the exhaustive foreknowledge of God, but hold to a determinist view of the future. They believe if the future is known then the future must be determined, thereby denying the possibility of libertarian free will and causing all moral choices, including sin.

”Thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVII)

”Whatever things are done wrongly and unjustly by man, these very things are the right and just works of God” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169)

”But where it is a matter of men’s counsels, wills, endeavours, and exertions, there is greater difficulty in seeing how the providence of God rules here too, so that nothing happens but by His assent and that men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.171-172)

”Does God work in the hearts of men, directing their plans and moving their wills this way and that, so that they do nothing but what He has ordained?” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.174)

”For the man who honestly and soberly reflects on these things, there can be no doubt that the will of God is the chief and principal cause of ALL THINGS” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.177)

”Everything is controlled by God?s secret purpose, and nothing can happen except by his knowledge and will” 
John Calvin (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Bk. 1, Ch. 16, Sect. 3)

”Since, therefore, God moves and does all in all, He necessarily moves and does all in Satan and the wicked man” 
Martin Luther (The Bondage of the Will, Sovereign Grace Publishers, p. 87)

Calvinist theologian James White, in a debate with Hank Hannegraaf and George Bryson, was asked,”When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape?” To which Mr. White replied…

”Yes, because if not then it’s meaningless and purposeless and though God knew it was going to happen he created without a purpose and God is responsible for the creation of despair. If [God] didn’t [decree child rape] then that rape is an (sic) element of meaningless evil that has no purpose”
James White.

Hence, since ultimately, all moral choices, past, present, and future, are subject to God’s sovereign dictate, all sin can be traced to God Himself. Some Calvinists, usually referred to as ”hard determinists” or ”hyper-Calvinists”, will readily admit this, while others often deny it or use theological and philosophical gymnastics (i.e., compatibilism) in an attempt to cloak the implications of their theology. As Vincent Cheung, a popular Calvinist apologist boldly declares?

”God controls everything that is and everything that happens. There is not one thing that happens that he has not actively decreed – not even a single thought in the mind of man. Since this is true, it follows that God has decreed the existence of evil, he has not merely permitted it, as if anything can originate and happen apart from his will and power”
Vincent Cheung (The Problem of Evil)

Ironically, Calvinists tend to theoretically believe concepts they deny in practice. If a child molester boldly proclaimed God caused him to molest little children, Calvinists would rightfully conclude he was a deluded liar and demon possessed. However, when the theologian essentially declares the same concept, they applaud him as orthodox. Such reasoning is not only inconsistent but absurd. According to Calvinists, God commands men to abstain from what He has decreed that they do, causes them to do, yea, in what they have absolutely no choice but to do, and then He utterly condemns them for doing it. This is not the God of the Scriptures.

Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers Job 8:20

James 1:13-17 clearly challenges the Calvinist concept of God as the Author of sin

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:13-17

If God, being holy, is above tempting men to do evil, who can dare believe He would cause them to do evil? And yet some Calvinists insist James 1:13 is misapplied when used metaphysically.

”James is pointing out what the Christian should consider and address in his struggles as a Christian; he is not dealing with metaphysics”
Vincent Cheung (The Author Of Sin)

Mr. Cheung, of course, is merely offering his biased opinion. We must realize that metaphysics can be very subjective, especially when applied through the presuppositions of our theological bents. In my estimation, James 1:13-17 holds significant and profound metaphysical relevance: ”God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”, offers me two ethical absolutes that undermine the doctrine of determinism as taught by Calvinists.

Indeed, God can, through His providence, turn what men meant for evil for good (Gen 50:20). Likewise, He can use the worst of situations to sovereignly chastise, teach, and conform His people to His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:28), but God never initiates, causes, or otherwise induces sin or evil. God is not the Author of sin. Yet, Calvinists teach that God, in His sovereign plan, introduced evil for His glory and did so ultimately to bring about ”good”. However, the Scriptures teach such a concept, for God or man, has never been part of true, Apostolic theology. In fact, such carnal reasoning is condemned as dangerous indeed. The Apostle Paul, inspired by God’s Spirit, declared…

And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. Romans 3:8

DID GOD CREATE EVIL?

Some Calvinists even assert God created evil. Calvinists often cite Isaiah 45:7 as a proof text for this false and blasphemous doctrine. Notice how the verse reads?

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:7

The evil spoken of in this verse is obviously not moral evil, but natural evil. The Hebrew word literally means ”calamity”, which is physical evil. Notice, the text in Isaiah 45:7 does not read, ”I make righteousness and create evil”. No, the evil spoken of here is contrasted with peace because the evil referred to is calamity. Likewise, there are other Scriptural references pointing to God bringing natural evil or calamity on a nation, city, or people as judgment for sin (Neh. 13:18; Jer. 21:10; 25:29; Amos 3:6). God hates evil (Prov 6:16-19; Isa 61:8; Jer 44:4; Am 5:21; 6:8; Heb 1:9; Rev 2:6, 15), therefore, it is illogical to suggest God is the Author of sin.

True, God created everything in the physical or material world. However, God did not create moral evil. Evil is not material, but volitional. It is a moral disposition of free moral agents and involves, by nature, choice. Thus, evil is merely the absence of conformity to God’s law in moral agents.

”…(even) Augustine maintained that evil was only ‘privatio boni’, or an absence of good, much like darkness is an absence of light. An evil thing can only be referred to as a negative form of a good thing, such as discord, injustice, and loss of life or of liberty.”
Wikipedia (Theodicy)

We cannot deny that God created the potential for evil by creating free-moral agents endowed with a free-will who have the ability to resist God and violate His law. Nevertheless, God did not create moral evil or disobedience. Thus, man, as a free moral agent choosing to reject God and disobey His law, is the source of moral evil (Mark 7:21-23).

CAN THE AUTHOR OF SIN BE EXEMPT FROM MORAL RESPONSIBILITY?

Calvinism, with its skewed view of the sovereignty of God, philosophically funnels everything back to God, even sin itself. Hence, ”God is the Author of sin” is an inescapable deduction of Reformed theology. However, the next logical step creates increased philosophical and moral tension: if God causes men to sin is He not then responsible and morally culpable? Not surprisingly, with conscience and reason raging, most Calvinists are uncomfortable making God a ”sinner”. Waxing irrational, some Calvinists cling to God as Author of sin while unashamedly attempting to blame man?

”Man is a responsible moral agent, though he is also divinely controlled; man is divinely controlled, though he is also a responsible moral agent.”
J.I. Packer

Mr. Packer’s statement is a glaring theological contradiction. How can God justly hold men accountable for sin He has, either directly or indirectly, decreed they commit?

Others employ theological and philosophical smoke and mirrors seeking to obscure, cloak, and explain away the obvious ethical problems such a hypothesis presents. Mr. Cheung, in his article ”The Author of Sin”, bluntly states?

”…if God directly causes you to sin, it does make him the ”author”of sin (at least in the sense that people usually use the expression), but the ”sinner” or ”wrong-doer” is still you. Since sin is the transgression of divine law, for God to be a sinner or wrong-doer in this case, he must decree a moral law that forbids himself to be the Author of sin, and then when he acts as the author of sin anyway, he becomes a sinner or wrong-doer.”
Vincent Cheung (The Author Of Sin)

It is absurd to suggest that God can be cosmically behind all sin and yet be expunged from all moral responsibility for sin. Can the turn-coat FBI agent who masterminds a spy ring actually expose, apprehend, indict, testify against, and help convict spies he facilitated without implicating himself? I think not. Neither can the Calvinist God, who unquestionably governs all the affairs of men, hold men who are predestined to reprobation accountable for their sins without making Himself culpable.

That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25

Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? Job 8:3

Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. Job 34:12

And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.Psalms 9:8

God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? Romans 3:6

Moreover, how can men be responsible for actions they do not have the will to perform or ultimately the freedom to resist? If the Scriptures teach that law and the knowledge of the law are both prerequisites for culpability, which it does (Lev 4:13-14; Deut 1:39; Rom 3:20, 4:15), how much more the will and ability to obey the command? Granted, though the Bible teaches men can resist specific acts of sin, no man can fully obey God apart from divine grace (Rom 7:18; Phil 2:13; Heb 13:21). However, from a Calvinistic perspective, men have no real choice in the matter. God governs and controls all. Can we, based on Scripture, logically establish moral ”responsibility” apart from ”respond-ability”? The answer is a resounding ”no”. This is a Scriptural and philosophical absolute. Hence, if God is the author of sin, God is accountable for sin.

Calvinists say those who question God do so because His ways violate their carnal concept of justice. All agree that fallen humanity can have unusual ideas about justice, but God reveals Himself as just and defines His justice via the Scriptures. Calvinists often say that if we understood divine justice, it would no longer be divine, or some similar tautology. What strange reasoning. If we can understand God’s Word will it cease to be God’s Word? Surely, God’s people, filled, led, and taught by God’s Spirit, can comprehend, at least to some degree, God’s justice? Without the revelation of true justice, (which is displayed by God and His Word) men could not walk righteously or fulfill God’s plan in the earth.

Furthermore, for the Calvinist, a theological contradiction arises when God shows indignation toward those who, by living in sin, are only fulfilling their divine destiny inaccordance with God’s predetermined decree?

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Ephesians 5:6

It is amazing that Calvinists vehemently deny that God works at cross purposes with Himself. If reprobates disobey God, harden themselves in sin, and ultimately shun the gospel because God sovereignly predetermined they do so in His secret will, why then does God not agree with what He decreed?

IS GOD CONSISTENT WITH HIS OWN LAW?

for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Psalms 138:2

Amazingly, many Calvinists believe God, as Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, cannot be expected to honor the standard of His own law. Is this true? Calvinist apologist, Vincent Cheung, in his blog article entitled ”The Author of Sin”, boldly stated?

”Whether or not God is the author of sin, there is no Biblical or rational problem with Him being the author of sin”

Really, Mr. Cheung? If God is responsible for every act of evil then He has broken His own law. Such an assertion, according to the Word of God, is impossible, not because God is above His own law, but because such behavior is contrary to His holy nature.

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant? Deuteronomy 7:9

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32:4

Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever? Psalms 146:6

I propose that God could never violate His own law nor compel others to do so. I base this absolute on several Biblical principles, namely:

1. God is holy. Holiness, as defined by Scripture, is to be conformed to God’s moral law. Granted, there are some areas where God’s moral law applies only to man, nevertheless, to cause men, in any way, to violate His law is against God’s nature (James 1:13).

2. God and His Word are synonymous. If God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13) how could He breach His own character by violating His Word or causing men to do so?

3. God the Father and Jesus Christ, both being part of the triune Godhead, are the same in essence (Col 2:9). Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, never broke the law of God but fulfilled the law. This being true, it is reasonable to assume God cannot break His own law.

4. God’s Spirit inspires holiness and conformity to moral law (Rom 8:4; Gal 5:16, 22-23). Would the same Spirit who effectually restrains sin in redeemed man in time inspire sin in our holy God in eternity? Again, I think not.

5. God is love (1 Jn 4:8). Love is conformity to moral law (Rom 13:10). Moreover, God’s character is immutable; He cannot change. Therefore, how could God violate His law and be consistent with His revealed nature?

6. God is not the Author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33). Nothing is more disorderly and confusing than sin. Thus, God cannot be the cause of sin.

Therefore, we conclude that God cannot be the Author of sin and remain true to His revealed nature throughout the Scriptures.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

Foreknowledge does not constitute predestination. Case in point:

FIRST: David was being pursued by Saul. So, David asked the Lord that, if he goes down to Keilah, will Saul also come down there, and will they deliver David into Saul’s hand? The Lord answered yes.

So, what did David do? ”Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go..” (1 Sam. 23:13).

So what we find here is that God knew WHAT WOULD happen IF David went to Keilah – he would meet Saul there, for God foreknew that Saul would be there, and that those in Keilah would hand him over to Saul. BUT THIS DID NOT HAPPEN. David left the area of Keilah. God knew WHAT WOULD happen, even that which DID NOT happen. God foreknows future contingencies, and is not directing every event by a strict necessity or predetermined decree.

SECOND: God left a matter in David’s own hands. ”And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, ‘Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee….'” (1 Sam. 24:4).

So, what did David do? He spared Paul’s life. But God PERMITTED David to do whatever he wanted to do. David had more than one option before him. God did not tell David what to do, as though it was already predetermined by decree, but allowed David to choose.

Annonser

Judas was not predestined to betray Jesus, Acts 4:28

Judas acted against God’s will when he betrayed Jesus

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel DETERMINED BEFORE to be done. (Acts 4:26-28)

The above are words from a prayer by Peter and John, and these verses are sometimes used as an attempt to support the idea that God predestines all things, including predestination of individuals to do ”evil” (and that this in effect doesn’t make it ”evil” since God is always good). The sacrifice of Christ is a holy and acceptable offering to God and he didn’t force anyone to kill Jesus. This unique event cannot be used as a blanket statement throughout the entire scriptures to show that God causes people to do whatever they are busy doing including SINNING.

What was ”determined before” to be done? It was the death of Jesus (the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world)! However, it does not say that God predestined anyone to make this goal come true. Peter and John expressed in their prayer that people came to do what was determined, but  it doesn’t say that God predestined/caused/forced anyone to betray and kill Jesus, because then God would be the only reason for their sin.  (You’re not guilty of something if God is the one who made you do it.) Jesus is said to have laid down his own life and we can trust his words. There was certainly no shortage of people who wanted to kill Jesus, so God did not have to bother about predestining anyone to harm him. They went after Jesus on their own accord, and this was known from the foundation of the world. It wouldn’t be hard for the Father to remove his protective hands over Jesus and let someone with the desire to kill him be successful in his attempt, and Judas was  apparently first in line to betray him which eventually lead to his death. If Judas was predestined to betray Jesus, he would end up in heaven and not hell.

 John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

We can read that what happened was FOREKNOWN by God, but foreknowledge is not predestination. We can read that WICKED HANDS had crucified and slayed Jesus. If God predestined people to slay Jesus, then it would have been GODLY hands who slayed him. Those are wicked who do things contrary to God’s will.  By using an event for something good doesn’t mean that God caused it to happen.

 Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and FOREKNOWLEDGE of God, YE have taken, and BY WICKED HANDS have crucified and slain? 

We can see that it was not GOD who placed the desire to harm Jesus inside Judas but SATAN.

Joh. 13:And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him 

Jesus asked his Father to forgive those who harmed him, but if they were predestined to do so, then what is there to forgive? Why asking the Father to forgive people for doing exactly what he caused them to do?! If Judas OBEYED the Father by betraying Jesus which he was CAUSED to do, then shouldn’t Judas be rewarded instead of punished for what he did? Instead we can read that it would have been better for Judas had he never been born.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Fatherforgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots

Jesus was delivered into the hands of SINFUL men, so we are not talking about innocent people who only did what they were predestined to do by God. THEY chose to sin, and we know that God doesn’t even TEMPT people. Much less force people to sin.  There is no darkness in God.

Lukas 24:7Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

The Apostle Paul ”determined to sail by Ephesus” (Acts 20:16). Does that mean that the sailors on the vessel that he determined to sail on were acting under Paul’s compulsion or control? No. Paul determined to sail on a certain vessel to a certain location, but that does not mean that the vessel he determined to sail on was under his causation. When Paul sailed to Ephesus, he could say that what occurred was what was ”determined before to be done” instead of something which occurred by surprise or accident. But the occurrence of what was determined before to be done did not exclude the freedom of those who participated in its occurrence. In the same way, God determined the crucifixion of Christ, but that does not mean that those who participated in His crucifixion and contributed to it were not free in what they did. What they did to Christ was not a surprise to God. What they did was what God had ”determined before to be done”. In order to accomplish His purpose of slaying the Lord, God delivered Christ into the hands of those who already wanted to kill him by their free choice.

There certainly was no shortage of people who wanted to kill Jesus because of the way that He preached. Jesus said that ”the world” ”hateth” him, ”because I testify of it, that the works thereof are EVIL” (Jn. 7:7). But the enemies of Christ were unable to kill him as long as the Father was protecting him (Matt. 4:6; Lk. 4:11; Jn. 7:30; 10:31; 10:39). The Bible says ”Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come” (Jn. 7:30).

God determined to deliver Jesus unto wicked men and God foreknew what they would do to Jesus if He did. This is because the Father knew the hostility and hatred that was already freely in their hearts. God was able to incorporate their voluntary wickedness into His plans and even turn it around and use it for good. This, it seems, God also did with Joseph’s brothers (Gen. 50:20). But this does not mean that God caused their wickedness. It is one thing to say that God ”worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11), and it is quite another thing to say, ”God CAUSES all things after the counsel of his own will”. God can work with the free will choices of men to accomplish His purposes without causing all the choices of men.

Pilate said, ”I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee” (Jn. 19:10). Pilate certainly was conscious of possessing free will. He was aware of the fact that what he was doing, he was doing by his own free volition. Responsibility or accountability presupposes free will. Men will be judged according to the free choices of their wills. Since these men were responsible for taking Jesus and for killing him, though God had determined that Jesus should be delivered unto them and slain, they still took Him and killed him by their own free choice. The Bible goes on to say

”Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? (Acts 2:36-37)

Apparently, Peter’s audience had not taken his previous words about the determinate counsel of God to mean that they had no free will in the matter or that they were only acting under the control of God. Otherwise, they could not have been pricked in their hearts for their action or have seen any reason why they needed to be saved for acting in such a way. But they were pricked in their hearts and sought for a way of salvation because they internally knew that what they had done was caused freely by their own wills and, therefore, they were rightly responsible and accountable for it.