Etikettarkiv | wicked

Does God predestine people to be non-elect, or do people corrupt themselves?

calvinism 19Is God making people wicked, or are they wicked against his will?

This is a hard question to answer for someone who believes that God forces no one to sin while at the same nothing comes to pass against his will.

Calvinists often speak from the both side of the mouth when they on the one hand claim that God predestines people to become elect or non-elect from the foundation of the world, and on the other hand claim that God forces no one to be wicked. Sometimes they try to blame Adam for people’s ”sinful nature”, but this does not solve the problem since he arrived on the scene after the ”foundation of the world” (and the Bible does not claim we have inherited his sin anyway).

So which one is it? Are people wicked against his will or according to his will? (Any of his wills …) Does God force people to be sinners or not?

Calvinists might suggest that God merely ”passes over” people and leaves them to their own devices, which means that such people will do what their nature urges them to do – which is performing all sorts of evil (like being wicked by default). Although, what choice do they really have? If only one single choice is available to them, and if God determines  to turn them into non-elect (for no apparent reason), must they therefore not become exactly as God has determined? Surely they could not have become elect if God wanted them to be non-elect? Would it not be surprising if someone who God did NOT want to become elect – but rather non-elect – still ended up as elect? That could not possibly happen, right? Again, I can see no other option but one (1) for the victims that were forced to become non-elect. Is not ”forcing” the proper word here?

The Bible tells us that people are separated from him due to their transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). This means that it is when people choose to SIN as they are  spiritually ”dead” and therefore also lost (until they repent, if they ever do). Calvinists often make a similar claim, but do they really mean it?

The whole Calvinistic process:

  1. People go to hell due to their sin. (So long it is fine, but it gets worse …)
  2. Why do they sin? Because they are bound by a sinful nature.
  3. Why are they bound by a sinful nature? Because they are wicked non-elect sinners.
  4. Why are they wicked non-elect? Because God created them as such from the foundation of the world – before they even existed, before they were born and long  before they could sin.
  5. This means that people are not dead due to their sins after all, but due to their bad luck of having been chosen by God to be wicked – with no way to escape from this misfortune.

Again, this Calvinistic process means that sin is NOT the reason for their damnation, but GOD’S CHOICE is. So why do Calvinists so often say that people are lost due to their sin if they do not really mean it? (Sinning would just be a consequence of God’s refusal to let people seek him and do good – from the foundation of the world.) Add to this the Calvinistic idea that 1) God is sovereign in such a way that he micro-manages everything, and 2) nothing comes to pass against his will. This means that if we criticize anything or anyone, we are criticizing God himself who caused it all to happen.

Not all Calvinists would agree that this is a proper understanding of their belief system (but many do agree). Still, they cannot escape from the many contradictions resulting from trying to save Calvinism.

Sinners commit sin against their nature

The Bible teaches that sinners do wicked acts against their nature, and not according to their nature:

Rom. 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is AGAINST NATURE

Once I heard in a podcast where a Calvinist asserted that a person bound by his wicked nature would not choose the right thing (like seeking God). He was then asked by the host ”Could he?”. The Calvinist replied ”He wouldn’t!”. He was asked ”Could he?”. The Calvinist replied ”He wouldn’t!” He was again asked: ”Could he, though?”, and the Calvinist continued to say ”He wouldn’t!”. It is easy to understand why the Calvinist was reluctant to answer the question (which was ”could he?” and not ”would he?”). If a non-elect person not only would not choose the right thing but neither is capable of it (by no fault of his own), the guilt must be placed on someone else but him. Namely on the one who caused this awful dilemma – namely God.

Fortunately this is not the God of the Bible. If people are wicked, it is their own blame and not God’s. God pleaded with his people Israel to do right, just like he pleads with all of us.

Ex. 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

People corrupt themselves

God is not the one corrupting people by determining/orchestrating/choosing/forcing/ordaining/predestining people to become wicked sinners before they are even born. The Bible says that man himself is to be blamed for being corrupt and not God. In order for someone to corrupt himself, he must first exist (and have a heart and a brain) in order to make choices. Man does not corrupt himself until he chooses to make sinful actions. Not a single day before.

Gen. 6:12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Deut. 9:12 And the Lord said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.

Deut. 32:5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.

Judge 2:19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.

Hosea 9:9 They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.

2 Pet. 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

2 Pet. 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked? Jer. 17:9

heart 2The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer. 17:9 KJV

The book of Jeremiah, just like Job, Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc, contains portions of poetic expressions, parables, hyperboles, prophesies, etc, so we must be careful to not read every verse in a literal way. Some Christians often quote Jer. 17:9 in order to support the idea that we are born in sin (which the verse does not say) and that we are constantly sinning in thoughts, words and deeds. Possibly also that God must separately ”enable” a person to do good or else he is not able to do so. (Many reformed believers think that God for some reason does not enable all people to repent and do good). Nevertheless, it is rather clear that the same chapter (just like many other chapters in the book of Jeremiah) contains a good portion of poetic expressions. If those should not be read in a literal way, why should Jer. 17:9?

Let us read the rest of the same chapter – Jeremiah 17:

17:1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;2 Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.

Is the above literally true? Is the sin of Judah written with a pen of iron and diamond, and literally graven on people’s hearts? Upon the horns of altars?

3 O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.

Through poetic expressions we can read above that God is angry due to his own people (Judah) departing from him. This is not the first time they do so and seems to be a recurrent problem in the Old Testament (which makes us understand the description of their heart in Jer. 17:9). As a consequence of Judah’s heart departing from him, God will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not”. The better option would of course have been to be obedient to God in order to avoid this unfortunate disaster. The chapter continues to explain what a dreadful future those who depart from him will get:

6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

Notice the poetic language and illustrations which make an important point. The chapter continues to explain why it is a much better option to trust in the Lord.

7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Notice the poetic language above. Then comes Jer. 17:9:

9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

The claim that the heart is ”deceitful” and ”desperately wicked”, is a general claim stated right after explaining how Judah had departed from God yet again. It is not hard to watch the TV news and naturally feel like exclaming that ”people are deceitful and desperately wicked”, after seeing constant examples of war, rape, gang rape, pedophilia, Satanism, censorship from the elite, etc. This does not mean that every single person in all parts of the world is always deceitful and wicked – around the clock – and not being able to be anything else but think and do evil.

The answer to the question ”who can know it?” (the heart), is God can! Just like James says in Ja. 2:24 – we are justified by works and not by faith alone – God says here that he will give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings”. The fruit is important for our salvation. See in John 15 where Jesus explains how important it is to remain in him, as a branch in the vine, in order to provide fruit. If the branch no longer produces fruit, it will be broken off and thrown in the fire. If a person does not produce fruit, it is his own fault and God should not be blamed. 

11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.

Notice the poetic language. A more modern English would be: Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end they will prove to be fools” (NIV). Naturally God warns against it. Still, people end up as fools (naturally against God’s will) by taking things of value not belong to them. There are consequences for bad behavior. 

12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.

Again, we can see here that it is not a good idea to forsake God and depart from him. They shall be ashamed due to their choice to act against God’s will. However, they shall not literally be ”written in the earth”. 

14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.15 Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now.16 As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee.17 Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.

Jeremiah is saying ”I have not run away from being your shepherd” (NIV). Good choice.

18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.

Since Jeremiah is faithful to God, it is not right for people to persecute him. Yet, some did and Jeremiah is concerned about it and pray to his Lord.

19 Thus said the Lord unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;20 And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the Lord, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates:21 Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;

God gives instructions to Jeremiah and since Jeremiah is a good man, he is likely to obey them. Unlike many of his forefathers!:

22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.

Above we can see how some of Jeremiah’s forefathers did not obey God. ”they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline” (NIV). This is clear proof that God’s will does not always happen, because he prefers to give man free will and thus make him responsible for his own actions. God is not the one making people stiff-necked so that they cannot obey him. They are doing this to themselves, to the dismay of God.

24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein;

25 Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.26 And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the Lord.

So IF Jeremiah will diligently listen to God, many things will turn to the better for the city. It is up to Jeremiah.

27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

If Jeremiah will NOT listen to God and obey him (which clearly is an option since God warns against it), then there will be consequences for the city of Jerusalem. Hopefully Jeremiah will make the better choice.

Harden not your hearts!

In the same book – Jeremiah – we can read:

Jer. 4:4 Circumcise YOURSELVES to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

We should make sure to not harden our hearts:

Hebr. 3:7 Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness

Pro 28:13He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.14 Happy is the man that feareth always: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

2 Chron 36:11 Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD.13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.

2 Chron. 12:14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.

We are wonderfully madeheart

It is clear that we are born wonderfully made (see this article), and we are neither born with deceitful hearts or forced to have deceitful/wicked hearts due to any ”nature” forced upon us against our will:

Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that GOD HATH MADE MAN UPRIGHT; but THEY they have sought out many inventions.

Isaiah 7:16 For BEFORE THE CHILD SHALL KNOW TO REFUSE THE EVIL, AND CHOOSE THE GOOD, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet bornNEITHER HAVING DONE ANY GOOD OR EVIL, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Isaiah 44:24 Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that FORMED THEE FROM THE WOMB, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself

Zecharia 12:1  The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and FORMETH THE SPIRIT OF MAN WITHIN HIM.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.—31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is turned wherever God wants?

king's heart2Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will

It’s never a good idea to use a psalm or a proverb as a filter to read the rest of the Bible through, because poetic text might obviously not always be the literal truth. It’s shaky to start a new doctrine based on poetry and analogies, and you can reach almost any conclusion you want if you single out a verse out of context in Psalms or Proverbs (or anywhere) and use it as a foundation for a certain theology view.

The above verse is sometimes used by our reformed friends (calvinists) as an attempt to support the idea that God has an exhaustive control over all decisions of men – i.e. God predestines every step that a man makes and nothing happens against the will of God. There may be calvinists who disagree with this view, but then they are not consistent with their own doctrines – as in TULIP

It’s true that God may occasionally and in rare situations choose to override the will of man, but calvinists believe God acts in such way at all times and that he constantly steers our steps and wills so that we will always act and think according to his exact will with no exception. They believe that God is no longer sovereign if man has any independent control separate from his own will. Sovereign and sovereignty are not Biblical words (KJV), but also freewillers believe God is ”sovereign”, but obviously not the way calvinists understand this term. A sovereign and an all powerful God is mighty enough to create man with a free will and to be responsible for his (not God’s) own actions. If God is the one who causes us to think and act the way he wants, then of course he is the one to be responsible for our thoughts and actions, but that is not the God of the Bible because it would make him the author of sin.

Prior to the flood the people were purely evil (with an exception of Noah and his family):

Gen. 5:And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

It wouldn’t make any sense at all if God first caused people to have wicked thoughts and constantly perform evil, and then bring a global flood on everyone due to their wickedness that he himself predestined. The wickedness culminated after the nephilim were being born by the sons of God (fallen angels, as per other Bible verses) and female human beings, and wickedness is always against God’s will.

Proverbs 21:1  doesn’t speak about all the people in the whole world but about ”the king”,  and this verse might have been written by King Solomon concerning himself. The passage also doesn’t tell us that God controls the king’s heart irresistibly. It’s possible that Solomon is proclaiming that he is fulfilling his appointed role by allowing God to control his decision-making so that his decisions would essentially be the decisions of God, and it is not a statement that God is irresistibly controlling his heart but that the king has fully surrendered his heart and will to the will of God.

A good king was to represent God to his people in his judgments and decisions, and we can see this in Psalm 82 quoted by Jesus to the Pharisees in John 10:34-38.  In the psalm, the rulers of the people were called “gods” because they were to represent God to His people in their leadership and judgments.  In Psalm 82 God is seen to stand in judgment of the judges and rebuke them for their failure to represent God as they were called by God to do. If the Scripture could call wicked judges “gods”, how much more does Jesus deserve to be equated with God since He is sent into the world by God himself?

The wicked make plans and those plans seldom include their own destruction or judgment nor the many calamities that might result from their rebellion, but such is their future according to the Lord. Nothing can ultimately thwart God’s overall sovereign plan, and his ultimate control over the universe is in no way threatened by the free will decisions of his creatures. That is the gist of Proverbs 21.

What else does Proverbs 21 say?
king's heart

21:Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

It wouldn’t make sense if God irresistibly controls the heart at the same time as he ponders/weighs/judges the heart that he alone controls with no interference or involvement by man. Solomon is concerned about pleasing the Lord in righteousness and justice, and a sacrifice is usually made when a person has transgressed the law of God and needs to be forgiven through the blood of an animal sacrifice. Of course it’s better to be obedient to start with because then a sacrifice isn’t even needed, and we can read that this option is more acceptable to God. Solomon contrasts the desires and actions of men surrendered to God with those who are in rebellion to God and refusing to submit to Him. Solomon himself fell away from the Lord in his later years but when he wrote this Proverb Solomon was committed to the Lord.

21:4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

Is it really possible that God would want people to have a high look, a proud heart and being wicked sinners? It’s absurd to suggest that God could cause people to be evil because in God there is no darkness at all and he doesn’t even tempt anyone – much less cause anyone to sin.

21:The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.

A lying tongue would also be something that God doesn’t want anyone to have, and we can read that the robbery of the wicked shall destroy them because they REFUSE to do judgment. It’s not God who leads them in that direction, but they do it to themselves.

21:The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

Solomon compares ”man” with ”the pure”. The work of the pure is RIGHT unlike the way of man, and this must mean that some people do NOT do what is right before God since all men are not pure. The soul of the wicked desire EVIL, and does it sound plausible that God causes certain men to be wicked and evil?

21:11 When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.12 The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

A scorner is not showing a good conduct and that’s why he is punished. The righteous man is contrasted with the wicked man, and we can read that God overthrows the wicked for the reason that he is performing wickedness. Why would God overthrow and punish people for the reason that they are being wicked, if he himself caused them to be wicked in the first place? Instead of being punished they should get praise and applauds for doing the will of God – by being evildoers – if this is what God truly wanted them to be.

21:13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.15 It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

Does God want people to ”stop their ears” at the cry of the poor? Surely not, since God repeatedly tells us to be merciful and help those in need. Whosoever is a worker of iniquity must surely be acting against God’s will? The Bible says that God hates the workers of iniquity (psalm 5:5) so it wouldn’t make sense if he would be causing people to be just that, and then turn around and pretend to be angry at the same workers of iniquity.

21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.

Here we can read about man wandering out-of-the-way of understanding. It doesn’t say God pushed him out-of-the-way of understanding or prevented him in any way to reach a better understanding, but that the man himself is guilty of this – and the dire consequence for this unfortunate choice is death. Does God want people to love pleasure and wine, and does he want them to be wicked transgressors? Again, I hope all will say NO WAY. Sinning is always against God’s will.

21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.22 A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

God surely wouldn’t cause people to be foolish and waste expensive oil. The wise man is again contrasted with the foolish man, and it’s up to us to follow after righteousness in order to find life and honor, and it’s up to us to keep our tongue to save our SOUL from trouble.

24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.26 He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?28 A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.29 A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.

Read this passage again about proud, haughty scorners who refuse to labor and who are greedy and covet things that don’t belong to them. The sacrifice of the wicked is an ABOMINATION before God, and the only reason they would even think about doing something like that would be due to a wicked mind. Would God cause people to be wicked and act in such a way? God directs the way of the upright, but the wicked hardens himself. Bad choice on their part.

Proverbs 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.—28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.29 The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

The thoughts of the wicked are an ABOMINATION to the Lord, and he is far from the wicked. Would God cause people to be so wicked that they were an abomination before him? That would not be the God of the Bible, but this type of God can unfortunately be seen in books authored by calvinists. Flee to another direction.

The wicked are estranged from the womb Psalm 58:3 – no support for a sinful nature

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, SPEAKING LIES (Psalm 58:3) 

This verse is sometimes used as some kind of support for that babies are born sinful because we have all inherited Adam’s sin. However, this is a PSALM and psalms can be read either literally or figuratively depending on context. Some people also take Psalm 51:5 as support for the sinful nature, but then they believe babies are sinful upon CONCEPTION (it says David was conceived in sin, and you can read about this psalm too on my Blog). So which one is it? Do we get the mysterious ”sinful gene” when we are conceived or when we are born? I suggest NEITHER. Check the context:

Ps 58:1 Do ye indeed SPEAK righteousness, O congregation? do ye JUDGE uprightly, O ye sons of MEN2Yea, in heart ye WORK wickedness; ye WEIGH the violence of your hands in the earth. 3The wicked are estranged from the womb: they GO ASTRAY as soon as they be born, SPEAKING LIES4Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear5Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. 6Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD. 7Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.

We can see that the psalmist starts out addressing a ”congregation” and apparently they are old enough to SPEAK since they are asked if they speak righteousness. They are also old enough to JUDGE (albeit not necessarily uprightly), they are able to WORK WICKEDNESS in their hearts and WEIGH the violence of their hands. Babies are unable to do any of that, and it’s the WICKED that ”are estrange”. Notice the words ”go astray as soon as they are born”.  If someone goes astray it means it must have started from a position where it was not ”astray”. How many babies do we know who speak LIES Who can speak at all when they are newly born? Can we really say that innocent little newborn babies have poison like serpents? How could newborn babies choose to ”stop their ears” and not hearken? How many babies do we know who have TEETH in their mouths when they are born? Is God seeking to break the teeth of little infants? And cut them in pieces?

No this is about God taking vengeance on the WICKED who have done nothing but engaged themselves in violence and bloodshed, and they must be ADULTS in order to do that. They must be old enough to be able to make decisions, or else it wouldn’t make sense that God would punish the for something they haven’t chosen to do themselves. Psalm 58 is not a about our nature at the time of  birth. The rest of Psalm 58:

8As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun. 9Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath. 10The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked11So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

In verse 10 and 11 we can read about righteous people who do NOT go astray, so this shows that all are not wicked since only the wicked go astray.

It’s never a good idea to take poetic verses out of context (such as those is Psalms, Proverbs and Job) and make doctrines out of them, in combination with ignoring loads of other clear verses in the Bible which tell us another story. Nowhere in the Bible will you see the teaching that man is born with a sinful nature, and/or that we have inherited Adam’s sin. Sinning is a choice which can’t be inherited. 

The LORD makes even the wicked for the day of atonement? – Proverbs 16:4

The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil (Prov. 16:4)

Some Christians (reformed belivers) actually think that God created wickedness, and that he has made some people into sinners just so he can punish them on the day of evil. That is not the God of the Bible. The NKJV renders it:

Prov. 16:4 The Lord has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of
doom. (NKJV)

At first glance perhaps this verse seem to contradict other verses:

The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalms 145:9

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

In Proverbs 16:4 the phrase, ”things for Himself” is a translation from the Hebrew word maaneh which means ”to answer to”, or ”to give a reply to”, and what is being said in this verse is, ”The Lord hath made all things to answer or give an account unto him”.   Sinners eventually reap what they sow.

This makes more sense and goes together well with the rest of the Bible where we can see that God EXPECTS us to be obedient to His commands. We would end up with huge contradiction if we read Proverbs 16:4 as though God creates people to be wicked.

The day of evil  

”The day of evil” is indeed the day of doom. That is when all must give account onto God.

Deut. 31:29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

2 Sam. 3:39 And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons  of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.

Jer. 17:18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.

More verses from Proverbs 16

The context of Proverbs 16:4 is here below and we can read that a proud heart is an ABOMINATION to God, so clearly He wouldn’t predestine people to be wicked. Why would God even consider forcing us to perform abominable things before His eyes and then turn around and punish us for it?

Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. [The LORD hath made all things to give account unto Him: yea, even the wicked, who think they are off His hook, have to give an account unto Him on the day of judgment.]5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.6By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

The text tells us that people can depart from evil if they FEAR God, which is something THEY must do. God created all things to give an account unto Him, even those who think they are getting away with their sins now. God sets up His creation where good is (eventually) rewarded, and evil is (eventually) punished. In this sense the “purpose” for the wicked is found in the “day of trouble” that shall come upon them. The verb translated in the NRSV as “made” (paw-al’) can be translated as “works out”.

A question that calvinists cannot answer – because it’s a paradox

CHALLENGE to CALVINISTS to please explain the contradiction of Westminster Confession of Faith 3.1:

A Calvinist writes:  ”[God] does not actively work unbelief into the non-elect. All are already under sin. God is not responsible for the sin of Adam, or the fall of mankind. God is not the author of evil. ”

Q. Who then *is* the author of evil? Who did work unbelief into the heart of men? If all men are under sin, what was God doing when it happened – did it occur behind his back / outside his sovereign causality? Calvin wrote: (quote): 

“..the will of God is the supreme and primary cause of everything…” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book I, Ch. 16, Sect.

 “We also note that we should consider the creation of the world so that we may realise that everything is subject to God and ruled by his will and that when the world has done what it may, nothing happens other than what God decrees.” (Acts: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.66)

“…the devil and all the ungodly are reined in by God, so that they cannot conceive, plan or carry out any crime, unless God allows it, indeed commands it. They are not only in bondage to him, but are forced to serve him. It is the Lord’s prerogative to enable the enemy’s rage and to control it at will, and it is in his power to decide how far and how long it may last, so that wicked men cannot break free and do exactly what they want….” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book I, Ch.17, Sect. 10)

= And again. WCF3.1 says God ordains EVERYTHING that happens.

Q. How then, having asserted this position, can Calvinism claim God is not authoring these things – THAT’S WHAT AUTHORING MEANS – (to conceive a plot, and via third parties cause a narrative to come into being, and then to publish it via secondary agents, for the world to experience it’s reality.) i.e. by the normal definition of the words, Authoring IS ordaining / decreeing / causing / predetermining, by creative design.

I really hope you guys can take this challenge on – because it lies at the heart of Calvinism’s claims of sovereignty. These are not complex questions, and are based on what Calvinism clearly states. I’m not pulling a clever trick on you here, but asking how you reconcile this contradiction: To quote Calvin again:

”First, it must be observed that the will of God is the cause of all things that happen in the world; and yet God is not the author of evil.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169)

“Whatever things are done wrongly and unjustly by man, these very things are the right and just works of God. This may seem paradoxical at first sight to some….” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169)

Too right it seems paradoxical!….. It IS. Again. My questions have not been answered -I’ve received lots of references to God being ”passive” while people go do things that God is not *actively* in control of, whilst simultaneously claiming God is in control of everything.

PROBLEM 1.) If God stands back and lets a man do something that God himself has not actively caused to be, then you are opening up space *outside his sovereign will* by claiming he stands by and lets things happen he did not cause.

PROBLEM 2.) Calvinists seem to also be claiming God IS in fact in TOTAL control of every atom in this universe etc. Thus you cannot claim God is in total control and at the same time shelve the effective causailty onto someone else… This question is normally responded to by Calvinists by stating ”you do not understand Calvinism – go back and relearn”. I am – I have – I am taking you at your word and asking questions about it – please dont refer to charts or other material – I need to know how you square this circle personally. Or do you switch your mind off and accept mutually exclusive opposites as compatible truth… ie ‘A = NotA’

Sovereignty = total control / causality (predestination = ordination).
Soveriengty = active causality to salvation
Sovereignty does not = active causality to sin
Sovereignty does not = total control / causality

(Thanks to Stephen Thomas. Also read his long list of verses which show that TULIP is incorrect here)

Regeneration does not precede faith, and about DEPRAVITY

Regeneration in the Bible

“Regenerate” and regenerated” are not found in the KJV Bible. Not in the NIV either for that matter. Neither is “regeneration” found in the NIV but it’s found twice in the KJV.

Regeneration” is a translation from the Greek noun παλινγενεσίᾳ  (palingenesia Strong’s 3824) and can also mean new birth, renewal, restoration, etc. When we are forgiven and cleansed from our sins we are washed, born again and a child of God. Regenerated! God wants us all to repent from our sins and come to him so that we can be regenerated and born again. Here is the first verse:

Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The second instance is this one below (in the genitive form), and some reformed believers build a whole new doctrine on this verse alone:

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of REGENERATION, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

This verse does not say that a person must be “regenerated” in order to seek and find God, but it’s clear that we cannot cleanse our own sins by suddenly doing good things. Our PAST sins must be dealt with first. We can only be cleansed and declared righteous thanks to the blood of Jesus , and this happens when we ask for forgiveness for our sins, repent and start living in the light. If we break the Law even once, we are in need of a Savior and we are saved thanks to God’s MERCY.

When we are born again we have been moved from death to life and we are washed, regenerated and renewed of the Holy Ghost. We are all asked to come to God in order to be born again, and we learn that regeneration comes AFTER that a person has repented for his sins and been cleansed from them. Only THEN is he a new regenerated person and the old things have passed away. Let’s also remember that the prodigal son was spiritually DEAD and yet he took a personal decision to return to his Father and ask for forgiveness. No one else persuaded him or forced him.

If conversion occurs at some point after regeneration, then we have a person who is regenerated but not yet converted, and therefore a person who is regenerated but not yet saved. A person is not saved when he receives the ability to repent and believe, but when he is actually cleansed/regenerated. The very moment that a sinner is regenerated he is saved because regeneration is not distinct or difference from conversion.

Verses that show that faith comes before regeneration/rebirth

Heb. 11 he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently SEEK him.

John 1:12 But as many as RECEIVED him, to THEM gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;—26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord

Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee

2 Cr 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death

1 John 1:9 IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

Rev. 2:21 And I gave her SPACE TO REPENT of her fornication and she repented not. 22 Behold I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation except they repent of their DEEDS

2 Tim 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.21 IF a man thereforepurges himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

2 Chron. 15:2 The LORD is with you when you are with him. IF you seek him, he will be found by you, but IF you forsake him, he will FORSAKE you.

Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded

Jeremiah 4:14 Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved

Ezekiel 18:31 Make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die… 

Mat 6:14,15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The whole point of seeking God is to find him and become regenerated/cleansed

Until we find God we are not forgiven nor regenerated. Reformed type of thinking reverses the sequence by which God works and shuts up the Kingdom of Heaven against men, claiming specialness for themselves and barring for the vast bulk of humanity. God instructs men to seek God, and in fact, we are told that nobody can come to God UNLESS they seek him. Acts 17 states clearly that God created all men in the hope that they would SEEK HIM AND FIND HIM,and that he is not far from any one as in him we all live and move and have our being. Then he determines the way to find him – he commands all men everywhere to repent. Being born of God comes as a result of, or at the same time as, finding God.

Man cannot find God before God reveals himself to man, and he has! This is the good news! He has enlightened all men born into this world – Jn 1:9 and Romans 1 – and he has shown all men within themselves his eternal power and godhood – this is quite comprehensive revelation. So that they know the truth about God and they have no excuse…(Romans 1:19-21).

Regeneration means redemption in the blood of Jesus, which is forgiveness of sins at the new birth. Regeneration is a result of repentance and consequently does not occur before repentance. 

There is one verse that describes regeneration in Titus:. ”according to his mercy he saved us, by the WASHING OF REGENERATION, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5).

Here we see that regeneration = the washing.

Revelation 1:5 tells us what this washing is: ”from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our SINS in his own blood

Colossians 1:14 ”In whom we have REDEMPTION through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

This happens consequent upon REPENTANCE: ”Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31)

So first; we receive, repent, seek, return to, etc and THEREAFTER God cleanses, pardons and makes us the sons of God.

DEPRAVED and DEPRAVITY words not found in the BIBLE!

Depraved” and “depravity” are words not to be found in the KJV Bible, but 6 times in the NIV where the meaning is never that a person is 100% dead and unable to make good moral decisions without the awakening of God. It’s also interesting to see that the words

Reformed believers usually base their whole philosophy on the idea that man is ”depraved” and they repeatedly use this word, which they have their own interpretation of.  I checked the words DEPRAVE, DEPRAVED and DEPRAVITY in the entire NIV and none of the six places indicate a person is depraved out of his/her own control. It’s always a BAD CHOICE to be depraved:

Ezekiel 16:47 You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they.

Comment: Here we can read about people choosing to FOLLOW bad ways, and these ways are DETESTABLE according to God. We can read that they became MORE depraved than others due to this unfortunate selecting of ways to follow.

Ezekiel 23:11 Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister.

Comment: Here we can read the reason why Oholibah was MORE depraved than her sister. It was due to her lust and prostitution. There is no obligation to live like that.

Romans 1:28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

Comment: Here we can read the REASON why God gave people over to depraved minds. It was due to their choice to not seek it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God. We can read that they do what OUGHT NOT to be done which is a good indication of that they had an option to live in another way. This is a good example of something happening against God’s will. It was God who gave them over to a depraved mind, but 1) it was due to their own rejection of him and 2) apparently they did not have a depraved mind to start with. The rest of Romans 1 makes is clear that people have no excuse for not coming to God and for acting wickedly.

2 Timothy 3:8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.

Comment: Here again we can read about people who OPPOSE the truth. God naturally did not want them to oppose the truth. IF God wanted them to reject the truth and thus force them to reject the truth, then they shouldn’t be held accountable for it. They wouldn’t have any choice but to act just like God made them act, so they would actually be ”obeying God” by rejecting the truth. God wants us all to accept the truth and we can all do this if we so choose.

2 Peter 2:2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.

Comment: Here again we read about people who choose to FOLLOW their depraved conducts, and by doing so they will bring the way of truth into disrepute. Bad choice on their part!

2 Peter 2:7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless

Comment: Lot was a righteous man among loads of depraved people. Naturally God didn’t want those people to be depraved but they ended up in that way against God’s will and according to their own free will. Again, if God wanted them to be depraved then they would be innocent victims for God’s ruling, which they had no choice but to obey. Just the fact that Lot was called righteous and the others depraved shows the distinction between obeying God and not obeying God.

Romans 1:29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips.

Comment: These are examples of wicked behavior and since God is not the author of sin, naturally we can’t blame God for filling these people with all kinds of wickedness. Since they have ”become” filled with evil, it makes us understand that this was not always the case in their lives. The better option would have been to live in the light.

2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity for people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.

Comment: We can read in KJV Rom. 6:16:”Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves tosomeone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey whether you are slaves to sin, which leads todeath, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

WE are the ones doing the choosing to whom we should obey. God is the one to whom we owe our worship and obedience, so if we obey someone else it’s always against his will. Both Peter and Paul are warning us to not obey the wrong master. We are told to be obedient and continue to be righteous.

Sovereignty

”Sovereignty” and ”sovereign” are words not found in the KJV Bible. ”Sovereignty” is found in the NIV in a couple of cases where it does not refer to God (Dan 5:18, Dan 7:27) and ”sovereign” is used several times in the NIV. The lack of this word in the KJV is also quite interesting since many calvinists claim that Free willers have changed the meaning of ”sovereign” – when we suggest that a sovereign God can create man with Free will – eventhough this word is not even present in the Bible. Naturally God IS sovereign but there is no obligation to understand the nature of God the way calvinists prefer to view him. God is so sovereign that he is able to create us with free will. That is how powerful he is!

Total inability

Not found in the KJV or NIV.