Count it all joy when you face various trials. --James the brother of Jesus

Friday, July 18, 2008

They Don't Speak for Me: Part II (revised)

3. Calvinism Makes People Into Robots.

This too is an unfair straw-man mis-characterization of Calvinism. No true Calvinist believes such nonsense. The most common explanation that I know of for human freedom given by Calvinists such as myself is what is called "Compatiblist Freedom." Basically, it means that man makes real free choices and God is sovereignly in control of all things and that those two truths do not conflict with one another. There are two common examples of this truth: 1)Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and at the end of the Joseph story it says that though his brothers meant it for evil, God meant it for good. The brothers made real choices that they were responsible for yet God was the one who sent Joseph ahead for the salvation of many people. 2)The book of acts says that Jesus was crucified by wicked men but that they were carrying out what God had determined would happen. The men who crucified Jesus were making real choices and were accountable for them, but they were ultimately doing what God had planned.

This may be a hard thing to understand, but I believe that it is what the Bible teaches, and the Bible doesn't seem to teach that the two contradict one another.

More on Calvinism to come.

ADDITION: I will add one other example of this truth that is very important in regaurd to the authority of the Bible. I belive in that God breathed the very words of Scripture. If the human authors of Scripture had complete and total freedom, then we can have no confidence that the Bible says what God wanted it to. A veiew that sees God as the ultimate cause of human actions is vital to our being able to say that the Bible is God's Word--otherwise all we have is man writing about his experiences with God.

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