Calvin and predestination

If we are totally depraved and cannot seek after God, if God saves only those pre-destined to salvation, and if God’s grace is irresistible, why does Mike preach?

Great question. The same could be asked of Paul. What’s the point of Paul writing all those episltes that would later be included in the Canon of Scripture if those people were already pre-destined?

Calvin’s beliefs seem to lace nearly all of the effort in God’s hands, while minimizing our cooperation with His grace. It also apparently denies (or renders moot) Christ’s universal redemption, although I don’t really care to study heretical beliefs all that much - there are far too many of them to be studied in a finite lifetime.

However, an excellent compilation of the various heresies is contained in Fr. Richard M. Hogan’s Dissent From The Creed, published by Our Sunday Visitor. In it, one can get a taste of the personalities and cultural circumstances from which the major heresies developed. It also summarizes the exact points on which the heresies depart from revealed truth. Attacks on the nature of Christ, and upon the Sacraments are two primary qualities of many of the heresies. It is a great reference book to have handy.

Calvin’s beliefs seem to lace nearly all of the effort in God’s hands, while minimizing our cooperation with His grace. It also apparently denies (or renders moot) Christ’s universal redemption, although I don’t really care to study heretical beliefs all that much - there are far too many of them to be studied in a finite lifetime.

However, an excellent compilation of the various heresies is contained in Fr. Richard M. Hogan’s Dissent From The Creed, published by Our Sunday Visitor. In it, one can get a taste of the personalities and cultural circumstances from which the major heresies developed. It also summarizes the exact points on which the heresies depart from revealed truth. Attacks on the nature of Christ, and upon the Sacraments are two primary qualities of many of the heresies. It is a great reference book to have handy.

Hmmmm…

Well, just how DO you reconcile Paul’s inspired words that God desires the salvation of all men with Calvin’s personal opinion that God created some only to send them to hell?

That is a complicated and imprecise question, or rather a number of questions to unpack.

Does God desire of the salvation of all men? Yes. Are all men saved? Is God’s will frustrated? No. Therefore He must be pleased to save some, and not save others, whether it pleases us to hear it or think it or no.

I do not know if God creates some men specifically in order to send them to hell. Romans 9:18ff certainly indicates He has the right to do so if He wishes, and we do not have the right to object or criticize Him, as He is God and we are the clay. I certainly do not know everything - sometimes how much salt to add to a dish is beyond me, let alone the deep mysteries of God. Here we must tread cautiously and not go beyond what has been given. Calling God a monster or a bully or something is blasphemy, and I sometimes wonder about some of the statements I read on CAF about this.

Can you identify exactly where, as with a link, where Calvin maintained that God created some for the explicit purpose of damning them? And can you show me, via a link, where the Catholic Church explicitly states, at a magisterial level, that God does NOT create some for the explicit purpose of damning them?

What of Pharoah? It seems that God raised him up and hardened him only to smack him down. Kind of rough on Pharoah? Was God unjust here? No, never. There is some way free will and predestination both are true even though contradictory. As near as I can tell all those who go to hell desire to, and all those who go to heaven desire to, and the only reason the latter group goes to heaven is the work of God in them so they can desire to.

Over here we have the concept of two wills of God. God desires some things in general, as in the quote about desiring all men to be saved, but something else trumps it in a situation, as there are other things He also desires, and so for His will to be done, someone winds up not saved. He seems to be willing something else in a given situation. Why? I think that is beyond us to say. It leads to the untrackable mysteries of God, and Paul only winds up in worship in Romans 11:33. There are some things we do not know, and we can only trust that God is good.

How do you reconcile “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Rom 9:15) with saying that His desire to save all trumps everything else?

I would think only for a Calvinist. The vast majority of Christians on this earth are in no such quandary. No Christian had this problem/complication/confusion until Calvin expounded his unique and complicated beliefs.

Read Luke 7:30. The Pharisees and lawyers frustrated God’s plan for them. Were they more powerful than God, or did they misuse their free will? The answer should be clear.

Why the consternation? We do not worship a God of confusion.

Calvin taught Double Predestination, did he not? And, from the catechism, you may refer to paragraphs 257, 600, 1007, 2012, 2782 and 2823.

So Paul was wrong when he taught that God desires the salvation of all men?

But then, God is not One, but two wills? I cannot square this with Ezekiel 18:30-32 and John 10:30 among many others. If God has two wills, which of those wills did Jesus conform Himself to?

Free will. Non-Calvinist Christians believe that we must cooperate with God’s grace, even though we rely upon it. Luke 7:30 seems to indicate that man can indeed resist God’s grace.

Deuteronomy 30:12 “therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live”

You are excused from the following, as your bible does not contain Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
Sirach 15:17 “Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him.”

Lacking free will, we can choose nothing and our discussion is meaningless. As well, why would God ask us to reason together? Isaiah 1:18

Calvin would say Mike preaches because he is commanded to and because Preaching is God’s ordinary ordained means to awaken faith in the elect.

A little contemptuous, are we?
I suppose no one in the history of the church ever thought about free will and predestination until Calvin? Not Augustine, not Aquinas, no one?

Read Luke 7:30. The Pharisees and lawyers frustrated God’s plan for them. Were they more powerful than God, or did they misuse their free will? The answer should be clear.

I suggest you read the text a little more closely as to what happened there.

Why the consternation? We do not worship a God of confusion.

No consternation here. And we do not understand everything about God.

Calvin taught Double Predestination, did he not?

[Wikipedia? I asked you for an original quote. And you give me WIKIPEDIA?? Come on!

And, from the catechism, you may refer to paragraphs 257, 600, 1007, 2012, 2782 and 2823. Please post these to show that they claim what you say they do.

[quote]
So Paul was wrong when he taught that God desires the salvation of all men?

No, I answered that already. Are you really interested in a discussion or just winning an argument?

But then, God is not One, but two wills? I cannot square this with Ezekiel 18:30-32 and John 10:30 among many others. If God has two wills, which of those wills did Jesus conform Himself to?

Both. You may wish to review St. Thomas Aquinas’s article on the will of God, particularly 1, 19, 6.

Free will. Non-Calvinist Christians believe that we must cooperate with God’s grace, even though we rely upon it. Luke 7:30 seems to indicate that man can indeed resist God’s grace.

I believe man has free will. I also affirm predestination. You may be surprised to discover Catholicism does as well.QUOTE]

Deuteronomy 30:12 “therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live”

You are excused from the following,That is a relief:rolleyes:

as your bible does not contain Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
Sirach 15:17 “Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him.”

Lacking free will, we can choose nothing and our discussion is meaningless. As well, why would God ask us to reason together? Isaiah 1:18

You are making a lot of unwarranted assumptions about me, Calvinism and how the two relate. I do not regard Calvin as having some sort of magisterial authority. If anything, he is an example of how we should carefully examine what has been said before, looking at Scripture, the church fathers, even Aquinas and current Catholic statements to evaluate them and learn. That does not mean that we accept everything everyone says, and neither do Catholics, but there is a lot of valuable information out there.

I responded to you hoping for a civil discussion. If your tone does not improve we are done.

I think that is what Calvin would say. Thank you.

Quite a leap you have made there. Perhaps instead God Desires All To Be Saved, but he desires it to happen in accordance with his will, namely that they would do so by making a free commitment to him.

Can you identify exactly where, as with a link, where Calvin maintained that God created some for the explicit purpose of damning them? And can you show me, via a link, where the Catholic Church explicitly states, at a magisterial level, that God does NOT create some for the explicit purpose of damning them?

Come on. This doctrine is contained all through his seminal writing, The Institutes of the Christian Religion. But he pretty much dedicates Book Three Chapters 21-24 exclusively to this subject as it relates to the individual destiny of persons.
I just opened my personal copy and flipped a few pages and found this that should suffice. He says in Book Three, Chapter 21, Section 5, “All men are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or the other of these ends, we say that he has been predestined to life or to death.”

As for the Catholic Church, yes I can. Pope Clement XI condemned that and many similar teaching in Unigentius in 1713. As well as by the Council of Trent. The Catechism of the Catholic Church simply says “God predestines no one to go to hell” in paragraph 1037.

Furthermore, I don’t know what kind of “Evangelical Presbyterian” you are. But if you are in a confessionally reformed Church, then your tiptoeing around double predestination is out of accord with the statement of faith of your Church.

Which causes me to ask: “If God’s grace is truly irresistible, why does it need awakening?” Is it like jump=starting a car in the snow? As well, it is an irrational God who asks Mike to preach to those predestined to hell. But, no one ever said that 16th century European ideas had to make sense.

Well. I am not Calvinist. But Calvin would reply: God’s Grace does not “need” an awakening. It is people who need an awakening by God’s Grace.

Back to myself: I do not agree with Calvinist doctrine. But I fail to see how it is irrational for God to command someone to preach to the Non-Elect. Could you demonstrate how? Calvin might say that it becomes a message of judgement to them.

In addition, I can’t help but ask, what does the fact that Calvinism is a 16th century European idea have to do with it making sense? Christianity is a 1st century Jewish idea!

And to both po18guy and Tomyris: Please don’t think I am being hostile in debate. I just have a 16th century style about me. :stuck_out_tongue:

No offense taken. My questions and responses were purely rhetorical and intended to provoke contemplation on the part of Calvinists. I can understand clinging to Calvinism if you have a historic, family or cultural reason or exposure. Yet, as with the entire “reformation”, it was such a Eurocentric phenomenon that I cannot see it having any sort of applicability in other ages or geographies.

Further: How could anyone be a Calvinist before Calvin was born? It’s all about foundation. As well, Calvin’s doctrines are extremely easy to accept. Yet, were not those first Calvinists perfect examples of itching ears?

Originally Posted by John Calvin:
In conformity, therefore, to the clear doctrine of the Scripture, we assert, that by an eternal and immutable counsel, God has once for all determined, both whom he would admit to salvation, and whom he would condemn to destruction. We affirm that this counsel, as far as concerns the elect, is founded on his gratuitous mercy, totally irrespective of human merit; but that to those whom he devotes to condemnation,** the gate of life is closed** by a just and irreprehensible, but incomprehensible, judgment. In the elect, we consider calling as an evidence of election, and justification as another token of its manifestation, till they arrive in glory, which constitutes its completion. As God seals his elect by vocation and justification, so by excluding the reprobate from the knowledge of his name and the sanctification of his Spirit, he affords an indication of the judgement that awaits them.

(bold mine above)

And can you show me, via a link, where the Catholic Church explicitly states, at a magisterial level, that God does NOT create some for the explicit purpose of damning them?

From the Council of Trent:

If anyone shall say that it is not in the power of man to make his ways evil, but that God produces the evil as well as the good works, not only by permission, but also properly and of Himself, so that the betrayal of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul: let him be anathema.

More from Calvin: (source)

They are predestined to eternal death solely by his decision, apart from their own merit.

. . . those, then, whom he created for dishonor in life and destruction in death . . .

. . . his immutable decree had once for all destined them to destruction.

It seems as irrational as throwing out a life saver to a drowning man with no arms (read: it’s impossible for him to use the life saver. We need not go down the road of “Well, someone could put the life saver on him” or “He could swim underneath the ring and come up in its center” or “What about if he used his teeth to pull the rope on the life saver and just held on for dear life???” :whacky:)

And the drowning man really does not know whether they have arms or not. :bigyikes:

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