Convincing Calvinists


Can someone quickly point me to a scripture passage that definitively says something to the effect of “Satan is the author of all evil.”

An acquaintance of mine believes in predestination without free will. I am summarizing their premise:

‘God created man and by the Fall made man evil. Man doesn’t have free will therefore God also creates evil in men, but it is justified because its purpose is to show God’s glory.’

They go to a ‘non-denominational’ church but admits it’s calvinistic.

It would be simple to refute all the scripture passages they believe support their claim if I had just one verse to quote that said 'Satan is the author of evil" thereby being able to show the contradiction in the claim. I think I’ve read it before I just dont remember the book:chapter:verse.

Thanks in advance for your help!


I am not home at the moment, otherwise I would link you all of my anti-calvinist information. I grew up in a Calvinist family, I despise it and consider it a cult.
They have their monster god that hates people, but because of their magical jesus, they are somehow able to be loved by god. It makes no sense the way they distort the atonement and view of God and salvation, grace, etc. The whole TULIP theology is a joke and the entire reason it is a cult (in my opinion).

Sorry for the rant. As you can tell, I’m not a fan. haha
Check out Jerry Walls. He’s got some good stuff online (Youtube and I think on his website?)


Thanks for the reply, however I am still looking for the quote which will be the simplest way to end the issue.

Yes, from what I understand that, if they believe God also creates evil, what a very scary understanding of God they have. I want to help them see the real picture :slight_smile:


The problem is that Calvinists will always have ways to twist the scripture to say what they already believe through their Calvinist lens. I would suggest that after providing your friend with the Bible verses, that you review some of the work by Jerry Walls. He is very educated in Calvinism, and does not try to offend them. He’ll help you understand what your friend believes, which should make it easier to have a conversation, and then you’ll have time to get responses to your friend’s beliefs. --I can say, one thing I will give them credit for, is they are always ready with a set of pre-selected verses to defend and refute anybody that challenges them.

Good luck to you! :slight_smile:


I don’t know any verse that says the devil is the author of all evil, but the doctrine of free will is one of those few doctrines of Christianity that can be confirmed by a simple word search on a Bible website. Both the terms “free will” and the contraction freewill appear in almost every major translation. Here are some examples:

Philemon 1:14 - “I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will.”

1 Corinthians 7:37 - “Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart…does well.”

2 Corinthians 8:3 - “For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.”

2 Corinthians 8:17 - “He welcomed my request and eagerly went to visit you by his own free will.”

Ezra 7:13 - “I make a decree, that all those of the people of Israel, and their priests and the Levites, in my realm, who are minded of their own free will to go to Jerusalem, go with you.”

Exodus 35:29 - “All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work which the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as their freewill offering to the Lord.”

Dozens more:

Ask him to check out his own bible. I’ve checked the bibles in calvinist churches, and these “free will” passages are in them.


1 John 3:8 is about as close as you will get. “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (from the ESV)

Calvinists, of course, think that God predestines some to Heaven and others to Hell. An interesting thing about this is that 100% of Calvinists (no exceptions) believe that they are part of the ones predestined for Heaven.


…it’s difficult to get people to fall out of their preconceptions… once they bite into the proverbial apple, it is almost impossible to shine a light into anything they may hold as truth; other than the confused interpretation that was begotten in the 16th century (though it is an old heresy reaching back into a millennia or two) these folks gather Scriptures that seem to validate their belief; sadly, they reject Scriptures that plainly and simply demonstrate the opposite of their held belief:

31 And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good. And the evening and morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31)

On the very last day of Creation God takes inventory and notes that everything He has Created is very good!

Clearly, Creation was complete and it was very good… where do people see ‘…and God Created some things that were very good but not everything that God Created was good?’

…way back when when people were zealous about their Faith… when people were deeply moved to serving God… when people connected with Christ’s Passion and Suffering… they sought to base themselves (something similar to St. Paul calling himself “the least of the Apostles” and “as if by abortion”)–Luther and others solidified their search for reason and held on to the error of predestination (God chooses who is Saved, regardless of their condition, and God chooses who is damned, these can do nothing but be damned) and the error of man being completely devoid of anything but evil.

They connect with interpretations of passages that in deed seem to demonstrate that God creates evil:

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

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, 23 That he might shew the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath prepared unto glory? (Romans 9:22-23)

Yet, the reality is quite the opposite. Why would God Create evil? Would it not be so that He could take pleasure in destroying it?

Yet we have God’s own actions (Lucifer and his minions) and Word that He does not take pleasure in the destruction of anyone:

30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live! (Ezekiel 18:30-32)

…and while St. Paul’s proclamation of God’s Authority and Mercy does seem to render some hint of God creating some for damnation, here’s what St. Paul is really telling us:

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! (Romans 11:11-12)

…so God brings evil only in the sense that He allows man to suffer the consequences of his sin and rejection of God.

…and God predestine all man to Salvation while allowing some to hinder themselves so as to Save as many; yet, without sacrificing the Salvation of those He uses to bring about His Salvific Plan!

Maran atha!



Thanks all for your time in responding and it gives me good backups.

I found a verse that states it in the positive.

Psalm 119:68

“… You are good, and do what is good; teach me your laws…” Referring to God.

I’m trying to make a deductive proof but I warn you I’ve had no training in it. Constructive criticism welcome.

Calvinist Premises:
-Man was created without freewill.

  • Man’s sin against God and subsequent fall from Grace was God’s choice.

Proof(reductio ad absurdum?):
God chose for man to fall from Grace. (Calvinist premise)
Man’s fall from Grace was evil.(my premise)
Therefore God chose evil.

And then follow it up with a contradictory bible passage of “You are good, and do what is good; teach me your laws…”

Thoughts? I think they only way to get out of the contradiction is to say that Man’s fall from Grace wasn’t evil if it was for God’s glory. But then I dont know how to convince a person if they go down that path, because that would mean God causes evil for His glory, and that just seems irrational. He permits evil for his glory yes? in order to create a greater good, But is not the cause.

Thanks also for the slew of quotes on free will.


Any person may be the author of sin, just as Satan, since angels and mankind have free will.

John 8:44
44 You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.


Although I am Presbyterian I don’t accept everything Calvin said. However your premise has no place in Calvinism.

From the staunchly Calvinist Westminster Confession of Faith:

Of Creation

  1. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls,** endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it: and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. **Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.

Of Free Will

  1. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that it is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined to good, or evil.

2.** Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God; but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.
3. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

  1. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by his grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.
  1. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone, in the state of glory only.

The condition of man’s freewill after the fall was not new to Calvin. Augustine wrote:

It is not, therefore, true, as some affirm that we say, and as that correspondent of yours ventures moreover to write, that “all are forced into sin,” as if they were unwilling, “by the necessity of their flesh;” but if they are already of the age to use the choice of their own mind, they are both retained in sin by their own will, and by their own will are hurried along from sin to sin. For even he who persuades and deceives does not act in them, except that they may commit sin by their will, either by ignorance of the truth or by delight in iniquity, or by both evils,—as well of blindness as of weakness.** But this will, which is free in evil things because it takes pleasure in evil, is not free in good things, for the reason that it has not been made free. Nor can a man will any good thing unless he is aided by Him who cannot will evil,—that is, by the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. For “everything which is not of faith is sin**.”

(Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, Chapter 7)


I think it’s foreordained that Calvinists will reject the Truth. :slight_smile: And since they don’t have a free will to do otherwise, they can always blame it on God if Judgment Day doesn’t go their way. :smiley:


Calvin’s view on predestination does not appear to differ much from that given by Thomas Aquinas.

I answer that, It is fitting that God should predestine men. For all things are subject to His providence, as was shown above (Q[22], A[2]). Now it belongs to providence to direct things towards their end, as was also said (Q[22], AA[1],2). The end towards which created things are directed by God is twofold; one which exceeds all proportion and faculty of created nature; and this end is life eternal, that consists in seeing God which is above the nature of every creature, as shown above (Q[12], A[4]). The other end, however, is proportionate to created nature, to which end created being can attain according to the power of its nature. Now if a thing cannot attain to something by the power of its nature, it must be directed thereto by another; thus, an arrow is directed by the archer towards a mark. Hence, properly speaking, a rational creature, capable of eternal life, is led towards it, directed, as it were, by God. The reason of that direction pre-exists in God; as in Him is the type of the order of all things towards an end, which we proved above to be providence. Now the type in the mind of the doer of something to be done, is a kind of pre-existence in him of the thing to be done. Hence the type of the aforesaid direction of a rational creature towards the end of life eternal is called predestination. For to destine, is to direct or send. Thus it is clear that predestination, as regards its objects, is a part of providence.

I answer that, God does reprobate some. For it was said above (A[1]) that predestination is a part of providence. To providence, however, it belongs to permit certain defects in those things which are subject to providence, as was said above (Q[22], A[2]). Thus, as men are ordained to eternal life through the providence of God, it likewise is part of that providence to permit some to fall away from that end; this is called reprobation. Thus, as predestination is a part of providence, in regard to those ordained to eternal salvation, so reprobation is a part of providence in regard to those who turn aside from that end. Hence reprobation implies not only foreknowledge, but also something more, as does providence, as was said above (Q[22], A[1]). Therefore, as predestination includes the will to confer grace and glory; so also reprobation includes the will to permit a person to fall into sin, and to impose the punishment of damnation on account of that sin.


Aquinas struggles to make reprobation a permissive action even though it is part of providence. However it seems difficult to say if God predestines some to salvation but not others, that he has not, by that decision, predestined the others to reprobation.

I would mention that the Presbyterian Church in Canada has disavowed double predestination.


Those predestined to salvation are such because of the efficacious grace of God. God gives sufficient grace but those that reject it are lost due to their own action. According to Catholic dogma efficacious grace is not irresistible, but can be rejected at any time.


Interesting. It is possible that they are not “pure” Calvinists or they do not understand Calvinism. They gave a me several quotes on the fall of man, with their own explanation that God wanted man to fall in order to show His glory. Point taken that maybe the premise isn’t from Calvin, but it is this person’s premise. (There is no necessary uniformity in doctrine among groups that have no central authority - non-denominationalists.)

I will replace “Chose” with “Willed”

Proof(reductio ad absurdum?):
God willed for man to fall from Grace. (Friend’s Calvinist-heritage premise)
Man’s fall from Grace was evil.(my premise)
Therefore God willed evil.

I think you can replace willed with ‘want’ and it is the same conclusion. But keep giving me pointers/objections. I like crafting!



Thank you! I will use this summary.


And this is the problem with Thomistic reprobation. While Thomistic/Banezan predestination is acceptable to Catholic thought, there is no good way to account for reprobation (a negative unconditioned reprobation is little different from Calvinist double-predestination) and it can’t be reconciled with the universal desire for salvation.

For this reason, I lean more towards the Molinist view of the whole affair.


To get to the crux of any matter with Calvinists, after going round and round on faith and works and free will etc… you will end up at the nature of the atonement i.e their penal substitutionary atonement. Their whole theology comes from the concept that Jesus suffered damnation in their place so he “paid in full” for their sins in a way that we can not agree with.

For me, not only is it the cornerstone of their theological system it is where their weak spot is, scripturally, theologically, intellectually, logically and in any other way you can think.

So start there and be done with it. :thumbsup:


I think that less and until Calvinism accepts that man was Created in God’s Image and Likeness, hence given free will, any argument/exegesis to the contrary would be rejected.

…consider how Jehovah Witnesses view Scriptures (other than what is claimed as altered translations) they make Jesus an angel and reject anything that demonstrates His Divinity, even when it is the Father Himself Calling the Son, God.

The ridicule John 1 as “incomprehensible” (Word being God, existing with God, and alongside of God) while augmenting anything they consider “proof” of their theology (regardless how skewed their interpretations may be) demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the Word; yet, they embrace their theology with abandonment.

I would consider the task at hand being able to demonstrate that man was Created with free will and, as attested by Scriptures, through his own free will man chooses to obey or reject God.

Maran atha!



…but isn’t St. Thomas Aquinas in fact stating that God Predestines man to Salvation while allowing man’s free will to determine to choose God and Salvation or to reject God and God’s Gift of Salvation?

It is not the same to state that God predestines some to Salvation and some to damnation!

Maran atha!



As a Dutch Reformed I would agree with the post by SyCarl. In summary how I understand it that part of Calvinism

  1. Man was created in God’s image just like someone posted,
  2. Man had total free will at creation (Thus any argument relating to man before the fall cannot contradict Calvinism,)
  3. Man sinned out of free will
  4. This led to the fall of man and into a state of total depravity and became a slave to sin.
    The fall of man is the main point here.

I would advise to study Calvinism a bit more. Even if just to know where they come from. It is not that easy to just give a verse and that will convince a Calvinist. Calvin’s work **Institutes of the Christian Religion ** is agreed by many non-Calvinists, that it cannot easily be refuted by Scripture. Remember Calvin was a lawyer, and his work has very little (if any depending on who you ask) holes in that can be easily refuted by scripture.

There is no one verse that can be used to say “The devil is the author of evil” although many probable ones as posted before. There are however also numerous verses that could be used by Calvinists which is also thought provoking. Do some research to see what it’s based on.

Some that may shed light on the basis
Acts 4:26-27 - Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. (This to me is a very interesting one)

Ephesians 1:5 - Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will

Ephesians 1:11 - In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

Read the entire Ephesians 1 to see context.


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