Thursday, December 01, 2011

Philosophical Determinism vs. Valley of Slaughter

An extreme Calvinist writes ... “In biblical Calvinism, God predestines every event. That includes mental events.”


The Bible offers ... “Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.” (Jer 19:4-6 AV)

I am curious how God predestines a mental event that was never formed in His mind. This is not a challenge to His omniscience or even his decreed permissive will. Instead I call into question the conflict between hard determinst philosophy that has the LORD determining the very thoughts of men and the scriptural evidence that opposes such musings. In order to predestine, the thought has to be formed by the one decreeing such thoughts. This is a separate and more involved accountability than permissive will that is decreed via omniscience through the workings of a freely willed soul. Either the thought came into the mind of God (speaking anthropomorphically) satisfying a criteria for predestining anything or it did not. The Bible states it did not. The extreme Calvinist claims it does. Which shall we believe?

7 comments:

Pumice said...

It would seem to me that if God predetermines thoughts and the thoughts are evil, then God would be the source of evil.

Illogical, irrational, unbiblical.

Or in one word, Calvinism

Grace and peace

Toyin O. said...

Calvinism sounds like a very complicated gospel:)

biblicalrealist said...

What do you think of Geisler's categorization of extreme Calvinists as correlating to the what he calls the extreme Arminianism of Open Theism? Do they both equally miss the traditional mark of the two systems?

Ken Hamrick

JesusSaves said...
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A.M. Mallett said...

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A.M. Mallett said...

Ken,
I am not a big fan of Geisler and in this case I think he is completely off base. "Extreme Calvinism" is a label I am usually uncomfortable with unless it relates to what would generally be considered "hyper-Calvinism". I think Geisler equates extreme Calvinism with hard determinist 5 point Calvinists. I would prefer to use the term radical Calvinism (of course I might change terms later, who knows).
However, I do not think there is an animal called "extreme Arminianism". Arminianism is not a systematic theology in the same manner as Calvinism although Arminians could be rather dogmatic in support of FACTS in opposition to TULIP. More importantly, there is no relationship between Arminianism and Open Theism. An Open Theist would not be considered an Arminian, at least not in the classical sense. If I understand Geisler correctly he seems to be suggesting that the logical end of Calvinism is "extreme" hard or divine determinism and that the logical end of Arminian theology is Openness. I think he is probably correct on the former point and certainly incorrect on the latter.

A.M. Mallett said...

Toyin,
Calvinism or at least the deterministic aspects of it strike me as an unnecessary complication to the faith of Christ. Some Calvinists will claim Calvinism is the Gospel (Charles Spurgeon was one of those) but I believe they confuse the Gospel for the "mechanics" of theology. I would state the same thing if an Arminian claimed Arminianism to be the Gospel.