Friday, August 31, 2012

The root of hyper-Calvinism?

There is an interesting theological problem that crops up only amongst Calvinists. You know what  I mean. The Arminian is largely immune from it because they really don’t have a high regard for God’s authority over all things. At the end of the day they declare they are responsible for their destiny and nobody but nobody has any other say.
However, the Calvinist, in seeking to be faithful to the Biblical record, has to be very careful to not overstep the bounds of Scripture with regards to God’s nature. The concept of Sovereignty is true and can be liberating, but it can just as easily straitjacket and blind. In seeking to understand Sovereignty the Calvinist constructs two ideas:
God cannot desire what He does not command.
God cannot command what He does not desire.
When adopted as the guiding principle for understanding the person of God this of course necessarily means that the non-elect are doomed without hope or help, and the five point brand of Calvinism is the only one that makes logical sense.
If you argue that this is not the case they are going to look down on you “you really don’t get it?”
Or, the 5 pointer will point out that you have no regard for Scripture or the Sovereignty of God. While it looks like the in house Calvinist fighting is over the “L” I think that it’s rather over this hidden presupposition. 
After all, how can God be all powerful, all supreme, and make a command that He cares nothing for? If He says “Do not steal” then He really wants you not to steal. If not, He’s insane. If He wants you to believe, then He’s going to make sure that in the end you believe. Does He not do this very thing for the elect? Therefore the elect are positive proof that God has no regard for the non-elect.
Once you admit these two principles however, the argument automatically comes apart. There are many things that God demands that go unfulfilled. God demands sinless perfection from us, deserves it, desires it, and does not get it. Is the Calvinist really willing to say that God desires all things equally, that desire is really no more or less than command? The ancient thinkers made the difference between the secret will, and the revealed will of God precisely because of this obvious difficulty. I desire my daughter be happy, I do not command her to it, I lead her to it. In fact I command her to avoid things that would make her miserable, and in so doing I have proved that commands and desires are two very distinct things.
At least, that's where I was earlier this week. I'll let you know if it changes.

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