Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Arminius on Predestination (Part 5)

And why does Arminius reject the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination?  Because it goes against the character of God as He has revealed in the Bible.  As Dr. Roger Olson wrote, “The God of Calvinism is not much different from Satan.  Both want to destroy human beings but Satan just wants to destroy more of them than God does.”  While that may seem harsh, he is correct.  Arminius opposed the Calvinistic teaching regarding predestination because it made God unloving toward those made in His image.  If the truth of God’s sovereignty as taught by Calvinists is true then God renders certain all things including all evil and the fall of Man into sin.  Thus, God is the ultimate cause of all things including reprobation.  This alarms theologians such as Arminius or John Wesley and should us all.

VII. I affirm, that this doctrine is repugnant to the Nature of God, but particularly to those Attributes of his nature by which he performs and manages all things, his wisdom, justice, and goodness.

1. It is repugnant to his wisdom in three ways.

(1.) Because it represents God as decreeing something for a particular end [or purpose] which neither is nor can be good: which is, that God created something for eternal perdition to the praise of his justice.

(2.) Because it states, that the object which God proposed to himself by this Predestination, was, to demonstrate the glory of his mercy and justice: But this glory he cannot demonstrate, except by an act that is contrary at once to his mercy and his justice, of which description is that decree of God in which he determined that man should sin and be rendered miserable.

(3.) Because it changes and inverts the order of the two-fold wisdom of God, as it is displayed to us in the Scriptures. For it asserts, that God has absolutely predetermined to save men by the mercy and wisdom that are comprehended in the doctrine of the cross of Christ, without having foreseen this circumstance, that it was impossible for man (and that, truly, through his own fault,) to be saved by the wisdom which was revealed in the law and which was infused into him at the period of his creation: When the scripture asserts, on the contrary, that “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe;” that is, “by the doctrine of the cross, after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God.” (1 Cor. i, 21.)

2. It is repugnant to the justice of God, not only in reference to that attribute denoting in God a love of righteousness and a hatred of iniquity, but also in reference to its being a perpetual and constant desire in him to render to every one that which is his due.

(1.) It is at variance with the first of these ideas of justice in the following manner: Because it affirms, that God has absolutely willed to save certain individual men, and has decreed their salvation without having the least regard to righteousness or obedience: The proper inference from which, is, that God loves such men far more than his own justice [or righteousness.]

(2.) It is opposed to the second idea of his justice: Because it affirms, that God wishes to subject his creature to misery, (which cannot possibly have any existence except as the punishment of sin,) although, at the same time, he does not look upon [or consider] the creature as a sinner, and therefore as not obnoxious either to wrath or to punishment. This is the manner in which it lays down the position, that God has willed to give to the creature not only something which does not belong to it, but which is connected with its greatest injury. Which is another act directly opposed to his justice. In accordance, therefore, with this doctrine, God, in the first place, detracts from himself that which is his own, [or his right,] and then imparts to the creature what does not belong to it, to its great misery and unhappiness.

3. It is also repugnant to the Goodness of God. Goodness is an affection [or disposition] in God to communicate his own good so far as his justice considers and admits to be fitting and proper. But in this doctrine the following act is attributed to God, that, of himself, and induced to it by nothing external, he wills the greatest evil to his creatures; and that from all eternity he has pre-ordained that evil for them, or pre-determined to impart it to them, even before he resolved to bestow upon them any portion of good. For this doctrine states, that God willed to damn; and, that he might be able to do this, be willed to create; although creation is the first egress [or going forth] of God’s goodness towards his creatures. How vastly different are such statements as these from that expansive goodness of God by which he confers benefits not only on the unworthy, but also on the evil, the unjust and on those who are deserving of punishment, which trait of Divine beneficence in our Father who is in heaven, we are commanded to imitate. (Matt. v, 45.)

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/25/2012 at 10:04 AM

%d bloggers like this: