Thursday, October 20, 2011

Does it Make God a Moral Monster if He Ordains All that Comes to Pass?


One of the major premises of Roger Olson's new book "Against Calvinism" is his declaration that classic Reformed doctrine of meticulous providence makes God into a moral monster, or worse, indistinguishable from the devil. He asserts that the Calvinist cannot consistently affirm that God ordains all that comes to pass, including the wicked acts of men, without also making God the author of sin.

Does it follow? Not in the least. The charge that it makes God a moral monster if the God of Scripture ordains all things, even the wicked acts of men, rests ultimately on the assumption that unless we can explain his actions then we may sit in judgment upon Him. In other words, the charge rests purely upon rationalism and extra-biblical logic. We acknowledge that we cannot explain all of God's secret acts since God has chosen not to reveal many things about Himself. But one very prominent feature of the Bible is that it frequently declares that God meticulously ordains all that comes to pass (Eph 1:11) AND that men are responsible for their actions. One major example sticks out: the greatest sin ever committed by men in history -- the crucifixion of Jesus ---when the Apostle Peter, preaching at Pentecost declares:

"...this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men." (Acts 2:23)

and two chapters later in Acts it again says:

"...both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." (Acts 4:27-28)

The Bible itself testifies, in plain language, that God ordained evil men to crucify Jesus. Yet "lawless men" are 100% responsible for carrying it out. So those who embrace the Bible as authoritative need to be able to develop a theology which fits that into their view. While you may not understand it, you must yield to what the Scripture teaches regarding God's meticulous hand of providence in all things, and His blamelessness in doing them.

The fatal flaw in Olson's argument flows mostly from his insistence that Calvinists must somehow explain this philosophically or else we are being inconsistent, or worse, make God into a monster.

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