In his effort to exalt God’s sovereignty and power, the Calvinist has made a serious error. By attributing every thought, action, and event to God as the primary cause, he has made God the ultimate cause of evil. This is the only logical conclusion to the doctrine of Calvinism. Consider what the Calvinist, John Feinberg, concludes:
Sometimes it would be easier not to be a Calvinist. An intellectual price tag comes with any conceptual scheme, but the one that comes with Calvinism seems beyond the resources of human intelligence to pay. Calvinists hold views that appear at very least counterintuitive. This is especially so with respect to Calvinist accounts of God’s sovereign control in relation to human freedom and moral responsibility for evil.
If Calvinists are right about divine sovereignty, there seems to be little room for human freedom. If freedom goes, so does human moral responsibility for sin. Worst of all, if Calvinists are right, it appears that God decides that there will be sin and evil in our world, maybe even brings it about that there is such evil, and yet, according to Calvinists, is not morally responsible for any of it. We are.
If this is Calvinism’s God, Calvinism seems not only intellectually but also religiously bankrupt. Who would worship this God?
Scripture teaches that God hates the idea that He is responsible for sin. Revelation 2:15 states, “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” According to Brown’s Dictionary of the Bible, the Nicolaitans “imputed their wickedness to God as the cause …” Man errs when he lays the responsibility for his sin at God’s doorstep.
Calvinists and the Nicolaitans have very different systems of belief. Nevertheless, they both conclude that God is the ultimate cause of their wickedness. Jesus Christ makes it clear in His letter to the church at Ephesus that this is an evil doctrine. Revelation 2:16 says, “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”
It is interesting to note that the manner in which Jesus will fight against this doctrine is with the sword of His mouth. In other words, Jesus will use His Word—the Bible—to refute this doctrine. Proper biblical interpretation will never lead a person to believe any doctrine which necessitates that God be responsible for his sin.
Calvinism is nothing more than man’s philosophy. Paul reminds us in Galatians 1:11–12 that the true gospel message is not the result of man’s thinking, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” This is the true danger of Calvinism. Ultimately, its errors stretch beyond the question of sin and into the gospel message itself.
Calvinism teaches that man is dead in his trespasses and sins. Because of this, he is incapable of understanding the truth of the gospel, doing good, or even seeking after God. However, God has chosen a select group of individuals called the elect. For these people, God regenerates their spirit, substitutes a good will from Himself, provides them with faith, and effectually saves their soul. It was only for those chosen individuals that Jesus died on the cross, and it is only those elect who will experience salvation. All others are left to remain in their depravity without hope of salvation. In fact, they were born unto this fate.* Calvinists believe that God is capable of saving all mankind, but He chooses instead to only save some because of the “kind intention of His will.”
This is different from the gospel message that Jesus declared in Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Jesus does not place any restrictions on who is capable of partaking in the salvation He freely offers to all mankind.
- John Feinberg, God, Freedom and Evil in Calvinist Thinking, Source: Bryson, The Dark Side of Calvinism, 17. ↵
- Bron, A Dictionary of the Holy Bible, 365. ↵
- “[T]he Lord both corrects, or rather destroys, our depraved will, and also substitutes a good will from himself.” (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book I, Ch. 3, Sect. 7.) ↵
- Piper, Sermon Series on Hebrews, 1996. ↵
- “Now, since the arrangement of all things is in the hand of God, since to Him belongs the disposal of life and death, He arranges all things by His sovereign counsel, in such a way that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify Him by their destruction.” (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, c. 23, Sect. 6.) ↵
- Dave Hunt, Debating Calvinism, 51. ↵