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Calvinism, Evil and Creation


Calvinism: Where God is so sovereign, he can’t choose to give people free will

Evil isn’t necessary, whether Adam or Eve sinned or not, God’s plan of the incarnation and Glorifying humanity would still be active. Same ending, different route.

God’s immutability doesn’t mean that this world is the only one possible. That implies that not only does God’s nature lay out the options God has, but it also determines which option God chooses. And since on this view, the nature not the person is the determiner of action, and the nature is eternally the way it is; then creation would have to be an eternal generation. For there could be no change in the nature that brought it that at one moment it wasn’t determining God to create, and the next moment it was.

Basically this position is:

State of nature determines choices taken.

State of nature is immutable and eternal.

Therefore the decision to act in creating is eternal and immutable.

Therefore Creation becomes eternal.

But if God did not create, it would mean a different state of nature.

Since state of nature determines choice.

This is impossible for God.

Therefore Creation is necessary.

Therefore Evil is necessary.

The fact that God is free in a Libertarian manner, is an important part of the argument against a necessary universe. Dr William Lane Craig, one of the top Christian Philosopher’s and debaters of the modern era, puts it this way

“For if the cause of the universe were an impersonal set of necessary and sufficient conditions, it could not exist without it’s effects. The only way for the cause to be timeless and changeless but for its effect to originate de novo a finite time ago, is for the cause to be a personal agent who freely chooses to bring about an effect without antecedent determining conditions. A finite time ago a Creator endowed with free will could have acted to bring the world into being at that moment. In this way, God could exist changelessly and eternally sans the universe, but choose to create the world at a first moment. By ‘choose’ one need not mean that the Creator changes His mind about the decision to create, but that he freely and eternally intends to create a world with a beginning. By exercising his causal power, he brings it about that a world with a temporal beginning comes to exist. So the cause is eternal, but the effect is not.” (A Biblical, Philosophical, And Scientific Exploration by Paul Copan and William Lane Craig).

But by making “an impersonal set of necessary and sufficient conditions” (the essence) the determiner of God’s choice, the same problem as above arises. Calvinism tends then to make evil necessary by virtue of God’s immutable essence. Or by saying God had to decree evil for His Glory (thus making the Glory of God contingent on evil).

As Trinitarians it is important to make the distinction between nature and person. Libertarian free will doesn’t mean that people act outside their nature, it simply means that the nature may qualify or circumscribe the possible options, but it is the *Agent* that ultimately decides which option to take.

Thus God was truly free to create or not create.


For a more exhaustive post: Thinking Out Loud: Compatibilism and Necessity

On Free Will: Natures and Persons: Grace in Reformed Theology and Eastern Orthodoxy


2 comments on “Calvinism, Evil and Creation

  1. Pingback: Original Sin | Irish With A Tan

  2. Pingback: Crossfires: Sincere Questions | Irish With A Tan

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