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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

Answering critics of predestination

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

A Refutation of the Calumnies Generally, But Unjustly, Urged Against This Doctrine

1. When the human mind hears these things, as stated in the previous chapter, its petulance breaks all restraint. Many would admit election in such a way as to deny that anyone is reprobated [given over to sin]. We say, whom God passes by, therefore, He reprobates, and from no other cause than His determination to exclude them from the inheritance which He predestines for His children. Unlike the persons I have mentioned, Paul never strives to excuse God. He only declares that it is unlawful for a thing formed to quarrel with his Maker.

Nay but, O man, who are you that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? (Romans 9:20, KJVER).

Christ declares it this way, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15:13).

2. Another objection put forward by our adversaries is, by what right the Lord is angry with His creatures, who had not provoked Him by any previous offence. For that to devote to destruction whom He pleases, is more like the caprice of a tyrant than the lawful sentence of a judge. We reply: How presumptuous it is for them to inquire into the causes of the Divine will; which is, in fact, the cause of everything that exists. For the will of God is the highest rule of justice. When it is inquired, why the Lord did so, the answer must be, Because He would. But if you go further, and ask why He so determined, you are in search of something greater than the will of God, which can never be found. Now, we represent not God as lawless. Plato says, laws are necessary to men, who are the subjects of evil desires. But the will of God is, not only pure from every fault, but the highest standard of perfection, even the law of all laws.

Categories
Belief in God Biblical doctrines

Predestination: Did God choose to save some?

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

Eternal Election, Or God’s Predestination of Some to Salvation, and of Others to Destruction

1. The Gospel not being equally preached to all, and among those to whom it is preached not always finding the same reception, this leads us to inquire into the doctrine of God’s eternal election. In the opinion of many, this is a perplexing subject; for they consider nothing more unreasonable, than that of the common mass of mankind, some should be predestinated to salvation and others to destruction. On our part, we shall never understand fully our salvation as flowing from the fountain of God’s free mercy, until we know His eternal election. The knowledge of God’s eternal election is productive of the most delightful benefit; but ignorance of this principle detracts from the Divine glory, and diminishes real humility. According to Paul, what is so necessary to be known, can never be known, unless God, without regard to works, chooses those whom He has decreed. “At this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:5, 6).