Playing a Game – Part 1

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One of the most prominent features of Calvinist doctrine is their view of the “Sovereignty of God.” It is an interesting view that is best described in their own words, and then carried out to its logical conclusion using the express statements of Scripture, if we are to truly understand the full ramifications of who they declare God to be. Those holding Calvinist/Reformed theology are not shy concerning their view of the Sovereignty of God, and spare no opportunity to put it in your face. The problem is, their view of sovereignty and how it relates to God raises some troubling issues.

In addressing this, the following quotes from Calvinists themselves are used so there is no mistake about what they believe.

That Calvin regards everything that occurs as embraced in the eternal decree of God lies on the face of his teaching at every point where he finds occasion to reflect on this subject. While repudiating the Stoic doctrine of necessity, arising from a perpetual intertwining and confused series of causes contained in nature, he is insistent that God is the arbiter and governor of all things “who, of his own wisdom, from the remotest eternity, decreed what he would do, and now by his own power executes what he has decreed. Whence we assert, that, not only the heaven and the earth and inanimate creatures, but also the deliberations and volitions of men are so governed by his providence that they are directed exactly to their destined end”3 and thus nothing happens fortuitously or contingently. “The will of God is the supreme and first cause of all things, because nothing happens but by his command or permission.” And in his extensive tract on The Eternal Predestination of God, dedicated on January 1, 1552, he says to the same effect that “the hand of God no less rules the internal affections than it precedes the external acts, and that God does not perform by the hand of men those things which he has decreed without first working in their hearts the very will which precedes their acts.”1

We should note from Calvin, quoted by John Murray, the following:

and that God does not perform by the hand of men those things which he has decreed without first working in their hearts the very will which precedes their acts.

And again from Aaron Curry:

Aaron: Ok Paul, I’m going to answer this one last time, then maybe you can stop avoiding my prior emails and answer them. People make decisions for themselves. OK Paul, Good. People are responsible for the decisions they make, Ok, Good. Every decision a person makes good or evil fulfills God’s will. GOD IS BEHIND EVERY DECISION A HUMAN BEING MAKES. IT IS LIKE SLIPPING A GLOVE OVER YOUR HAND.
THE GREATEST IDOL IN AMERICAN CULTURE IS THE IDOL OF PERSONAL SELF-DETERMINATION. PERSONAL CHOICE IS CHERISED ABOVE GOD. PERHAPS THE REASON IT IS SO HARD TO TEACH THE BIBLICAL DOCRTINE OF PREDESTINATION IS BECAUSE TO PREACH THIS DOCTRINE IS TO PIERCE THE VERY HEART OF MAN’S REBELLION. ” IN WE WERE CHOSEN, HAVING BEEN PREDESTINED ACCORDING TO THE PLAN OF HIM WHO WORKS OUT EVERYTHING IN CONFORMITY WITH THE PURPOSE OD HIS WILL” (EPHESIANS 1;11) WHO DECIDES? GOD DOES, AND HE DOESN’T CARE HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT. GOD IS HOLY. GOD IS SOVEREIGN. GOD IS GOD. BOW THE KNEE AND FEAR THE LORD. FALL BEFORE HIM AND WORSHIP.2

We should note the following statements

“People make decisions for themselves. OK Paul, Good. People are responsible for the decisions they make,”

And:

“WHO DECIDES? GOD DOES, AND HE DOESN’T CARE HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT.”

And again:

“Ok, Good. Every decision a person makes good or evil fulfills God’s will.”

Now, I could go on and quote literally dozens of other Reformed/Calvinist theologians, writers and adherents, but it would be utterly repetitious. They all say the same thing concerning the Sovereignty of God. Thus, this is a settled doctrine and accepted by all Calvinists.

So then, we must accept that the adherents of Calvinist/Reformed doctrine believe God ordained, commanded and controlled all the following:

Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. (Isaiah 14:9-20)

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (Ezekiel 28:11-19)

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:1-9)

All three of the passages above are about Lucifer and his fall from the position of covering cherub. In so doing, Lucifer took with him a third of the host of angels. Moreover, according to the Calvinists, the following also was ordained of God:

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea , hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons . And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:1-8)

And, let us fully consider the foregoing along with these statements:

Aaron: God is sovereign over all things and decisions.(Ephesians 1:11) Did you know that God has ordained every step and decision of our life? (Psalm 139:16)3

In Genesis 45:5 and 50:20, God plans the attempted murder and enslavement of Joseph so that God can eventually save millions of people from famine. Joseph tells his brothers that their paln was wicked, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.4

God has ordained every step of your life Paul, every bad and good decision, everything. He has your life written in a book.5

Aaron: Yes, God ordained sin, he is not the author of it, but he let it happen. Let me ask you this Paul. Before the fall, Adam and Eve did not have the ability to sin, but Adam and Eve chose to rebell(sic) and sin against God. They had no sinful nature, they were perfect. How did they have the ability to sin if they do not have the abilty to do so?(No sinful natures)6

And let us consider the meaning of the word “ordain”:

4309 proorizo { pro-or-id’-zo}
from 4253 and 3724; TDNT – 5:456,728; v
AV – predestinate 4, determine before 1, ordain 1; 6
GK – 4633 { προορίζω }
1) to predetermine, decide beforehand
2) in the NT of God decreeing from eternity
3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand

Let us now consider the ramifications of what the Calvinists claim about the sovereignty of God, and its impact upon the above passages of Scripture that deal directly with the fall of Lucifer, who became Satan. . . and all events subsequent to that.

To be continued . . .

  1. Calvin on the Sovereignty of God, John Murray
  2. E-mail from Aaron dated 26/11/2008
  3. e-mail from Aaron dated 26/11/2008
  4. ibid
  5. ibid
  6. ibid
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