Playing a Game – Part 3
So then, Not only do we find that the Calvinists/Reformed adherents believe that God intended for evil and sin to exist, but that He intentionally created a person who is highly intelligent, beautiful, powerful, very capable in music, with an unparalleled ability to persuade: for the express purpose of rebelling against God. Moreover, this was done so that the glory of God, His holiness, righteousness, mercy, longsuffering, lovingkindness and grace would be glorious in its contrast to the wickedness and evil of the creature(s) who rebelled.
So are we here to understand that God cannot be glorious without some wicked, evil thing to contrast His Righteousness and Holiness against?
Are we also to understand, as Jonathan Edwards tells us:
So evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world; because the creature’s happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect.
And as Joseph Smith confirmed, concerning man:
2 Nephi, Chapter 2 (Book of Mormon)
22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
If we compare the thought pattern of Jonathan Edwards (and John Piper, for he agrees fully with Edwards) to that of Joseph Smith, the author of the Book of Mormon, we can plainly see that both men believe that it is not possible for knowledge of righteousness and holiness to exist and be understood, (and even going so far as stating righteousness and holiness cannot exist) without the existence of evil and wickedness. Both men plainly state that “evil is necessary” either by direct statement or by reasoning, like Smith’s “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” in which it is plain that we could never know, nor appreciate the righteousness and holiness of God, and the joy such knowledge imparts — except we become evil wicked creatures, upon which “God” could bestow “his” mercy. Indeed, both men also acknowledge that man was innocent, but without comprehension of the happiness and joy of the knowledge of “God’s mercy.”
However, the most egregious part comes from the statements of both men, in which they say all this was accomplished:
“in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.”
“Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed;”.
This John Piper agrees to totally by stating:
“Rather he “wills that evil come to pass . . . that good may come of it.””
Which is also no different that Baal Shem Tov’s:
“Nevertheless, evil that exists has an inner power giving it life. And this [inner power] is total goodness. So if you look at the inner aspect of evil, you will only see the good in it.”
This is really no more that the philosophy of “Unity of Opposites” and is expressed in various different ways, with artificial distinction, depending upon the perspective of the person. Under one philosophy it is called Taoism and is expressed thus:
The Yin Yang symbol:
This is a well known Taoist symbol. “It represents the balance of opposites in the universe. When they are equally present, all is calm. When one is outweighed by the other, there is confusion and disarray.” ((Taoism))
And if the person’s point of view is materialistic, then it is expressed this way:
Dialectical Materialism (the root of Communism)
Fredrick Engels — Dialectics of Nature ((Dialectical Materialism))
“Motion is the mode of existence of matter. Never anywhere has there been matter without motion, or motion without matter, nor can there be.”
Though the words may vary, and the focus different, all that has been done with Augustinian/Calvinist/Reformed/Sovereign Grace/Primitive Baptist doctrine is take the idea and thought processes of the ancient philosophy of “unity of opposites” and try to make the Scripture conform to it.
Should we be so surprised? After all, Augustine, though raised to be a “Christian” chose a heathen system of belief as his own (underlining and emphasis mine):
Unfortunately, his faith, as well as his morals, was to pass though a terrible crisis. In this same year, 373, Augustine and his friend Honoratus fell into the snares of the Manichæans. It seems strange that so great a mind should have been victimized by Oriental vapourings, synthesized by the Persian Mani (215-276) into coarse, material dualism, and introduced into Africa scarcely fifty years previously. Augustine himself tells us that he was enticed by the promises of a free philosophy unbridled by faith; by the boasts of the Manichæans, who claimed to have discovered contradictions in Holy Writ; and, above all, by the hope of finding in their doctrine a scientific explanation of nature and its most mysterious phenomena. Augustine’s inquiring mind was enthusiastic for the natural sciences, and the Manichæans declared that nature withheld no secrets from Faustus, their doctor. Moreover, being tortured by the problem of the origin of evil, Augustine, in default of solving it, acknowledged a conflict of two principles. And then, again, there was a very powerful charm in the moral irresponsibility resulting from a doctrine which denied liberty and attributed the commission of crime to a foreign principle.
Once won over to this sect, Augustine devoted himself to it with all the ardour of his character; he read all its books, adopted and defended all its opinions. His furious proselytism drew into error his friend Alypius and Romanianus, his Mæcenas of Tagaste, the friend of his father who was defraying the expenses of Augustine’s studies. It was during this Manichæan period that Augustine’s literary faculties reached their full development, and he was still a student at Carthage when he embraced error.
His studies ended, he should in due course have entered the forum litigiosum, but he preferred the career of letters, and Possidius tells us that he returned to Tagaste to “teach grammar.” The young professor captivated his pupils, one of whom, Alypius, hardly younger than his master, loath to leave him after following him into error, was afterwards baptized with him at Milan, eventually becoming Bishop of Tagaste, his native city. But Monica deeply deplored Augustine’s heresy and would not have received him into her home or at her table but for the advice of a saintly bishop, who declared that “the son of so many tears could not perish.” Soon afterwards Augustine went to Carthage, where he continued to teach rhetoric. His talents shone to even better advantage on this wider stage, and by an indefatigable pursuit of the liberal arts his intellect attained its full maturity. Having taken part in a poetic tournament, he carried off the prize, and the Proconsul Vindicianus publicly conferred upon him the corona agonistica. ((St. Augustine of Hippo, From his birth to his conversion (354-386) ))
And of course, when converted, his “conversion” was to utterly corrupt Catholicism. But even the Catholics admit:
Augustine gradually became acquainted with Christian doctrine, and in his mind the fusion of Platonic philosophy with revealed dogmas was taking place. ((St. Augustine of Hippo, From his conversion to his episcopate (386-395) ))
To be continued . . .