Friday, June 10, 2005


I was reading an argument about some Baptist preacher of the 18th century defending him against a charge of hypercalvinism. I think the term is a strawman that folks set up to knock down.

First a bit of disclaimer: I think I must make God as high as possible and I think I must treat mankind as responsible as possible. Sort that out as Calvinist or Arminian as you wilst.

What set me to write this screed was a definition of supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism. Presumably, if you're a hypercalvinist, you agree with one of those big words and disagree with the other. What do those words mean? They refer to whether the elect and reprobate were ordained as such before the idea of a lapsus, i.e. Fall, entered God's mind. This is an incredibly arrogant way of thinking. Mankind is actually going to sort out God's thought processes? Is God a man who decides matters or plans his decrees using processes like ours? Is God within time so that one can speak of ideas entering God's mind in sequence? If God is unbounded, how can an idea "enter" God's mind?

The questions above are absurd. Didn't someone once write that God's thoughts are above our thoughts?

That's the problem I have with a lot of arguments about divine sovereignty and "free will." Whenever someone tries to square the various theories in play, he often slanders God or diminishes human responsibility. For instance, I don't think God is powerless in the face of human decision making. God calls those who repent and believe and poor Mr. Almost Persuaded does not thwart God's plan by staying in the pew after the altar call plays the 95th verse of Just As I am.

On the other hand, God is not a man to exist within time, or to submit to the chain of cause and effect. When we contemplate God's role in freeing the will bound by sin, we slander him if we apply human categories to what he does, how he does it, and what was going on in God's head at the time.

No comments: