Controlling The System

Chapter 3 of Boettner’s book is entitled “God has a plan”:

“The very essence of consistent theism is that God would have an exact plan for the world, would foreknow the actions of all the creatures He proposed to create, and through His all-inclusive providence would control the whole system” (p. 23).

In view of the Calvinist semi-dualistic/semi-deistic notion of a “passive” or “permissive decree,” Boettner’s phrase “control the whole system” is equivocal. Boettner:

“Even the sinful acts of men are included in this plan. They are foreseen, permitted, and have their exact place. They are controlled and overruled for the divine glory” (p.24).

Boettner needs to explain how it is possible for God to permit specific “sinful acts of men” without actively causing these acts, and yet immutably decree them to happen in a way that is not merely an expression of divine prescience. If Boettner cannot explain this, then where does he differ from the Arminian on this point?

“The crucifixion of Christ, which is admittedly the worst crime in all human history, had, we are expressly told, its exact and necessary place in the plan (Acts 2:23; 4:28). This particular manner of redemption is not an expedient to which God was driven after being defeated and disappointed by the fall of man. Rather it is ‘according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord,’ Ephesians 3:11. Peter tells us that Christ as a sacrifice for sin was ‘foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world,’ 1 Peter 1:20. Believers were ‘chosen in Him before the foundation of the world’ (or from eternity), Ephesians 1:4” (p. 24).

In light of what Boettner writes above, one wonders why most Calvinists say that the entrance of sin into the world is an “inscrutable mystery.” That’s just pseudo-pious nonsense. Clearly it was because God desired to demonstrate His wrath and also to make known the riches of His mercy, grace, and love to a particular people, that He actively caused the Fall of Adam (cf. Romans 9:22-24; Ephesians 3:11; 1 Peter 1:20). Next Page (4)

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