Section two of the second chapter is called: “Evil spirit. — Natural state of man.” Wilberforce begins this section with the following:
“But the word of God instructs us that we have to contend not only with our own natural depravity, but with the power of darkness, the evil spirit, who rules in the hearts of the wicked, and whose dominion we learn from scripture to be so general, as to entitle him to the denomination of ‘the prince of this world.’ There cannot be a stronger proof of the difference which exists between the religious system of the scriptures, and that of the bulk of nominal Christians, than the proof which is afforded by the subject now in question” (Wilberforce).
The heresy of Wilberforce concerning “natural depravity” has already been addressed in the previous post, but one question that comes to mind is this: Is Wilberforce asserting that the bulk of nominal Christians are unregenerate children of disobedience in whom the evil spirit rules and works? It appears he is.
“But it is not sufficient to assent to the doctrine, we must also feel it” (Wilberforce; italic emphasis Wilberforce–CD).
What should I say to this? Should I say that if one CLAIMS to “assent to the doctrine” but does not keep His commandments (i.e., does not “feel” it), he is a liar and the truth is not in him (cf. 1 John 2:4)? Or, should I just say that Wilberforce employs the word “feel” in a mystically heretical sense in order to DENY that everyone who assents to the doctrine of the gospel will be saved (cf. Romans 1:16)?
Section three in the second chapter is: “Corruption of human nature. — Objection”:
“…some more bold objector faces about and stands at bay, endeavoring to justify what he cannot deny,
‘Whatever I am,’ he contends, ‘I am what my Creator made me. I inherit a nature, you yourself confess, depraved, and prone to evil: how, then, can I withstand the temptations to sin, by which I am environed? If this plea cannot establish my innocence, it must excuse, or at least extenuate, my guilt. Frail and weak as I am, a Being of infinite justice and goodness will never try me by a rule which, however equitable in the case of creatures of a higher nature, is altogether disproportionate to mine.’
Let not my readers be alarmed! The writer is not going to enter into the discussion of the grand question concerning the origin of moral evil, or to attempt to reconcile its existence and consequent punishment with the acknowledged attributes and perfections of God. These are questions, of which, if one may judge from the little success with which the acutest and profoundest reasoners have been ever labouring to solve the difficulties they contain, the full and clear comprehension is above the intellect of man” (Wilberforce).
Wilberforce’s “bold objector” is essentially asking God “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:20). Most who call themselves Calvinists would say that God did NOT make you like this but that you were “left to your own devices” and thus made yourself like this. But that is NOT what God through the apostle Paul taught. The teaching is rather, that not only did God make you like this He has the power and authority to make you like this (Romans 9:21).
Wilberforce will not enter into the discussion of one of the easiest and simplest theological questions in existence. God actively caused moral evil to enter into His world that the elect and reprobate would be equally ruined and undone, equally guilty and defiled, and equally in need of a righteousness that neither could produce or be enabled to produce. He actively caused moral evil to enter into His world that He might be glorified in the Person of His Son by saving a particular people from their sins.
Wilberforce asserts that even those skilled in theology cannot plumb the supposedly “mysteriously hidden” depths of this truth. The Bible is the Word of God and since Wilberforce INSULTS the clarity of the Bible on this issue he necessarily INSULTS God Himself who has CLEARLY spoken in His Word on this issue. God HAS spoken on this issue. Wilberforce says God HAS NOT spoken on this issue. Let God be TRUE and Wilberforce a LIAR.
“We should probably do better, if we were to endeavor rather to draw him off from those dark and slippery regions (slippery, in truth, they are to every human foot), and to contend with him, where we might tread with firmness and freedom, on sure ground, and in the light of day…and we might conclude, with fairly putting it to him, whether all this weight of evidence were to be overbalanced by one difficulty, on a subject so confessedly high and mysterious; considering, too, that he must allow, we see but a part (Oh, how small a part!) of the universal creation of God, and that our faculties are wholly incompetent to judge of the schemes of his infinite wisdom” (Wilberforce).
Wilberforce appears to be offering professing Christians a brief course in apologetics concerning how they are to give an answer to the “avowed sceptic” regarding “the grand question concerning the origin of moral evil,” and the “attempt to reconcile its existence and consequent punishment with the acknowledged attributes and perfections of God.”
The pungent stench of Wilberforce’s false piety & false humility is extremely nauseating. Wilberforce is a wicked, rebellious, pseudo-pious potsherd who is unable to “reconcile” God’s justice and righteousness with the consequent punishment of those vessels of wrath whom He made morally evil. If Wilberforce were being honest he would have to say that God is being unrighteous and unjust when He finds fault with and punishes those whom He has made evil (cf. Romans 9:18-22). What Wilberforce says is common parlance among today’s fashionable Calvinist who with great swelling words of vanity makes this Godless endeavor of hiding the obvious fact that he is Paul’s tumultuous teapot, short and stout, shaking his handle, and emitting seditious steam from his spout:
“So, then, to whom He desires, He shows mercy. And to whom He desires, He hardens. You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will? Yes, rather, O man, who are you answering against God? Shall the thing formed say to the One forming it, Why did You make me like this? Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, out of the one lump to make one vessel to honor, and one to dishonor? But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction, and that He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory, whom He also called, not only us, of Jews, but also out of nations” (Romans 9:18-24).