Beatification Of The Human Will

Boettner now presents the various objections that are commonly urged against the Reformed doctrine of predestination. In chapter XV he presents the first objection that it is fatalism:

“Much misunderstanding arises through confusing the Christian Doctrine of Predestination with the heathen doctrine of Fatalism. There is, in reality, only one point of agreement between the two, which is, that both assume the absolute certainty of all future events” (p. 205).

As we have seen in MANY previous posts there is a WORLD of difference between the “Christian Doctrine of Predestination” and the “Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.” One difference (among many) being the difference between a partially sovereign idol making future events certain by “letting go” of his sovereignty and the True and Living God of the Bible making future events certain by actively causing and controlling His creatures.

In the “Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” the Calvinistic idol “efficaciously permits” the sinful creature to make the future event certain. In this idolatrous scheme it is clearly the creature and NOT the “creator” who is making the future event certain.

In the “Christian Doctrine of Predestination” the True and Living God actively causes (not “permits”) the creature to perform specific acts (including specific acts of sin), thus making the future event certain.

Here is how one person objected several years ago to my explanation of NOT the “Reformed Doctrine of Predestination,” BUT RATHER the “Christian Doctrine of Predestination” (in the context of preaching the gospel to her):

“What is the point of living if I am already predestined one way or the other?”

This person may not even know what “fatalism” is but she was confusing the Biblical doctrine of predestination with it. By “one way or the other?” she was speaking of being predestined to heaven or to hell. Her objection implies that the END — whether that “end” be heaven or hell — will be effected regardless of the MEANS, so that no matter what she does, the same outcome will result.

Evidently in her muddled mind nothing (no effort on her part) matters since everything is predetermined by God anyway. So why do anything? Or, to repeat her objection:

“What is the point of living if I am already predestined one way or the other?”

Again, her objection implies that God predestines things in such a way that the same outcome (heaven or hell in this case) will result “no matter what she does,” or regardless of means. In Biblical predestination it “matters” whether or not she believes the gospel since the relationship between her believing and going to heaven and her not believing and going to hell has been immutably predetermined by God. And of course whether she believes or not is also predetermined and actively controlled by God.

If Christ died for her God will cause her to believe the gospel before she dies, and if Christ did not die for her God will cause her to remain in disbelief of the gospel till her dying breath. The “point” of her living (as all the sinful sons and daughters of Adam) is to glorify God “one way or the other.” Romans 9 speaks quite clearly to that in the case of Jacob and Esau and in Moses and Pharaoh. The “point” of living for the vessels of mercy and for the vessels of wrath is that they may glorify God — “one way or the other.”

Back to Boettner’s beatification of Calvinism’s stout idol of free will that challenges the Lord by telling Him that He will NOT actively cause His creatures to sin since He could not find fault with them if He did that (cf. Romans 9:18-19):

“According to the doctrine of Predestination the freedom and responsibility of man are fully preserved. In the midst of certainty God has ordained human liberty” (pp. 205-206).

According to the “Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” the freedom of their “creator” (i.e., idol) is NOT preserved since it’s been taken away and given to the creature in order that the creature may (supposedly) be responsible for his acts of sin. To adapt Boettner’s comments with those of the wicked Westminster Confession of Faith:

“According to the ‘Reformed Doctrine of Predestination’ violence is offered to the free will of the ‘creator’ and a portion of his sovereign liberty has been snatched away and given to the ‘creature’ in order that his ‘god-like responsibility’ may be established.”

But if these idolaters were being truly consistent with themselves this kind of freedom would preclude their responsibility to God entirely. If they were truly free in the way they wish to be — that is, free from God’s sovereign and active control — then they would NOT be “responsible” for they would be God!

“Freedom” or “free” is a relative term — we are “free” relative to something. But are we free relative to God our Maker? The Bible answers an unequivocal “NO,” while Boettner and most Calvinists answer an audacious “YES.”

These tumultuous teapots have taken it upon themselves to fight with the Potter because He made them “like this” (Romans 9:20). They desire to have a “hands off god” or a “god with no hands” rather than the Biblical God whose hands raise up certain people in order that He might display His power and wrath in them by unconditionally and actively hardening them and causing them to sin that He may justly punish them.

“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).

“Woe to him who fights with the One who formed him! A potsherd among the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to its former, What are you making? Or does your work say, He has no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9)

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