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>God's sovereignty and glory

>Calvinists have claimed that God chooses specific men for salvation because he is sovereign. Those are saved to maximise God’s glory in his mercy, and others are damned to maximise God’s glory in his wrath.

These ideas, I think, are incorrect. The issue of sovereignty is a logical question. And damnation, while giving God glory, does so less than salvation.

I don’t think it possible for God to force anyone into heaven. Or rather force anyone to love him; heaven is the destination. So I think the Calvinists are incorrect about sovereignty over who is saved because it is not an question of sovereignty.

God can create, God can woo (prevenient grace), God can save, God can give eternal life, God can create freedom of the will.

None of which man can do.

However I think that if God creates us as beings that have the ability to choose or reject God then I think it logically impossible to force love from such a being.

To have such a high view of sovereignty that claims that God can make us love him, seems, to me, as preposterous as a high view of God’s omnipotence means he can make 2 + 2 = 5.

So I don’t think that non-Calvinists have a low view of God’s sovereignty, I think they have a more accurate one.

Further I think God does desire every single person go to heaven. I don’t think any have been created specifically for destruction. Neither are we created for redemption; rather for fellowship. Because of Adam’s choice we become estranged. God’s grace gives us a possible path back. Those who continually reject God’s drawing are handed over to destruction. They become unredeemable* objects of wrath whom God prepares for destruction based on our rejection of him.

It is theoretically possible that every person could choose God.

God does seek his own glory, but the Calvinists are incorrect about this being the reason for creating beings for damnation. Why? Because if we choose obedience and become objects of mercy, God gains even more glory.

God is glorified when he destroys the wicked.

God is glorified more when he shows mercy to the repentant wicked.

What of Romans 9?

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called,…

It is not that God creates beings solely so they can be destroyed and they have no choice to escape that destination. Rather they have insisted on wickedness, they have rejected God’s offer of mercy, therefore they are prepared for destruction. Given they are not redeemable, God uses them to maximise his glory in the view of the vessels of God’s mercy. God uses a bad situation for good.

If Calvinism was correct about God’s sovereignty then he would maximise his glory by saving everyone. That would bring him more glory than damning some.

*We are children of wrath because we are fallen (Ephesians 2:3). If we reject God to the point we are not redeemable then we are vessels of wrath prepared for destruction (Romans 9:22).

  1. michael
    2008 August 30 at 18:37

    While that sounds logical:::>
    [[However I think that if God creates us as beings that have the ability to choose or reject God then I think it logically impossible to force love from such a being.]]
    Please reconcile after Adam made his “choice”, we are able to choose otherwise than suffer death?
    And, please cite and post where John Calvin ever taught that God “forces” one into Heaven.
    thanks

  2. 2008 August 30 at 21:44

    Please reconcile after Adam made his “choice”, we are able to choose otherwise than suffer death?
    We can’t. Ability to make choices does not mean we can make any choice.
    We can choose to go to work or stay home. We can choose what we wear. We can choose who we marry. We can choose to disobey a specific command that God gives us (ie. make choices contrary to God’s will).
    We cannot choose to create ex nihilo. We cannot choose to hold our breath for 90 minutes. We cannot choose to live forever of our own accord.
    We can choose to accept Jesus’ offer to live.

  3. michael
    2008 August 30 at 22:53

    Now to the next one then….? Cite where Calvin ever wrote or taught the premise you posit about “force”.
    I am glad at any event that you agree there are some choices God Sovereignly controls Himself! Now I am “God fearing”:
    Mat 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
    I did not choose to be here but I am. I choose to accept that I am here. I am glad my parents raised me sufficiently enough to have questions about good and evil.
    I cannot state unequivocally if those questions would exist within me paternally and maternally under other circumstances as I only have my own experiences as a frame of reference, not anothers.
    Logic has it’s own life. Now I choose to embrace the Biblical thinking about logic at these two places and walk it out with the help of His Grace, Mercy and Peacefulness in my interaction with Them, the Only True God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost:
    Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
    and
    1Pe 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation–
    Why do I make reference to these two verses in Scripture?
    Because in the whole of the Books from Matthew to the book of the Revelation there is a Greek word used only twice. Once at Romans 12:1 and 1 Peter 2:2.
    For me I place a whole lot of importance on Scripture and when I see a particular word being used in this sort of way, I place more emphasis on it for my many choices I make every day including the choice I am making engaging in this dialogue with you!
    The Greek Word is:
    λογικός
    logikos
    log-ik-os’
    From G3056; rational (“logical”): – reasonable, of the word.
    Why is this Word used and at the “beginning” process of my “Rebirth” or “new Spiritual birth”?
    It starts me with my own reason and brings me to God’s mysteries, of which there are many.
    The main mystery for me is no longer a mystery to me, although, I have to admit it is a mystery to me why some do not believe basis the “reason” Jesus cites for why one believes in Him and God and becomes, by “reason”, a True Believer, one of God’s Elect:
    Mat 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
    and that imfamous one too:
    Mat 16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
    Mat 16:16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
    Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
    Now I believe I know why some are not True Believers. I

  4. 2008 August 31 at 02:37

    Now to the next one then….? Cite where Calvin ever wrote or taught the premise you posit about “force”.
    I can’t, having never read Calvin. But irresistable grace is that God’s grace is powerful enough to override the human will. It is saying that God can force someone to love him.
    I am not disputing sovereignty. I just don’t think it applies to the ability to force a man against his will, or alter his will.
    I could be wrong.
    I think God can be very persuasive, I just think that despite his persuasion some men will reject his desire for them.

  5. michael
    2008 August 31 at 16:29

    BY,
    I believe we have an agreement between us!
    Where did this idea of “force” come from?
    I will tell you!
    Genesis 1:2 first indicates it.
    God is Light.
    God however created “light” before the planets, sun and moon and stars and he “divided” the “light”, separating and distinquishing it from the darkness that was first present, that simply was present at the creation.
    Force is synonymous with tyrany, in your view?
    Well, now we are heading to areas that move us from “down” to earth and plain meaning venturing into ideals above in the heavens.
    Both exist. I am not sure God would have all of us blend the two seeing we have this clear word at Hebrews 6:3
    Heb 6:3 And this we will do if God permits.
    What I can assert with unequivocal certainty is, “all we like sheep” have gone astray.
    I am grateful for My Loving, All Powerful, Always Present, All Knowing God who loves me and disciplines me and reproves me and corrects me and instructs me in the Way of the Lord.
    Here is where I will leave to from this debate:
    Psa 34:11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
    Psa 34:12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?
    Psa 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
    Psa 34:14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
    And here where my wise Apostolic father in the Lord left me prior to his departing this world for Glory:
    Php 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
    May My God richly bless your endeavors to keep us all straight! :)

  6. 2008 September 7 at 01:46

    Can light make choices?
    Free man can, up to a point.
    Without Christ we’re stuffed on so many levels.

  7. 2008 September 12 at 14:30

    I think you hit the nail on the head here. The issue isn’t who has a higher view of soveriegnty, but who has a more accurate view. The Arminian concept of Soveriegnty is very high. Indeed, in some ways it is more powerful, because it doesn’t have a God that needs to control every little detail to stay in power. God’s might and wisdom are beyond such things.
    I wrote a little article about this myself recently. What do you think about it: http://jcfreak73.blogspot.com/2008/09/relationship-between-gods-sovereignty.html

  8. 2008 September 14 at 17:46

    bethyada,
    This is a great post. Sovereignty is that area where our Calvinist brethren seem to co-opt into their own understanding and refuse to move one iota. What they fail to see is that sovereignty is not equivalent with dictatorial. A sovereign allows what He wills and dictates what he feels necessary. God has no need to determine my eggs this morning nor the color of my shoes tomorrow morning and if He desires to empower me to have dominion in this world as a creation made in His image, then it is fully within His sovereign right to do so. It is this latter point that the Calvinist cannot see through.
    Blessings in Christ
    A.M. Mallett
    http://travelah.blogspot.com/

  9. Anonymous
    2008 September 25 at 19:19

    This is a sad commentary. You analysis says exactly opposite of that the Bible says.
    bethyada: “Calvinists have claimed that God chooses specific men for salvation because he is sovereign. Those are saved to maximise God’s glory in his mercy, and others are damned to maximise God’s glory in his wrath.
    These ideas, I think, are incorrect. The issue of sovereignty is a logical question. And damnation, while giving God glory, does so less than salvation.
    Response: “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory– (Romans 9:21-23)”
    bethyada: “I don’t think it possible for God to force anyone into heaven. Or rather force anyone to love him; heaven is the destination. So I think the Calvinists are incorrect about sovereignty over who is saved because it is not an question of sovereignty.”
    Response: So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
    (Romans 9:18)
    bethyada: “God can create, God can woo (prevenient grace), God can save, God can give eternal life, God can create freedom of the will.
    None of which man can do.
    However I think that if God creates us as beings that have the ability to choose or reject God then I think it logically impossible to force love from such a being.”
    Response: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
    bethyada: “To have such a high view of sovereignty that claims that God can make us love him, seems, to me, as preposterous as a high view of God’s omnipotence means he can make 2 + 2 = 5.
    So I don’t think that non-Calvinists have a low view of God’s sovereignty, I think they have a more accurate one.”
    Response: declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
    (Isaiah 46:10)
    bethyada: “Further I think God does desire every single person go to heaven. I don’t think any have been created specifically for destruction…Calvinists are incorrect about this being the reason for creating beings for damnation.”
    Response: “This is the wicked man’s portion from God, the heritage decreed for him by God.” (Job 20:29)
    “The LORD has made all things for Himself: yes, even the wicked for the day of destruction.” (Proverbs 16:4)
    “For certain people … long ago were designated for this condemn

  10. jcfreak
    2008 September 26 at 06:45

    Anonymous: I dont like it when people hide their faulty theology behind Scripture. You quote Scripture without engaging in content, in either bethyada’s post, or in the Scripture itself. Are you so afraid of what she is saying that you cannot bare to even read it?

  11. 2008 September 26 at 12:59

    jcfreak, I intend to respond to Anon in a post. I don’t mind the disagreement, it gives me a reason to address proof texting.
    And, by the way, have a look at my profile :)

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