Just What Does the Calvinistic God Want Us to Do and Believe?

Steve Hays has responded:
When God forbids adultery, he is not claiming that he will prevent adultery, even though he secret intends to permit adultery.The prohibition is not a prediction or promise of what God intends to do.

My response: Wait just a minute. If anyone asks you what God wants us to refrain from doing, you will quote the Bible which purportedly tells us what God wants us to do, like not commiting adultery. "Thou Shalt Not..." you'll say.

Does God want us to refrain from adultery or not? Let's say he does, but then he doesn't. Let's say he doesn't, but then he does.

Why don't you preach your true theology? Why not just say that you don't know whether or not God wants someone to refrain from adultery, because that's the truth.

So, does God want me to refrain from adultery? Why? Why not?

You could say you believe God wants you to tell me that I should refrain from adultery but that whether or not he does want me to refrain is something you just don't know. So just say, "I don't know."

The next time a man comes to you for counseling who is considering an affair, tell him the truth: "I don't know what God wants you to do." You see, there is no ethical guidance in such a theology if you tell people the whole story. So you are a co-participant in the deception, along with God. Be honest. Be truthful. Spell out all of your Calvinistic distinctions and end by saying that you just don't know what God wants such a person to do. Why not? That's the whole truth.

But at a deeper level you could say that God has decreed your answer to his question about adultery, and that's all you can say in response to his question. But such an admission doesn't answer whether or not God wants him to commit adultery. It only says that God decreed your answer to his question about it. You still have no confidence that such a decree has any bearing on what God wants him to do. So the answer you give him about adultery from the Bible may not be the truth, since God decrees what you will tell him. As far as the truth goes, God could've revealed that he wants all married people to commit adultery, because whatever he reveals has no bearing on what he wants us to do. This goes for all of the commands in the Bible too, including all statements that describe who God is, that he is loving, truthful, and that he will reward those who believe he is loving and truthful.

In fact, the whole basis for your believing in Calvinism is that your God decreed that you should believe it and has nothing to to with either the Bible or the evidences either way. But if he so decreed what you believe, then like the unbeliever you still have no reason to suppose that what God decrees you to believe is the truth. He could be decreeing you to believe falsely against the total available evidence, just like you claim he decrees what I believe. Therefore, you simply do not know whether what you believe will gain you access into heaven. As far as your theology goes, it just may be the unbeliever whom God will reward, since you really do not know what this God is like and what he will do with us when we die.

So in fact, there is nothing in the Calvinistic Bible that describes what God wants us to do or believe--nothing! In fact, if God decrees all of human history then he does not even need a revealed word in the Bible at all! It is superfluous, unnecessary, and completely irrelevant to what he wants us to believe and to do. He could decree all of our beliefs without it.

Why not just admit this? It's true. And the next time someone asks you what God wants him to do just be honest and say "I don't know." And when he asks you what God wants him to believe, just say "I don't know."

For that is the truth.

Now tell me, does God want me to believe in him? Yes or no?

3 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

For anyone who thinks I'm repeatedly hitting Calvinists pretty hard it's because there are a disproportionate number of them on the web compared to what we find outside of the web who regularly debate us here at DC.

I'm sorry if you are not one of them and you continually must wade through this debate to see the rest of what we have to say here at DC.

Daddy Cool said...

The next time a man comes to you for counseling who is considering an affair, tell him the truth: "I don't know what God wants you to do." You see, there is no ethical guidance in such a theology if you tell people the whole story. So you are a co-participant in the deception, along with God. Be honest. Be truthful. Spell out all of your Calvinistic distinctions and end by saying that you just don't know what God wants such a person to do. Why not? That's the whole truth.

Any Calvinist would tell you that you have to follow what the Bible says. Then you'd know that you shouldn't commit adultery.

But at a deeper level you could say that God has decreed your answer to his question about adultery, and that's all you can say in response to his question. But such an admission doesn't answer whether or not God wants him to commit adultery. It only says that God decreed your answer to his question about it. You still have no confidence that such a decree has any bearing on what God wants him to do. So the answer you give him about adultery from the Bible may not be the truth, since God decrees what you will tell him. As far as the truth goes, God could've revealed that he wants all married people to commit adultery, because whatever he reveals has no bearing on what he wants us to do. This goes for all of the commands in the Bible too, including all statements that describe who God is, that he is loving, truthful, and that he will reward those who believe he is loving and truthful.

In fact, the whole basis for your believing in Calvinism is that your God decreed that you should believe it and has nothing to to with either the Bible or the evidences either way. But if he so decreed what you believe, then like the unbeliever you still have no reason to suppose that what God decrees you to believe is the truth. He could be decreeing you to believe falsely against the total available evidence, just like you claim he decrees what I believe. Therefore, you simply do not know whether what you believe will gain you access into heaven. As far as your theology goes, it just may be the unbeliever whom God will reward, since you really do not know what this God is like and what he will do with us when we die.


God may have decreed this statement of yours for all to see how wrong you perceive Calvinism. It's hard to fathom the fact that God is sovereign over everything but why would an atheist have a problem with this if he doesn't even have free will to begin with? Whatever an atheist does is no more meaningful than it is meaningless.

So in fact, there is nothing in the Calvinistic Bible that describes what God wants us to do or believe--nothing!

Sure, there is. If you're saying if one can describe what God wants even though God decrees everything then that therefore makes what God wants into nothing is to beg the question.

In fact, if God decrees all of human history then he does not even need a revealed word in the Bible at all! It is superfluous, unnecessary, and completely irrelevant to what he wants us to believe and to do. He could decree all of our beliefs without it.

But He decreed that we need the Bible.

Why not just admit this? It's true.

It's not.

And the next time someone asks you what God wants him to do just be honest and say "I don't know."

It depends what the context is.

And when he asks you what God wants him to believe, just say "I don't know."

Actually we can say the Bible since God decreed the commission.

For that is the truth.

What you said wasn't true.

Now tell me, does God want me to believe in him? Yes or no?

Yes. Bear in mind, Mr. Loftus, you don't know what God has in store for you in the future - maybe you will eventually be a Christian.

John W. Loftus said...

But He decreed that we need the Bible.

According to you he did. But tell me how you know this. This is my whole point. You know this because of 1) the Bible itself, or 2) God decreed you to believe this, or 3) both. But you cannot trust that the Bible represents what God wants you to believe, and if God decreed what you believe than you cannot trust your conclusions. Either way you cannot know the truth.