Calvinism Diminishes God

Calvinism’s endeavor to exalt God by emphasizing compatibilism, unconditional election, and monergism actually diminishes God. [1] One simply cannot diminish the work of the Creator without diminishing its Creator, which Calvinism does by strapping man with compatibilism, whereby man was created to inevitably sin and be totally passive prior to regeneration.

For example, what if one looked beneath the majestic mystique of the Mona Lisa only to find that Da Vinci actually painted by the numbers, or we learned that Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony was actually composed by an alien being who could do nothing but produce such a masterpiece. Either discovery would tell us more about the creators of such works than the works themselves, and would, in fact, reduce our opinion of their creators. The point is, Calvinism’s reduction of man’s freedom to that of compatibilism tells us more about their, albeit unwitting, diminished view of God who apparently cannot be in sovereign control of truly free beings with otherwise choice than it does about their view of man.

Therefore, if anyone is diminishing or humanizing God, it is actually Calvinism rather than Extensivism ( non-Calvinists), as Calvinists often claim. This can be seen in the Extensivist’s beliefs that God created a more sophisticated man in his own image who had the ability to have actually chosen to not sin (man chose to sin and was therefore expelled from the Garden, but he could have chosen to not sin and remained); God’s sovereignty is more complex and he is capable of being sovereign over true free beings with otherwise choice; God’s coextensive creation and redemption plan is unique in that it is actually able to accomplish the otherwise impossible; [2] God’s perfect love is more comprehensive in offering every person everything needed to be enabled to freely choose to come back to the Garden based on the sufficient sacrifice of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit; and God’s salvation plan is more inclusive in that he does, in fact, grace-enable every lost person to be able to freely choose to reject the gospel or freely choose to accept the work of Christ by faith as the Scripture so clearly teaches (John 3:16). This is the exalted God of Scripture and Extensivism.

[1] The two views of free will that are relevant to the comparison between Calvinism and Extensivism (non-Calvinism) are Compatibilism and Libertarianism. With regard to salvation, the Compatible view means that man freely chooses according to his desires that emanate from his nature, but whatever he did in fact choose, he could not have chosen otherwise. The Libertarian view means that man is endowed with otherwise choice and therefore, whatever he did, in fact, choose, he could have chosen differently. For a fuller explanation and comparison see my article Compatibilism and Libertarianism: A Summary
[2] Without God’s coextensive creation and redemption plan, it appears to be impossible to guarantee that a libertarian free being with otherwise choice will never use his freedom to sin. However, God’s coextensive plan assures that the redeemed in heaven will be unlike Adam, who had otherwise choice but did not have experiential knowledge of sin (Gen 3:5). The redeemed in heaven will have experiential knowledge of sin and the consequences of sin, but they will have been redeemed from that and transformed by glorification. Thus, it appears the redeemed and glorified man will have what is necessary to live forever using his freedom to choose righteousness. Add to this the promises of God’s protection for eternity. For a fuller discussion see my article Can Man Endowed With Libertarian Free Will Live Righteously Forever in Heaven.

Ronnie W. Rogers