Compatibilists Fail to Make Compatibilism Believable: The Frankfurt Counterexamples

In considering this article, remember that Compatibilism is the perspective of Calvinism regarding moral freedom and libertarianism is the perspective of Extensivism (non-Calvinism). Many compatibilists argue that what is known as the Frankfurt counterexamples demonstrate the falsehood of the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) associated with libertarian freedom—that a person, in at least some scenarios, could have chosen differently.[1] Thus, if successful, the Frankfurt counterexamples would minimize the objections libertarians have to compatibilism by demonstrating how true free, otherwise, choice can exist within compatibilism’s determinism.[2] Continue reading →

Calvinist Paul Helm Fails to Acquit God of Causing Evil

Closely related to Calvinism’s problem with the fall is its problem with the presence of evil (See my articles The Word “Permit” Is As Micro-Determined AS Everything Else; D.A. Carson Fails to Absolve God of Causing Evil, and Calvinism Fails to Absolve God from Causing the Fall ). The reality of evil is very problematic within Calvinism’s compatible determinism, as is the whole issue of sovereignty (as defined by Calvinism) and human freedom and responsibility.[1] Calvinists employ various terms when speaking of these mysteries, which I believe are contradictions within their theological system. J.I. Packer employs antinomy and mystery,[2] G.T. Shedd and others invoke the common phrase, “it is a mystery.[3] Similarly used phrases are “I have no answer for it, it’s hidden, and two parallel lines that meet in eternity. Extensivism’s (non-Calvinism’s) libertarian freedom does not require gauzily cloaked contradictions.[4] The contradictory problems of Calvinism are quite pronounced when they seek to explain God’s sovereignty (as they define it) and evil. Continue reading →

Calvinist D.A. Carson Fails to Acquit God of Causing Evil

D.A. Carson says of his position regarding moral freedom, In the realm of philosophical theology, this position is sometimes called compatibilism. It simply means that God’s unconditioned sovereignty and the responsibility of human beings are mutually compatible.[1] Commenting on Carson’s practice of improperly defining compatibilism (as he has done here), philosopher Paul Gould says, Notice, what Carson means by compatibilism’s is just that freedom is compatible with divine sovereignty (not determinism). In other words, he is restating the fact that Scripture upholds both divine sovereignty and human responsibility (and freedom). But, importantly, his compatibilism’s isn’t compatibilism.[2] That is to say, Carson defines compatibilism improperly–inaccurately. Continue reading →

The Word “Permit” In Calvinism Is As Micro-determined As Everything Else

When Calvinists use phrases like God does not desire man to sin, but he does permit sin, it is easy to misconstrue their meaning of the word permit and understand it in the libertarian sense. [1] The libertarian understanding, which is the normal way the word is used and understood, would simply mean God created Adam and Eve so that they could choose not to sin, and that is what God actually desired for them to do even though He permitted (allowed) them to sin if they so chose; the same is true with people today.

However, in Calvinism, God endowed man with compatible moral freedom, thereby predetermining that man would freely choose to sin. Compatibilism means that man is considered to make a free choice when he chooses according to his greatest desire. What often goes unstated is that while the choice is free, the desire from which it flows is determined by his past or nature; thus, it is precisely accurate to say, according to Calvinism, man makes a predetermined free choice. Continue reading →

Does God Love All or Some? Comparing Biblical Extensivism and Calvinism’s Exclusivism

My most recent book “Does God Love All or Some?” includes thirty-four chapters that address Calvinist arguments such as libertarian freedom undermines God’s sovereignty, rejecting Calvinism requires a weak view of depravity, what about those who never hear the gospel? I show how we know God’s salvific love is Extensive, extends to every person, rather than limited to Calvinism’s exclusive group, the unconditionally elected. I establish how we know God gives every person an opportunity to be saved, and how human acts like prayer really can affect a person’s salvation, something which true Calvinism precludes. Continue reading →

Calvinism Fails to Absolve God from Causing the Fall

Genesis two seems to clearly present Adam with a choice between obedience and blessing (Gen 2:16) and disobedience and judgment (Gen 2:17). Then, when Adam and Eve did eat (Gen 3:6), God rightly judged them, and they died. Consequently, they lost all the blessings God had granted them while living in the garden because he held them responsible for their actions (Gen 3:11-13, 16-19, 22-24). Continue reading →

The Exalted View of God in Scripture

The nature and attributes of God are seen not only in His person but in His creation as well. We are reminded, For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20). The Old Testament declares the same truth in Psalm 19:1. Continue reading →

The Day Hell Reveals God Is Not God of the Scripture: Calvinism

Calvinism’s exclusive doctrines position it in an untenable place when it comes to people spending eternity in hell. To mitigate the indefensible entailments of Calvinism that consign people to hell (the reprobate non-elect class), they offer various responses. First, they say the lost deserve to be there. While that is true, it does not tell us why they are there since the people in heaven equally deserve to be in hell. Second, they say it is so God can show his full glory in both love and wrath. But damning people to hell is unnecessary for God to show his wrath or holiness since no one needed to suffer God’s wrath to demonstrate his holiness because Christ suffering his wrath for our sin is the quintessential display of God’s wrath.[1] Continue reading →

Calvinism’s Determinism Is Not Biblically or Practically Viable

Calvinism rejects libertarian free will and believes in compatible moral freedom, which means everything and everyone is micro-determined. The following are the definitions of the two perspectives.[1]

Compatibilism
Determinism and moral responsibility are compatible; hence, the name. This compatibility is not achieved by compatibilism being less deterministic than hard determinism. Rather, it is achieved by defining free choice to mean as long as a person chooses according to his greatest desire, he can be considered to have made a free choice for which he is morally responsible; even though given the same past, he cannot choose differently in the moral moment of decision.

Consequently, the difference between compatibilism (soft determinism) and hard determinism is not to be found in the levels of the deterministic nature of each because they are the same. Rather, the difference is compatibilism contends people are morally responsible for their choices if they are made according to their greatest desire, and hard determinism says they are not. Continue reading →