Friday, February 05, 2010

No theologian who has ever lived resolved this

I am not one who would argue for Calvinism or Armenianism on predestination. I find that we are all totally inept to fully understand the topic of the sovereignty and the grace of God put together. I was listening to Dick Lucas on Rev 3:14-22 this morning where he quoted a commentator* who said, “We got to find room for divine sovereignty and human responsibility and no theologian who has ever lived is able to resolve how to bring those together theoretically.”

What do you think? No one is able to resolve it? I kind of reconcile it with the fact that we have no way to save ourselves, and even if we can make the decision to believe in Him and so be saved, it is only made possible by the grace of a sovereign God. In a sense, yes, we will not be saved if we do not make the decision to believe in Him but we cannot make the decision in the first place if not for the grace of God. This God is both sovereign and gracious, and we cannot speak of his sovereignty and grace separately.

How would you reconcile it best you could?


* He did not say (or I did not hear) who the commentator was. I could not google it either.


  1. I agree with your remarks, Pearlie.

    A God who we can figure out and understand completely would not be GOD!!!!! I don't know why so many people even want to do that. My God is WAY to big for me to ever do anything but worship, praise and honor HIM.

  2. I think that the resolution may involve this question:

    "What does it mean to be made in the image of God?"

    I think that perhaps every human since Adam has had wired into their DNA the ability to respond to the love of God. Having that ability does not in any way diminish the sovereignty of God.. it simply speaks to God's sovereignty in creation.. if He created us that way then He gets the credit when we simply say yes to His invitation.

  3. we love because He first loved ... how does one understand the Creator of the universe?

  4. In my opinion, u need to know where and how they come from. Also, need to assess whether they are biblical. I was wrestling with the issue end of last year. My evaluation: Surprisingly, calvinism came due to the rise of arminianism. Arminianism rose as they want to deal with the philosophical of understanding of human's free will and human responsibility. I think if one tries to be biblical, one would tend to be more inclining towards Calvinistic but not entirely. Armnianism, in my assessment is rather philosophical and sounds very logical. Unfortunately, there are some effects on our Christian practices whether we are tendency towards Calvinism and Armnianism. Eg. in evangelism, if you are the former one, u will be quite cool about how people react after preaching the gospel. Whereas the latter one, u will be more "ken cheong" how people will react to the gospel. I have also learnt that Wesley is definitely Arminian but not the Methodist. Methodist's doctrinal statement is silent about Armnianism. All the best in your finding:)

  5. Only God knows: this statement resolves the fundamental issue between Calvinism and Armenian ism.

    The argument goes something like this:

    Armenian: "If my destination is 'pre-destined', why should I do anything, my 'fate' is already pre-determined?"

    Calvinist: "Well, if it is all free-will, how did God know when and how they would crucify Jesus?"

    Armenian: "My dad can beat up your dad!!!"

    Calvanists: "Well you're a sissy!"

    The answer is that no matter what the vehicle is (be it Calvinism, or Armenian-ism, or some other -ism), it doesn't change what God requires of us. We don't know the outcome, so we must pursue God with our heart. God really only tells us what we need to know.

    I fall in the Armenian camp myself, but I don't see the Calvinist view as a problem: I see it as a different perspective.

    The problem with this argument is that it is preceded by the fact that God is all knowing: whether he planned our final destination, or planned for our final destination, God already knows our final destination. This then comes down the a chicken and egg argument (as in which came first).

    God Bless

  6. Heheh Pearl, I think the resolution hinted in your blog post seems to fall on the Calvinist side of the fence.

    A main issue that divides is whether the unregenerate sinner is able to make the decision in cooperation with the grace offered at the cross etc?

    For Arminians, grace is absolutely necessary and man is sinful. But even in that sinfulness, he can still make a choice and decide to accept Christ.

    For Calvinists, grace is necessary not only in being offered to the sinner. Bcos he is so affected by sin that even his will is one of rebellion unless first regenerated by the Spirit in his heart.

    So he does need to choose, but he can choose because God first chose him.

    Wesley, however, has a modified arminianism with the idea of prevenient grace... which i believe pushes the question one step back.

    Is the sinner able to cooperate with prevenient grace on his own or not? Does it apply for all or some? Answering these questions would again put one in either side of the fence :)

    But I do agree there is an element of mystery here. The mystery is not due to contradictions (for all contradictions are mysterious) though. I think theologians have come up with good proposals that avoid the logical problems, but they will probably never exhaust the mystery