Beowulf2k8 and Calvinism

Calvinism hater Beowulf2k8 has graced this blog with his anti-Reformed rhetoric. He attacked this post. I think that the comment and his post here speaks for itself, and I won’t answer it directly. Instead, in a few days look for a post defending original sin. That should suffice as a response.

In the meantime, I wanted to answer this post, where Beowulf makes the following claim:

Now that Obama is the President Elect and will be President, the god of Calvinism can finally be satiated with a never ending pile of dead babies to send to hell for no fault of their own. That’s assuming that Obama can get his filibuster proof Democrat Congress to pass pro-abortion laws (which is a given).

I say this not so much to criticize Obama or the Democrat party. I’m not interested in politics today. I say this only to point out what sort of false god the Calvinists serve.

Calvinists teach a god who takes pleasure in broiling innocent infants in hell. Infants who have committed no sin. But their god takes pleasure in roasting them for Adam’s sin.

This is wholly false. Of infants, the Westminster Confession of Faith teaches:

Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word. (10.3)

I don’t happen to like the phraseology, because it indicates that some infants might still go to hell. But it could also mean that all infants are elect and therefore go to heaven. I like to think of it that way. And perhaps that is what really happens, we will never know this side of heaven. The Bible is silent on what happens to infants.

All people are sinners by nature. God elects some to salvation and others he passes over for damnation. Beowulf uses that as an excuse to hate God as he has revealed himself, and instead fashions an idol. The idol he worships is more comfortable for him; this idol doesn’t condemn deserving people.

What Beowulf is doing is taking an extreme situation–the condemning of infants–and using it to argue by outrage. It is uncomfortable for us to think that infants would be condemned to hell. But isn’t it uncomfortable to think that anyone would be condemned to hell? Is Beowulf perhaps betraying this thought?

In any case, Calvinism doesn’t teach that infants are condemned to hell automatically. And Calvinism definitely doesn’t teach that God takes pleasure in the condemnation of sinners–young or old. Scripture reveals otherwise, as Beowulf himself points out.

Beowulf is confusing Calvinism with hyper-Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinism teaches that God hates the reprobate (non-elect). While “hate” is mentioned in some texts (Rom 9:13), it is the Greek word miseo, which actually means “to love less.” God is merely stating that he has no covenant relationship with Esau. As an extension, God has no covenant relationship with the non-elect, but that doesn’t mean that he hates them in the traditional sense of that word. John 3:16, among other texts, is crystal clear–“For God so loved the world. . . .”

If Beowulf believes I am in error, he is welcome to comment on this entry or post it on his own blog. If he can prove me wrong by the traditional documents of the Reformed faith (such as the Westminster Confession or the Baptist Confession), then he is more than welcome to do so.

About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on November 23, 2008, in Apologetics, Theology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. “The Bible is silent on what happens to infants.”

    If Ezekiel 18:20 is silence. It is plain as day that the death of the soul can only come from personal sin (aka actual sin). Adam’s sin only brings physical death and the inclination towards sin. We do not inherit its guilt so as to be born or conceived damned, nor can we be damned for his sin since God explicitly states “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son.”

    Now, as far as the distinction between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism, as is often pointed out, a Hyper-Calvinist is nothing more than a consistent Calvinist and every Calvinist is both Hyper and non-hyper. All Calvinists are Hyper-Calvinists until caught and called on the carpet for teaching that God is the author of evil or some other objectionable doctrine, then they switch to non-hyper mode. Once no non-Calvinist is paying attention, they get off their spiritual Ritalin and go back to hyper mode.

  2. You’re equivocating between civil law and God’s judgement.

    God’s Law restricts us from executing civil punishment for the offenses of a father…hence, that is what Ezekiel is addressing.

    If you want to reject our Fall in Adam, you must also reject our Salvation through the Second Adam. Denying federal representation cuts both ways…you reject original sin, you reject Christ’s atonement.

  3. Also, you said:
    a Hyper-Calvinist is nothing more than a consistent Calvinist

    Nice assertion…unsubstantiated…undefined.

    Let me make an equally valid statement:
    I think arminians/open theists/molinists enjoy long nights of snorting pixie stix followed up with tellytubby marathons…that’s just the consistent outworking of their rejection of God’s sovereignty.

  4. “God’s Law restricts us from executing civil punishment for the offenses of a father…hence, that is what Ezekiel is addressing.”

    No. You are the one equivocating. Ezekiel is talking about the soul not the body. This is further shown (beyond verse 20 where he says “the soul shall die”) when he says in verse 26 “When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.” In other words, when a righteous man turns to wickedness and dies in it (i.e. without having repented), then he shall die again, i.e. the seconds death, the death of the soul. As Jesus says, “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

    “that’s just the consistent outworking of their rejection of God’s sovereignty.”

    Sovereignty doesn’t mean micromanagement. A vassal is always more likely to micromanage than a sovereign, because he has a boss breathing down his neck ready to take his head when he messes up.

  5. “If you want to reject our Fall in Adam, you must also reject our Salvation through the Second Adam.”

    1. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection saves all men (both the spiritually lost and spiritually saved) from physical death, via the resurrection.

    2. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection does not save anyone from spiritual death without faith and obedience to the gospel.

    Those two facts inform us on the nature of the fall.

    1. Just as only the physical side of salvation automatically accrues to one by Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection with no response from themselves, only the physical side of the fall is automatic and accrues to men with no response required from themselves. Adam’s sin made him mortal, and we inherit that mortality – that’s automatic. Doesn’t matter whether we do do anything or don’t do anything.

    2. Just as only those who who take advantage of the finished work of Christ by believing and obeying the gospel are saved by Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, only those who take advantage of their inclination towards sin which results from the fall actually fall themselves. That does mean that everyone other than infants has a personal fall because we know the Bible tells us so. But the Bible is plain that we do not inherit the guilt of any man’s sin.

  1. Pingback: On Original Sin « Josiah Concept Ministries

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