Thoughts on Calvinism’s loophole

I was chatting with a couple of Berean friends at Starbucks Tektite Tower last night when this thought came to me.

(Disclaimer: I don’t claim to be an expert of Calvinism. I’m simply trying to bounce off a thought that made sense to where I am coming from. I just think this will make sense to some, too)

Calvinists rise and fall on what they perceive as the sovereignty of God as far as the human being’s salvation is concerned. I read somewhere that Calvin’s dilemma was to reconcile how a God who is sovereign would not succeed in saving someone he intends to save. Therefore, he said:

1) All must be total wreck to the point of not even capable or recognizing even a bit of God’s grace (that Total depravity) …

2) … and that God must unconditionally choose a few (that’s Unconditional election) …

3) … therefore, since God choses only a few, Christ could have died only for this few (that’s Limited atonement)…

4) … and since these limited few were chosen unconditionally, the grace that God offered couldn’t be resisted. If it can be, how can they be saved then? And if God choses them to be saved, they should accept the grace (that’s Irresistible grace) …

5) … and finally, put all 4 together, you have a saved individual eternally secured. (that’s Perseverance of the saints)

I realized that TULIP rise and fall on the assumption that God must be a failure if a person was chosen to be saved, given grace by Christ dying for him and yet reject God in the end. And God cannot be a looser, therefore the TULIP. But that is correct only if the salvation of man is indeed the ultimate purpose of God in the first place.

Was God a failure if he wants someone to be saved, did everything including allowing Jesus to die on his behalf and yet did not choose him? I’d say no — God wasn’t a failure. Because I believe that God’s primary purpose with this whole process we call history isn’t the salvation of mankind — though that’s part of it — but to have a relationship with man.

Do you think God created Adam and Eve to save them? Of course not! Where will they be saved from? They have a perfect relationship with God! But why did God placed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil at the center of the garden of Eden? So they will fall and therefore God can resume with his plan to save man? I don’t believe that’s his primary purpose. I think that the Tree was there so that man can have a choice. Choice is an active component for a relationship to exist.

When a person whom God loved, Christ died for, forgiven and run after rejected Him, God wasn’t a failure. In fact, he succeeded in the eyes of the universe in allowing a relationship to exist. While God wants everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9), he allows them to reject him and suffer the consequences for doing it.

  • rex aka joe..

    you said:”I realized that TULIP rise and fall on the assumption that God must be a failure if a person was chosen to be saved,”

    Hehe kaya nga predictable na mga sagot nila eh.

  • rex aka joe..

    you said:”I realized that TULIP rise and fall on the assumption that God must be a failure if a person was chosen to be saved,”

    Hehe kaya nga predictable na mga sagot nila eh.

  • http://spurgeonite5.blogspot.com Sean

    Arnold,
    I would like to respond to a couple of questions you posed in your thoughts on Calvinism’s loophole.
    You wrote: “Do you think God created Adam and Eve to save them? Of course not! Where will they be saved from? They have a perfect relationship with God! But why did God placed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil at the center of the garden of Eden? So they will fall and therefore God can resume with his plan to save man? I don’t believe that’s his primary purpose. I think that the Tree was there so that man can have a choice. Choice is an active component for a relationship to exist.”

    As nice as this sounds, it just simply isn’t true. If you read the passage about the fall, you’ll find God telling them that WHEN they eat the fruit, they will surely die. Not IF they do. OF COURSE it was God’s plan to save Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were first to receive the sign that a sacrifice was needed. (I.e. God killing animals to cover them) To say otherwise, it so simply state that Jesus Christ was plan “B” since Adam and Eve ruined plan “A”. This, obviously, is not biblical. The scriptures are all about Christ – God’s primary purpose in creating this world.

  • http://spurgeonite5.blogspot.com Sean

    Arnold,
    I would like to respond to a couple of questions you posed in your thoughts on Calvinism’s loophole.
    You wrote: “Do you think God created Adam and Eve to save them? Of course not! Where will they be saved from? They have a perfect relationship with God! But why did God placed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil at the center of the garden of Eden? So they will fall and therefore God can resume with his plan to save man? I don’t believe that’s his primary purpose. I think that the Tree was there so that man can have a choice. Choice is an active component for a relationship to exist.”

    As nice as this sounds, it just simply isn’t true. If you read the passage about the fall, you’ll find God telling them that WHEN they eat the fruit, they will surely die. Not IF they do. OF COURSE it was God’s plan to save Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were first to receive the sign that a sacrifice was needed. (I.e. God killing animals to cover them) To say otherwise, it so simply state that Jesus Christ was plan “B” since Adam and Eve ruined plan “A”. This, obviously, is not biblical. The scriptures are all about Christ – God’s primary purpose in creating this world.

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Hi Sean,

    Gen. 2:17 says, “… but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” It is implied that God doesn’t want them to eat the fruit, therefore it is not God’s plan to make them fall. His plan all along is to have a relationship with them — which they broke.

    Is there anything degrading if we say Jesus is plan B? Not at all. Jesus doesn’t need Adam and Eve to fall for him to be known in all the universe. He’s been there from all eternity! But in his goodness and mercy, he chose to become “plan B” so that our relationship with Him — which is his original purpose — must be restored.

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Hi Sean,

    Gen. 2:17 says, “… but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” It is implied that God doesn’t want them to eat the fruit, therefore it is not God’s plan to make them fall. His plan all along is to have a relationship with them — which they broke.

    Is there anything degrading if we say Jesus is plan B? Not at all. Jesus doesn’t need Adam and Eve to fall for him to be known in all the universe. He’s been there from all eternity! But in his goodness and mercy, he chose to become “plan B” so that our relationship with Him — which is his original purpose — must be restored.

  • Sean

    Arnold, God commanded them not to eat from the tree. This is true, this is what we call the revealed will of God. However, if you keep reading, you find God telling them exactly what was going to happen, not just the possibility, but the actuality. WHEN you eat of it, (or in some translations “in the day you eat of it” you WILL die. God’s plan was definitely for them to fall, since we know that Christ Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world. There must have been a reason He was slain. I think there is absolutely something degrading about saying Jesus is plan B. If not degrading, then certainly not biblical. All through scripture, the point is Jesus Christ. Read Romans 5 again. Matter of fact, just read the entire letter again. The law (which included God’s command to Adam) was never intended to give life! But Jesus Christ was! Jesus Christ is not plan B, rather, he is the sum and substance of all things.

  • Sean

    Arnold, God commanded them not to eat from the tree. This is true, this is what we call the revealed will of God. However, if you keep reading, you find God telling them exactly what was going to happen, not just the possibility, but the actuality. WHEN you eat of it, (or in some translations “in the day you eat of it” you WILL die. God’s plan was definitely for them to fall, since we know that Christ Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world. There must have been a reason He was slain. I think there is absolutely something degrading about saying Jesus is plan B. If not degrading, then certainly not biblical. All through scripture, the point is Jesus Christ. Read Romans 5 again. Matter of fact, just read the entire letter again. The law (which included God’s command to Adam) was never intended to give life! But Jesus Christ was! Jesus Christ is not plan B, rather, he is the sum and substance of all things.

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    H Sean,

    I disagree with the premise that God’s plan was “for Adam to fall”. It is a manufactured premise by Calvinism to support its points. Honest reading of Genesis 2 will never give you that conclusion. God’s intention from the very start was to create a special relationship with man — what could have been the purpose of God breathing his own breath only for Adam?

    NLT translated it as “…If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die.” A more traditional rendering by ESV says, “…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” It’s like saying, “but of that poison you shall not drink, for in the day that you drink, you shall surely die.” There is a cause and effect. That’s plain english. But of course, if you’ll wear a Calvinistic eye-glasses and read into the text with that premise, I’m sure you’ll have that kind of conclusion. But I suggest we read the Bible as it is.

    You see, this is where the Open View Theist in me comes in, if Adam and Eve didn’t fall, the Bible where we both believe point to Jesus could have not been written, we were born with a perfect, harmonious relationship, no sin exisited on earth, and Jesus wasn’t born in a manger.

    You may say, it has to happen so Christ will be exalted.(Plan A) Not necessarily! In the eyes of the universe, you cannot exalt Jesus more — he’s God! Every creature in the universe knows that. And Jesus, being plan B as I said, isn’t degrading at all. In fact, it only shows what loving God he is — that he can become man and die for the sake of the creatures he love.

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    H Sean,

    I disagree with the premise that God’s plan was “for Adam to fall”. It is a manufactured premise by Calvinism to support its points. Honest reading of Genesis 2 will never give you that conclusion. God’s intention from the very start was to create a special relationship with man — what could have been the purpose of God breathing his own breath only for Adam?

    NLT translated it as “…If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die.” A more traditional rendering by ESV says, “…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” It’s like saying, “but of that poison you shall not drink, for in the day that you drink, you shall surely die.” There is a cause and effect. That’s plain english. But of course, if you’ll wear a Calvinistic eye-glasses and read into the text with that premise, I’m sure you’ll have that kind of conclusion. But I suggest we read the Bible as it is.

    You see, this is where the Open View Theist in me comes in, if Adam and Eve didn’t fall, the Bible where we both believe point to Jesus could have not been written, we were born with a perfect, harmonious relationship, no sin exisited on earth, and Jesus wasn’t born in a manger.

    You may say, it has to happen so Christ will be exalted.(Plan A) Not necessarily! In the eyes of the universe, you cannot exalt Jesus more — he’s God! Every creature in the universe knows that. And Jesus, being plan B as I said, isn’t degrading at all. In fact, it only shows what loving God he is — that he can become man and die for the sake of the creatures he love.

  • Sean

    Arnold, Arnold, Arnold…
    You talk about being fair, and suggesting we read the Bible as it is. Yet, you then claim I read it through a premise wearing Calvinistic glasses. Is it not just as possible that you are reading it through semi-pelagian glasses? Do you think God is perfect? If so, then how did His plan “A” fail? I think you should heed your own advice and give an honest reading to both Genesis 2 AND Genesis 3. The Hebrew in Genesis 3 (yowm)suggests a foreshadowing, a CERTAINTY that they would fall. Not a POSSIBLE time, but an actual time. You have to rely on the NLT, (which by the way is hardly word for word) in order to PRESUPPOSE it means “IF” they eat of it, when in all the other translations, it clearly suggests God is telling them exactly what was going to happen. Open theism is a boil on the rear end of theology my friend. But, if you really don’t think God knows everything exhaustively, then it’s no wonder you rely on free will so much. In fact, your whole open theism argument makes no sense and really has nothing to do with the issue at hand. You see, your problem is you base all your conclusions on your speculations, rather than what actually took place. But, if you wish to REDUCE Jesus Christ as nothing more than plan “B”, just a fix to a problem that God didn’t foresee, well, then I suppose that’s up to you. It certainly isn’t biblical. I would also suggest you read up on a little church history – you won’t find too many (if any) Christians, theologians etc, that support your view until Mr. Pelagius came along. By the way, please provide me with scripture that states Adam was created perfect. Not merely good, or upright, but please show me where it actually states he was perfect. Thank you Arnold!

  • Sean

    Arnold, Arnold, Arnold…
    You talk about being fair, and suggesting we read the Bible as it is. Yet, you then claim I read it through a premise wearing Calvinistic glasses. Is it not just as possible that you are reading it through semi-pelagian glasses? Do you think God is perfect? If so, then how did His plan “A” fail? I think you should heed your own advice and give an honest reading to both Genesis 2 AND Genesis 3. The Hebrew in Genesis 3 (yowm)suggests a foreshadowing, a CERTAINTY that they would fall. Not a POSSIBLE time, but an actual time. You have to rely on the NLT, (which by the way is hardly word for word) in order to PRESUPPOSE it means “IF” they eat of it, when in all the other translations, it clearly suggests God is telling them exactly what was going to happen. Open theism is a boil on the rear end of theology my friend. But, if you really don’t think God knows everything exhaustively, then it’s no wonder you rely on free will so much. In fact, your whole open theism argument makes no sense and really has nothing to do with the issue at hand. You see, your problem is you base all your conclusions on your speculations, rather than what actually took place. But, if you wish to REDUCE Jesus Christ as nothing more than plan “B”, just a fix to a problem that God didn’t foresee, well, then I suppose that’s up to you. It certainly isn’t biblical. I would also suggest you read up on a little church history – you won’t find too many (if any) Christians, theologians etc, that support your view until Mr. Pelagius came along. By the way, please provide me with scripture that states Adam was created perfect. Not merely good, or upright, but please show me where it actually states he was perfect. Thank you Arnold!

  • Sean

    Well, it seems my open theist friend has yet to find Biblical proof that Adam was perfect. Silence is definitely an answer.

  • Sean

    Well, it seems my open theist friend has yet to find Biblical proof that Adam was perfect. Silence is definitely an answer.

  • http://graceplace.ph Arnold

    Hi Sean,

    We do have a lot of things to do other than answering blog post comments, don’t we? Go back once in a while, I have have some time to answer your post.

  • http://graceplace.ph Arnold

    Hi Sean,

    We do have a lot of things to do other than answering blog post comments, don’t we? Go back once in a while, I have have some time to answer your post.

  • Sean

    Sure thing. I just figured almost 3 weeks was sufficient. No worries.

  • Sean

    Sure thing. I just figured almost 3 weeks was sufficient. No worries.

  • http://None Ray Anthony Rodriguez

    The central issue with the New Testament is about the good news about the salvation that is in Christ. Adventists were always fixated with the Sabbath and Ellen G White’s role as its inspired interpreter. Reformed and Presbyterian Christians are always fixated with the five points and its inspired interpreter-John Calvin, Westminter Confession of Faith and the Canon of Dordts. Everybody is pushing for the gospel plus. But the Gospel is all about Jesus Christ and his salvation for lost sinners. I understand the five points-I believed in it- but let it not be a sieve to be used to determine who is a Christian or not. Presbyterians also blinded to an obedience to the Ten Commandments, Christian Sabbath, Tithing and Infant Baptism. Where is Grace in all that. Holding to the five points does not insure that one is a Christian or if the person is living in grace and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Hi Ray,

    That really made sense. Thanks.

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Hi Ray,

    That really made sense. Thanks.