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Predestination, continued

A problem with the Calvinistic points of unconditional election and irrestible grace is the concept of regeneration of the believer. A common argument by some Calvinists goes like this: A person cannot choose to accept Christ, as s/he is spiritually dead (see previous post about this). Therefore, God must choose that person, and then somehow make the person alive, or otherwise change the person's nature somehow, in order for the person to choose Christ, or God must first change this person first before s/he can choose Christ. However, Calvinists who argue this do not explain very clear how this happens, but simply use this as an argument for the necessity of predestination.

But this leads to God arbitrarily giving some people the ability to be saved and not others. Calvinists would say that God is just, though not necessarily fair from our point of view, in doing so, simply because he is God and can do what he wants. But this is merely a semantic game, making an artificial distinction here between 'just' and 'fair', and still presents a God who can be arbitrary, contrary to his nature. But God cannot act contrary to his nature by arbitrarily selecting some for salvation. God is not unfair or arbitrary or only gracious to some, as that would contradict his nature. Nor can his unfathomable ways be reduced to a rationalistic religious system like Calvinism.

This Calvinistic claim also leads to an artificial distinction of two stages of salvation, with no scriptural support: the stage where God makes a person alive and able to choose, and the point where s/he actually chooses and is saved. The first stage sounds like regeneration, in fact. But regeneration and salvation are part of the same event or process. This claim muddies the two and seems to impose an artificial distinction between the two, or makes for a two-stage salvation process. This is similar to the "three comings of Christ" in pre-trib dispensationalism (he comes at the "rapture" and the "official" second coming). I find this problematic in Calvinism - an artificial construct is created to get around difficulties in the theory, leading to a more convoluted theology. So when is a person saved or reborn? When God enlivens the person, or when s/he consciously chooses? Can a person be so "enlivened" and then reject Christ with this new-found spiritual ability? This theology is problematic, and lacks scriptural support.

Okay, in my next posts I'll try to get around to either the 'foreknowledge' issue and/or implications of predestination theology.


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