Monday, May 23, 2011

Why Isn't Grace Universal?

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that Arminianism is a Procrustean bed. It is frequently asserted that Calvinism relies more on the force of logic than on Scripture, but it seems plain as day that this is simply not true. Arminianism starts with questionable assumptions, and then charges forward regardless of the teaching of Scripture, claiming that it just makes sense that this or that should be true. 

Take the Arminian notion of universal grace, for instance. All Arminians insist that God's grace is universal in its scope. On what is this idea based? It is based on the assumption that God owes it to all His creatures to give them all the same advantages and opportunities. If He does not do then, then logically, He would not be just. But this is simply false. There is not a single shred of Biblical evidence that God owes anyone anything, let alone corrupt, fallen, degenerate, depraved man. When Scripture declares that God "loved Jacob and hated Esau," the real mystery is not why did He hate Esau, but rather, why did He love Jacob.

Even a cursory analysis of the idea of a universal grace reveals some rather obvious inherent absurdities. Such as:

1. To say that God has a universal will to save everyone implies that God wills contrary to His will. If God wants something, being all-powerful as He is, He will do whatever He deems necessary to accomplish His desire. This simply means that God is able to save all men, but it is not actually His will do so, otherwise all would be saved. We know from manifold passages of Scripture that some men will actually perish into eternal hell. We also know that many have already died in a state of unregeneracy and have perished into eternal hell. If this has happened, then we must acknowledge that it was not actually God's will to save those who have perished and will yet perish.

2 This supposed universal will to save all men is either an absolute decree of God or a conditional one. If it is absolute, then God has already failed to accomplish it, since many have already died in perdition. If it is a conditional decree, God must execute the condition Himself or merely demand that the condition be met. If He were to execute it, then all men would be saved, which, again, we know to not be true. If He merely demands that the condition be met, then He does not really will the salvation of all men, since some will not meet the condition, since they are blind and dead in sin. In this case, we have a God who desires something while He simultaneously know that it is impossible.

3. If God universally wills the salvation of all men, He has failed in His purpose and therefore has not accomplished Hie will, since He wills something that hasn't happened and will not ever happen. Many have already perished and many more still will.

It is one thing to say that God commands something and that obedience to it is pleasing to Him. But it is quite another thing to decree or purpose something. It is God's decree that is thwarted if He wills something which does not come to pass. If He had willed the salvation of all men, He would be thwarted in His purpose. Since this is obviously ridiculous, it is equally ridiculous to maintain that grace is universal because God has a will to save all men.

So, as was said above, Arminianism is a Procrustean bed: whatever is too short gets stretched to fit, and whatever is too long gets lopped off.

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