John Calvin Questions and Answers

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Does God love everyone or does He only love even the ones He predestined for Salvation? I am struggling with Calvin's doctrine of predestination. If God does not love everyone, what of the statements regarding His love for the “world” and reconciling the “world ” to Himself? If He loves the world, and surely Scripture teaches that he does, is there reason in supposing that “vessels made for destruction” are outside of that love? If He loves those vessels made for destruction, how is destruction reconcilable with His agape love and fatherhood? Scholarly Christian illumination sought.

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mrtoad eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Calvin teaches a double predestination in an endeavor to answer the question why some are saved and not others.  He reasons that if God in his revealed will predestines some to salvation, it therefore follows that in his hidden will, he predestines the rest of humankind to damnation.

For many Christians the question "Am I saved?" is much more important than the question "Why are some saved and not others?" They believe when reading John 3:16, that if God so loved the world.... he also loved me, and if I believe in his only begotten Son, I shall inherit everlasting life.

Calvin's doctrine of predestination creates a conflict between the hidden will of God and the will of God as it is revealed to us in the Bible. The Apostle Paul rejects that it is possible for any such conflict to exist when he declares in 2 Timothy 2:12 "....he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."

We read nothing of a predestination to damnation in the Bible. The Bible only reveals a predestination to salvation (Romans 8:28-30).

How could we possibly trust a God who in his hidden will (as Calvin teaches) predestines to damnation and in his revealed will emphasizes, in the words of the Apostle Peter, "The Lord is....not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance?"

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dancer7 | Student

Why does an all-knowing, all-powerful creator punish his own creation? God created man in the full knowledge of the results, but he is still angry with these results. It is not logical. As David Hume wrote, (paraphrasing Epicurus):

"Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is impotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? So whence then comes evil?"

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
lanastar | Student

God does know you and has a plan for you at conception. Only those who do not follow his word and do not have a relationship with Him deviate from a perfect plan and go to hell.

He knows our imperfections and uses them to the glory of His kingdom. 

frizzyperm | Student

Statement one: Gods knows everything. The past, present and future... everything.

Statement two: God created everything.

Therefore, God knew everything about you before he created you. He knows if you are going to heaven or hell before you are even conceived and knows exactly what unavoidable actions you will be forced to make by his predestiny. Your life is a fixed line from which it is impossible to deviate.

God chooses to create some people who have no choice other than to go to hell.

This is simply not logically reconcilable with the idea that he loves everyone.