Does God HATE the ones whom He will not save?

A February 22, 2013 blog by Stephen McCaskell on patheos.com entitled “Does God HATE the ones whom He will not save?” highlights the primary reason I am not a Calvinist. This is my response to McCaskell’s article.

cross-earthOne of the biggest dilemmas of Calvinism is, how can a loving God elect some people for eternity in Hell? If God chooses who is saved, and who is condemned, then God must not love all people. As McCaskell admits, “It would seem that it’s not exactly the easiest thing to reconcile the doctrine of election and God’s universal love.”

Some Calvinists see no problem here. They believe God loves the elect, but hates the non-elect. But in order to do this, they must twist the clear teaching of Scripture. If this view were correct, John 3:16 should read, “For God so loved the elect that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever God elects will believe in Him and not perish but have everlasting life.” However, that’s not what it says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Other Calvinists, such as McCaskell, cannot ignore the clear teaching of the Bible that God’s love is universal. This creates the paradox that God loves the very people He sends to Hell. McCaskell explains his solution to this paradox:

In the Scriptures we read of God’s amazing love towards sinners, but normally it’s towards his people, the elect. Obviously God doesn’t love all people the same way. If he loved everyone in a saving manner, then all would be saved. But we know this is not true. Not all are saved.

Obviously God doesn’t love all people the same way. This solution to the paradox is even more problematic than the paradox itself. McCaskell simply redefines God’s love in a way that is obviously nonsensical. Note some of the comments posted on his blog page:

Sagrav says:
February 22, 2013 at 11:04 am
A love that sits by passively as you are tortured for eternity is a hollow thing indeed.

Sharon says:
February 22, 2013 at 11:28 am
Your definition of love is morally bankrupt if you can say with a straight face that God both loves and chooses some people for damnation.

So, what’s the answer to this paradox?

The problem with Calvinism is that it’s based on a logical fallacy. According to every Calvinist I’ve read or talked to about the subject:

  1. God is sovereign, meaning that God is in absolute, total control of everything.
  2. Free will means that Mankind controls at least some things.
  3. If Mankind controls some things, then God does not control everything.
  4. Therefore, free will cannot exist.

The fallacy is in point 3. Free will does not take away from God’s sovereignty. God can, and does, remain entirely sovereign, while at the same time granting Mankind free will. Free will is the essence of what it means to be created in the image of God. No other creatures have the ability to make moral choices. God created Mankind in His image so that we would be capable of having a love relationship with Him. Without free will, love is impossible. Love must be chosen, or it’s not really love. God made the sovereign choice to give Mankind the gift of free will in order to allow us to have a love relationship with Him. This in no way detracts from or diminishes His sovereignty, but in fact, affirms it.

How do we reconcile God’s universal love and the reality of eternal damnation? It is only because of Mankind’s free will that this paradox is avoided. God gives everyone the universal invitation to be saved. Those who accept God’s invitation are saved; those who reject it are damned:

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:14-21

Calvinism falsely teaches that Mankind cannot choose to accept or reject the Gospel, and this is heresy.


On a side note, ironically, Armenianism (the opposite of Calvinism), is based on the same logical fallacy, but with a different conclusion. According to Armenian thinking:

  1. God is sovereign, meaning that God is in absolute, total control of everything.
  2. Free will means that Mankind controls at least some things.
  3. If Mankind controls some things, then God does not control everything.
  4. Therefore, God is not totally sovereign.

This logic is based on the same fallacy as Calvinism, and the conclusion is equally heretical.

Great Big Stupid World – A Reading Test

readingAre you smarter than a fifth grader? The following reading comprehension test is written at approximately a fifth-grade level.

Directions: Read each of the following passages. Answer the questions that follow.



The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states, in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”



  1. In this passage, the word establishment means:
    1. a commercial organization
    2. official recognition as a national institution
    3. allowing public expression
    4. permitting
  2. In this passage, the phrase free exercise means:
    1. unrestricted practice
    2. fitness without cost
    3. limited if it offends someone
    4. practiced only in private
  3. The First Amendment states that which of the following is prohibited?
    1. free exercise of religion
    2. respecting religion
    3. praying at public events
    4. Congress imposing an official national religion
  4. What is the main idea of the passage?
    1. Citizens may not express their religious beliefs publicly.
    2. The government may neither force a specific religion on citizens, nor limit how citizens practice religion.
    3. The government must reject all forms of belief in God.
    4. Religious expression is prohibited on government property, at government funded events, and by government employees.

    The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”



  5. In this passage, the word arms means:
    1. weapons and ammunition
    2. hunting rifles
    3. body parts
    4. “gun-free” zones
  6. According to this passage, what is to be well-regulated?
    1. guns
    2. people
    3. militias
    4. ammunition
  7. According to the Second Amendment, people have the right to bear arms in order to _____ .
    1. hunt deer
    2. form militias
    3. protect themselves from burglars
    4. shoot at clay pigeons
  8. A militia is:
    1. an army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.
    2. a hunting organization
    3. a law that restricts gun ownership
    4. the police department
  9. In this passage, the best meaning for the word infringed is:
    1. permitted
    2. the hem of a garment
    3. expensive
    4. controlled
  10. What is the main idea of the Second Amendment?
    1. Guns must be controlled to keep whackos from killing children
    2. Only government military and police should have assault rifles.
    3. All citizens have the right to unrestricted weapon ownership so they can form militias.
    4. People can own guns so they can hunt, shoot targets, and threaten bad guys.

Answers:

  1. B
  2. A
  3. D
  4. B
  5. A
  6. C
  7. B
  8. A
  9. D
  10. C

Scoring:

9 – 10 correct: You can read and understand what you read. You do not allow bias to cloud your judgment.

8 correct: You may need to brush up on your reading skills, or else use them more objectively.

6 – 7 correct: You either lack basic critical reading skills, or fail to use them when you don’t like what you are reading.

0 – 5 correct: You are either illiterate, or you are blinded by political ideology.



What does the Second Amendment Actually Say?

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

~ Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

Assault RiflesThe battle over gun control has heated up again. On one extreme side of the battle are those who wish to completely eliminate gun ownership. On the other extreme are those who want no restrictions at all. Between these two extremes is a broad range of ideas, from limiting only high-powered assault rifles, to only having registration and background checks, to limiting the number of bullets a gun can hold, and so forth.

Those on both sides of the battle have brought forth impressive sets of statistics to bolster their positions. Both sides have paraded a steady stream of victims and their families with powerful, emotional testimonies from about how guns have either taken or saved their lives, or the lives of their loved ones. Both sides have well-funded, powerful lobbies in Washington and in all fifty statehouses, and both sides have demonized the other in the media.

How should Congress respond to the question of gun control? First and foremost, all laws in the United States, including gun laws, must conform to the United States Constitution. The Constitution is the foundation upon which all other law must be based. Since the Second Amendment directly addresses the issue of gun control, all other laws must be consistent with it.

militiaInterestingly, the Second Amendment is the only amendment to the Constitution which states a purpose: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state…” The right to keep and bear arms is not about hunting rights, as some have claimed, nor is it simply about personal protection. It’s about the ability to raise a militia.

What is a militia? According to George Mason, who was a statesman and a delegate from Virginia to the U.S. Constitutional Convention, and who is called the “Father of the United States Bill of Rights” (along with James Madison), “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” (George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788). According to the American Heritage® Dictionary, a militia is:

  1. An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.
  2. A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency.
  3. The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.

So, the purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure that ordinary civilian citizens have weapons suitable for military usage in the case of an emergency. This completely destroys the argument that so-called “assault rifles” and automatic and semi-automatic weapons are not covered by the Constitution; it is precisely the right to keep and bear these types of military-grade weapons that is specifically the protected by the Second Amendment. Ordinary citizens, the Second Amendment argues, have the right and responsibility to own military-grade weapons so they can be called upon to defend the security of the state.

What does it mean that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed?” Again, according to the American Heritage® Dictionary, to infringe means:

VERB:
in·fringed, in·fring·ing, in·fring·es
VERB:
tr.

  1. To transgress or exceed the limits of; violate: infringe a contract; infringe a patent.
  2. Obsolete To defeat; invalidate.

VERB:
intr.
To encroach on someone or something; engage in trespassing: an increased workload that infringed on his personal life.

bill-of-rightsTherefore, the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be transgressed, exceeded, violated, or encroached upon. Yet, this is precisely what most gun-control legislation does – it limits who can own weapons and/or which weapons they can own and use. Gun-control, by definition, infringes on the right to own and bear arms.

What about the argument that the mentally ill and felons should not have the right to own guns? First, the Second Amendment does not allow for it – this constitutes “infringement.” And secondly, how society determines what constitutes “mentally ill” and what it classifies as a felony is constantly changing. I would agree that violent offenders and those with violent mental states should not have access to weapons. However, defining such individuals is extremely difficult. Does simple depression constitute mental illness, and disqualify one from gun ownership? Does the willingness to shoot an attacker in self-defense constitute a “violent tendency?” Could belief in the Biblical mandate against homosexuality eventually become a felonious “hate crime?” The legislation of exceptions to the right to keep and bear arms is a very slippery slope that is not allowed for in the wording of the Second Amendment.

Regardless of one’s position on gun control, the Second Amendment clearly opposes those who wish to limit gun ownership. There are only two ways to pass legislation to control the ownership of guns: either ignore or “reinterpret” the Second Amendment, or repeal the Second Amendment. All gun laws so far have done the first. However, ignoring or reinterpreting the Second Amendment has thus far been limited by the courts; this is why a number of gun-control advocates are beginning to call for repeal.

The Founding Fathers understood that private citizens need guns not only for personal self-protection and hunting, but also so they can organize into militias to defend themselves militarily in an emergency. The current push to limit ownership of certain types of guns violates this important right.