A friend of the ministry recently sent me this question:
I’ve got a question for you (I am Reformed): how do you answer an Arminian who says that if God decrees something then He is therefore the cause of it? I get this ALL the time LOL!
I thought that both the question and my answer would make a great blog article. Now that you have the question, here is my answer:
Good question. The answer is to flip it on the Arminian. Just ask if God is all powerful and does not want evil then why does He not stop evil? There are only a few answers they can give and none of them are good. First, they will say that God must respect a person’s free choice. However, all this means is God cares more about free will then He does about stopping evil. Next, this would make God culpable after the fact. For example, if I witnessed a person attempt to stab another person and I could stop it, without any harm to my self and I don’t, this makes me culpable. If the police were to come to me and ask why I did not stop the evil act and I respond by saying, “I had to respect the offender’s free will” I am guilty too.
The next thing they could say is that God uses evil but does not plan evil. This also does not vindicate God from being evil. If God uses evil, then we would have to say that on some level God desires evil. This seems to be the focus of the Arminian’s objection.
Each system has to realize that evil and God have some relationship with each other. The question is not to have it all figured out intellectually. The question should be is my view of God and evil intellectually consistent with Scripture?
Here is the answer for the Calvinist. God is not the active agent of evil in this world. However, God predestines everything. This would include evil. However, God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil he predestines. That morally sufficient reason is known only to him. God also created beings that carry out evil without any outward compulsion from God. How is God able to do this? I don’t know. But the manmade system of Arminian cannot vindicate God from evil. It only diminishes His sovereignty over evil. This is a step in the wrong direction and does not get us closer to understanding the issue.