Home > Calvinism > Are We but God’s Little Dollhouse?

Are We but God’s Little Dollhouse?

DollhouseIt was incredibly interesting over this past Christmas holiday to have observed, what I believe to be, a huge commonality between Calvinism’s belief that God sovereignly decrees all that is to pass and how my four-year-old granddaughter plays with her dollhouse. She puts the furniture where she wants it. She clothes and places her dolls where she wants them. She initiates and maintains the conversations between the dolls. It’s fascinating to watch. Sometimes things are pleasant and sweet. Sometimes things are innocent and funny. And sometimes things get, well, nasty and one of the dolls is in a heap of trouble. This little girl is exercising her complete sovereign will over those dolls! And considering how completely Calvinist doctrine stipulates that EVERYTHING is ordained by God, I can’t help but sense that in the Calvinist’s sphere of being (best phrase I can think of) we, as God’s creation, are nothing more than puppets to him. God moves us where he wants us and we’re powerless to do otherwise. God dresses some with righteousness (i.e. being elect). To others God dresses in disease & pestilence, suffering and want or perhaps anguish and misery. For others, God does not clothe them. Instead, he leaves them naked in their natural state (i.e. being reprobate). For many, God chooses to stuff them into a suitcase and toss them into the deepest part of the closet never to be loved or cared for until finally, sometime later, they’re simply done away with – well, the non-favored ones, anyway. A few of the dolls are indeed favored and highly treasured. Most, however, are insignificant and of no importance.

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  1. Robin Tomlinson
    February 18, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    It’s actually worse than puppets! We’re mere clay! Does the Potter have power over the clay? Or not? To make one for honor and another for dishonor – or not? Are you saying God owes His love? The fact that “God is love” is the greatest definition and source of love does not mean that God loves all equally. Does He not have a love for His Son to a greater degree than He has for mortals? Does He love angels in the same way as human sinners, seeing that no salvation was offered for the fallen angels? Love by definition is voluntary, and is displayed to greater and lesser extents. And what about His grace… are you saying His grace is mandatory? Must He show His grace to every creature just because He is the best display of grace? Grace by definition is undeserved favor. (Favor is discriminating.) It is God who works in us to will and to do His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13). If this is true of the believer, that our actions ultimately come from God as their source, how much more must it be true for an unregenerate sinner?

  2. Bob
    February 18, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    I take it, Robin, that you don’t accept that individuals have any sort of free will in their life?

  3. Robin Tomlinson
    February 18, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    I do believe we exercise our wills. It’s the “free” part that needs a little more definition. We don’t make choices in a vacuum, but our choices come from our deepest desires. Since we read that “no one seeks God” (Rom. 3:11) and that people who are in the darkness will not come to the light lest their deeds be exposed (John 3:20), it seems that the choices of unregenerate people will exclude God. Thus, the need for a new heart. God takes a heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh. In that case, the person is now a “spiritual” person (I Cor. 2:15). That is, his spirit is now tuned to the frequency of the Holy Spirit, so that now when he hears the gospel, it not only makes sense, but he willingly chooses it because it rings true to him. “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!” John 8:36

  4. Bob
    February 18, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Well, I don’t disagree that we have sin natures. But I think it an overstatement to lay claim that we, as sinful creatures, are unable to come to an understanding of the gospel and the need for a savior. The Centurion in Acts 10. He and his family were devout and God fearing. God found favor in Mary.

  5. Robin Tomlinson
    February 18, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    What is your understanding of I Cor. 2:14?

  6. Bob
    February 18, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Paul went to Troas but Titus wasn’t there so he then went to Macedonia where there apparently was a “fertile field” of souls eager to hear the gospel. The passage in my NIV is entitled Ministers of the New Covenant. If you’re driving at something, I’m not seeing it. Sorry to be slow.

    • Robin Tomlinson
      February 19, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Assuming your last line is true, then it would make Jesus’ statement in John 6:44, a false one: “No one (the Greek is quite emphatic here, meaning not a single one) can (Greek = has the ability to, power to) come to Me unless the Father draw him.” Most Arminians I know would agree to at least the need for a special kind of grace in order to enlighten the mind. Do you have a different understanding of John 6:44? Have you by chance done a word study (for yourself) on the word “draw” in Scripture?

  7. Robin Tomlinson
    February 18, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Maybe you’re reading Acts by mistake? I was thinking about I Corinthians 2:14.

  8. Bob
    February 19, 2018 at 5:26 am

    Oops, sorry – the man without the Spirit can’t understand spiritual things. There’s no inference as to who limitations of who can receive the Spirit. The Calvinist must infer this in order to maintain a faulty doctrine.

    • Robin Tomlinson
      February 19, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Actually, there’s a Greek word change between the “natural” man in I Cor. 2:14 (who “DOES NOT” receive the things of the Spirit of God) and the “carnal” man (babe in Christ) in I Cor. 3:1. The natural man speaks of an unregenerate unbeliever. The carnal man speaks of an immature regenerated believer. When I Cor. 2:14 (excuse the all caps, not intending to “yell” but to emphasize) says the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, wouldn’t those “things of the Spirit of God” include the truths about who Jesus is, what He has done, a conviction of sin, etc.? It’s not that the unbeliever can’t intellectually know the facts, but his current state of heart keeps him from gladly embracing the truth; thus, we see the phrase “does not receive the things of the Spirit,” and then the the phrase, “nor CAN he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.” This is why I believe that a non-born again spirit – a spirit not made “alive” by the Holy Spirit in regeneration – is not capable of understanding spiritual truth so as to receive it. It would be akin to attempting to put a flash drive into an old computer that was only equipped with CD-Rom capability. The natural man has no capacity, no medium, no vehicle, through which he may embrace the gospel… UNTIL he is born again. Does this not make sense?

  9. Bob
    February 19, 2018 at 8:07 am

    I sense John Calvin struggled with his interpretation of this verse/passage and, I believe, was forced to redefine some terms to better fit his within his theology. Per Calvin, then, the “natural man” is totally depraved and therefore requires unconditional election of irresistible grace in order to be given faith to accept God. Yet, in practical application(s), Paul felt compelled to, for instance, pray for the Ephesians in a specific way i.e. “a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” (Eph 1:17) and wrote to the immature Christians in Corinth who were acting, well, worldly. They were ‘babes’ in their faith requiring milk. I think it’s apparent that Paul was writing to believers who were acting as “natural men” and was exhorting them to a deeper faith and Godly lives. Wouldn’t this have been an opportune time for Paul to as much call out the elect vs reprobate people and purge those who would be nothing but poison to the believers? Further, I don’t read that Paul delineates unconditional election or otherwise stipulate that anyone is excluded from the kingdom by God himself. Yes, we are sinful creatures. And yes, we need a savior. But I don’t think that we are so depraved as to not understand our sinfulness and accept God’s free offer of grace and mercy.

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