Dr. Theodore Zachariades – Determinism – Take Two

When I first viewed the video in which Dr. Zachariades claims that God enables or precludes someone from committing adultery (noted below) I thought, what kind of demented theology does this guy possess? I have always thought that one of God’s attributes is his holiness. Is Christian faith predicated on God who would violate his own moral standards? Can I then infer that God decrees all manner of sin including murder, rape, human trafficking, serial killers, and whatever other horrid act that one can possibly conceive?

Not only that, but because of unconditional election, God also decrees whether one is ‘elect’ or ‘reprobate’. And God stipulates not only what everyone would believe as to matters of faith, but that he’s brought about cultish Christian religions including i.e. LDS and JW.

So, it’s been decreed that I should conclude Calvinism is illogical and unbiblical? And it’s also been decreed that I have free will. But, per Calvinism, whatever happens going forward including my deconstruction from Christian faith is because God orchestrates it. Interesting, if only because I’ve always thought that given the number of times God is surprised or expresses regret i.e. Gen 6:6, there had to be some semblance of free will amongst God’s creation. It stands to reason that God will permit things to happen even though he has the power to stop it. Yet, under Calvinism, everything is determined. So, everything that happens is by a decree because nothing comes to pass which God has not intended to happen.

Okay … I guess it’s been ordained for me to attribute the atrocity of murder or rape to a holy and loving God to be reprehensible. But what if I believe God to be the absolutely standard of holiness and morality? Therefore, when God says, “you shall be holy for I am holy”, isn’t this immediately claiming holiness which is based upon God’s own holiness? So, if God causes one of these little ones to stumble (Matt. 18:6), then isn’t God subject to his own charge that the one causing the stumbling deserves to be drowned in the sea with a millstone around their neck?

The idea that anyone can claim God is not subject to his own standard of holiness and then pronounce God’s authority to judge people’ sin is, to me, mutually exclusive. God is the standard of goodness and morality that we all must look to. If God violates his own standards, then God is no longer holy or moral. One cannot say God can change standards of holiness and morality for Himself whenever He chooses simply because he’s God. On the contrary, it’s because he’s God that those standards do not change. And that’s why believers can have a definitive understanding of of such things as goodness, morality, love, justice, and holiness. Is this not consistent with James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning?

But, sadly, I’m realizing that Zachariades is consistent and mainstream in his theology with many other significant deterministic Calvinists:

James White

  • White was asked, “When a child is raped … did [God] decree that rape?” Mr. White responded: If [God] didn’t [decree child rape] then that rape is an element of meaningless evil that has no purpose.

Vincent Cheung

  • There isn’t one thing that happens [which God] has not actively decreed – not even a single thought in the mind of man.
  • Evil could never have started without God’s active decree, and it cannot continue for one moment longer apart from God’s will.

John Piper

  • [Everything] including evil is ordained by an infinitely holy and all-wise God to make the glory of Christ shine more brightly.
  • God [sees to it] that a person does what God ordains for him to do even if it involves evil.

J.I. Packer

  • God orders and controls all things – human actions among them.

R.C. Sproul

  • God wills all things that come to pass.
  • God desired for man to fall into sin.
  • [God] created sin.

Edwin Palmer

  • All things that happen in all the world at any time and in all history–whether inorganic matter, vegetation, animal, man or angels (both good and evil ones)– come to pass because God ordained them. Even sin– the fall of the devil from heaven, the fall of Adam, and every evil thought, word, and deed in all of history.
  • [God] decides all that is to happen in the entire universe. Nothing in this world happens by chance.
  • [God] decides and causes all things to happen that do happen.

A.W. Pink

  • [God willed] that sin should enter this world. Otherwise [sin] would not have entered.
  • Nothing happens except what God has eternally decreed.
  • Nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass [other than what] God has eternally purposed.

Two main points can be derived from these quotes:

  • God plans, initiates and carries out every human thought, deed and action.
  • God is therefore the source and the cause of every sinful thought or evil act by anyone, anywhere and at any time.

How people can be held responsible for sinful choices which God has destined is beyond any logical conclusion. Calvinist theology teaches that God’s determinism is the ultimate causal force behind every sinful choice or rebellious act throughout human history. Per John Piper, God is the creator of evil and it’s God who determines what each individual’s choice will be and that God alone ensures the outcomes which he alone desires.

This kind of theological construct makes Christian faith difficult to accept. Realizing that many people with knowledge of the languages, culture and history as to the Bible have strong determinist perspectives of God is frustrating and challenging to accept. If Calvinism is true, I can only conclude that my deconstruction from Christian faith must therefore be desired by God. It’s what’s happening – God doesn’t want me and would rather I be reprobate and not elect. Afterall, God is bringing it about.

Author: Bob

I’m an upper Midwestern guy who recently entered the "Buick stage" of life given my present eligibility for senior discounts. This blog is an attempt to rectify discordant aspects within my Christian faith ... or what often feels like my lack of Christian faith. Things which make life more enjoyable include strong black coffee, charcoal grilling anytime of the year, putz'ing at a table saw, playing chess, a good orthopedic surgeon and an occasional IPA. Please feel free to poke around and comment as you wish. I welcome discussion and the insights of others.

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