Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Is Calvinism Irrational?

I posted the following in response to an article called "Why Calvinism is the Least Rational Option," that was posted on Truth Matters, and the ensuing debate which erupted in the comments on that site . . .

The issue here is not whether God is logical. God is the basis of all truth, logic, wisdom, etc. However, man is not utterly logical, and therefore we are incapable of fully comprehending some of the things God has revealed. God has clearly revealed both divine election and human responsibility, divine sovereignty and human choice. In God's mind, these do not contradict one another at all. But in our tiny, finite pea-brains there is no way to fully reconcile them. This does not accuse God of irrationality, it simply exalts God and humbles us. It forces us to admit that He is smarter than we are. Some . . . have gone too far in saying that because God is totally logical we can understand everything He says. It's an oversimplification of the issue that forgets just how fallen we are, and just how exalted God is. Historic Calvinism has generally bowed its best logic before God's higher wisdom and acknowledged a great deal of mystery. We should do the same.

I have to bow my best logic to Psalm 145:3 "Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable."


  1. Hello,

    First, I haven't quite figured out, what exactly your beliefs regarding Calvinism are. I'm telling you my opinion here.

    I don't think Calvinism is rational. It is build on contradictions and ends up in contradictive ensnarements without end.
    Regarding the problem of evil, the strictly calvinistic author Loraine Boettner writes "We have removed guilt from God", while he had said four sentences earlier "He is responsible for it". This kind of double-talk is prevailing in reformed theological writings. No, Calvinism isn't rational.

    I guess the reason why Calvinism is appealing to some folks is due to its somewhat counter-cultural mindset, something which Calvinists boldly affirm. I think the truth however, falls by the wayside.

    -a helmet

  2. Helmet,

    Thanks for commenting. Let me say upfront, I'm not interested in having a big "Calvinism vs. the alternative" debate here, since I believe it's usually unproductive and leads to unnecessary conflicts.

    Concerning Boettner, I've read almost nothing of his writings and don't have any particular agreement or disagreement with him. He's not really on my radar. There are plenty of explanations for the existence of evil that fit logically within the framework of Reformed theology. Lots of theologians have wrestled with that one.

    I have taken the time to read some of your material, and this is my response: I wonder if it's possible you don't really understand Calvinism?

    I admire your devotion to the Word of God, and your systematic way of thinking, but I wish it was put to a more positive use. The stated purpose of one of your blogs is "to contribute to the destruction of the Doctrines of Grace." I would appeal to you to prayerfully submit this purpose to the counsel of wise and godly elders, and to the Word of God, and see if they might lead you toward a different path. Not a path of agreeing with Calvinism, but of using your considerable writing abilities for the purpose of edification. I am convinced that if you continue to study the Scriptures with an open heart, you will find all you need to be a blessing to others and to engage in a satisfying use of your God-given gifts.

    For the record, non-calvinists are very welcome here at THEOparadox, so long as they are not hostile. This is a place for people who love God and aren't offended by some moderate, Biblically balanced Calvinism. Disagreements are not out of place - but please be sure to read and follow the rules posted in the sidebar. Although my perspective is essentially Reformed, I do enjoy a good, civil dialogue with others who think differently.

    Grace & peace,
    Derek Ashton


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