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!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tensions in Divine POWER and PURPOSE

A central point of theological tension is found at the intersection of God's power and His purpose. Many errors grow directly from the conflation or general misunderstanding of these two distinct facets of theology which sometimes appear to contradict. Let's examine a few of these paradoxes.

Does God have the POWER to keep his creatures from falling into sin? Of course.
Was it God's PURPOSE to prevent the fall? No.
Yet this does not mean God was not grieved by the fall.

Does God have the POWER to save all people? Certainly.
Is God's PURPOSE to save all? No.
Yet this does not mean God does not desire the salvation of all.

Is there sufficient POWER in the atoning work of Christ to save all? Absolutely.
Was this God's PURPOSE in the atonement? No.
Yet this does not mean the atonement is inherently limited.

Does God have the POWER to move every living person to repentance and faith? Certainly.
Is it His PURPOSE to irresistibly draw every living person? No.
Yet the fault for the sinner's unbelief lies with the sinner alone.

Does God have the POWER to keep Christians from sinning? Yes.
Is it God's PURPOSE to make us sinless in this life? No.
Yet we are responsible to grow in grace, mortify sin and persevere in faith.

I have just explained why I am a 5-Paradox Calvinist. 

Here is R.C. Sproul with a few thoughts on God's sincere desire for the salvation of all.


  1. Love it! I'm using that from now on. It's like two "P's" in a pod.

  2. ...oh yeah, I love the 5-Paradox Calvinist as well. (will use that too.)

  3. Eddie,

    Glad this is useful. It seems to me a Calvinist is someone who recognizes the very simple truth of Sovereign Grace, then spends the rest of his life wrestling with the mind blowing complexities it creates.

    BTW - email me [THEOparadox at G mail] and I will send you the Calvinistic Cartoons favicon I designed. It's yours to use if you want to. And I won't be offended if you don't.

    Just for fun, I've been making them for some of my favorite sites that don't have them yet. You may have noticed the one recently added on Team Pyro.



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