First of all, Arminians reject Determinism. So the Arminian has no interest in trying to reconcile the two. The Arminian has a completely different view of predestination, which is one that involves God’s foreknowledge, as Acts 2:23 states: “...by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God....” However, the Arminian is interested in seeing how Compatibilists try to make Determinism work with Free Will, especially since both are polar opposites, where it often appears that Determinism only ends up in completely engulfing Free Will. In other words, if God “ordained whatsoever comes to pass” (Determinism) via a predetermined Script, penned before the foundation of the world, whereby all events in history unfold according to this alleged Script, how can there be any sense of Free Will? Wouldn’t it merely be an illusion of Determinism? Therefore, consider the following exchange in the book, Debating Calvinism, by Calvinist James White and non-Calvinist, Dave Hunt:
Calvinist, James White, explains: “The belief that God’s sovereign decree and man’s creaturely will coexist (compatibilism) and that since God judges on the basis of the intentions of the heart, there is in fact a ground for morality and justice.” (Debating Calvinism, p.320)
Dave Hunt responds: “Yes, God judges ‘the intentions of the heart,’ but Calvinism falsely says that He causes the intentions He judges. ... Compatibilism is double-talk.” (Debating Calvinism, 327)
White responds: “He has the temerity to say it is ‘double-talk.’ I might assign some weight to his assertion if I could bring myself to believe that he understood what it is.” (Debating Calvinism, p.331)
Hunt explains: “...God turned into good what Joseph’s brothers intended for evil. But if God caused the brothers to do evil, compatibilism is double-talk.” (Debating Calvinism, p.333)
So is that what Compatibilists believe? Do Compatibilists believe that God causes the sin that He judges? You should know that Hard Determinists reject Soft Determinism, and they simply reject Free Will altogether, and therefore make no attempt to reconcile the two. Some Hard Determinists candidly admit that they believe that God is the author of sin. They say that it is God’s sovereign right, for His own glory. Whether that makes them hyper-Calvinists is another matter.
So that brings us back to square one. How is it that Calvinistic Determinism and Free Will are not mutually exclusive, as alleged? Recently on CARM.org, I was told that it cannot be understood, but only accepted on faith, because it’s a paradox. However, if Compatibilists wish to make the assertion that Calvinistic Determinism and Free Will are compatible, don’t they have a duty to explain how they are compatible, without resorting to, “Well the Bible teaches both, so I don’t need to explain it!” It seems to me that they would have a duty to give a better answer than that. What say you?