Thursday, December 2, 2010

Deterministic Calvinism vs. Independent Thought

Calvinist, James White, writes: “How God can know future events, for example, and yet not determine them, is an important point….” (Debating Calvinism, p.163)

Based upon this example, in which White is simply being consistent with other Deterministic Calvinists, he concludes that God is incapable of knowing an undetermined future, and therefore, for God to be omniscient and all-knowing, no future could be left undetermined, or better yet, unscripted. So in other words, God must predetermine everything in order to possess omniscience over anything, and thus one single undetermined, independent thought by an independent agent, would thereby nullify the omniscience of God, and hence if free will did somehow exist, as the Determinist's logic goes, God would lack the capacity to know it, and since we know that God does not lack omniscience, free will must not exist. The problem, of course, is that the entire conclusion rests upon the blind presumption and circular reasoning that God lacks the capacity to know an unscripted event, which is odd, because God is eternal and unbounded by time, however, exposing the faulty Calvinist understanding of God's eternal nature is not the issue that I have in mind here. I'd like to instead focus on the Deterministic concept which proposes that there can be no such thing as independent thought, because, in the absence of independent thought, key Calvinist defenses are forfeited!, such as Compatibilism and Free Moral Agency. Otherwise, (1) if there is no such thing as independent thought, then what is God acting in compatibility with? (2) If there is no such thing as independent thought, what is "free" in Free Moral Agency? Wouldn't they just be "an agent"? The result is that you'd have just one will in the universe, and one will only, and that being the will of the Determiner, Scripter and Author of all wills, and no one else would possess a will, if they had no independent thoughts of their own.

Calvinist, James White, writes: “Let us lay aside this canard once for all (and with it a large portion of the arguments presented thus far): Man has a will.” (Debating Calvinism, p.347)

So James White, in a debate with Dave Hunt, insisted that man does have a will, but (3) what kind of will exists without independent thought?

Calvinist, James White, writes: “Unregenerate man's will is, according to the Lord Jesus Himself, enslaved to sin (John 8:34), but it is still a will. It acts upon the desires presented to it by the fallen and corrupt nature of all those who are in Adam.” (Debating Calvinism, p.347)

But if there is no independent thought, then how is it a will, or at least, a will of their own? That's the whole idea of a will. If there is no such thing as independent thought, then they are solely acting upon the "will of another," that is, the will of the Determiner, Scripter and Author of all wills.

There would only be a logical basis for God to Compatibilistically "cause" or "determine" certain events, such as Calvary, if God acts upon independent thoughts from His own. Otherwise, (4) if there is no such thing as independent thought, wouldn't all of our sin and resistance to God, merely be God giving Himself a hard time through us? Moreover, concerning the Devil, (5) if the Devil possessed no capacity for independent thought, then every unimaginably evil thought of the Devil's, in his entire existence, would actually be the thoughts of Who? Even worse, if such a thing is possible, and maybe this is, (6) if there is no such thing as independent thought, then it was the Father who spat in His own Son's face: "Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, 'Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?'" (Matthew 26:67-68)


Luke said...



That is all I can say about this at the moment for I'm I don't know what else to say.

Luke said...

If a vessel created for dishonor fulfills that reason for which it is created, dishonor, is that not then obedience for it did what it was designed to do?

AND, if disobedience is that which is punished and obedience rewarded, then I have created a dilemma with my first paragraph. How can the one be punished who does exactly what he was created for?

I don't see how the above can be avoided if there is no independent thought.

Richard Coords said...

Hello Pastor Luke,

Sorry for the delay. If there is no such thing as independent thought, and that everything is completely scripted, fixed and decreed (which deterministic C's believe is necessary in order to establish a logical basis for omniscience), then all life forms are robots. C's hate when you use that word, but what else do you call a life-like that cannot think on its own? The result is that the Devil would be God's robot for evil. C's will absolutely deny it every single time, but the intricate web of their logic ultimate leads to this end, whether they choose to think about it or pretend that the problem doesn't exist. I've learned that C's are magnificent deniers. They have no problem affirming (on the one hand) that God is the author of all thoughts, while rejecting that He is the author of sin, even thought it is logically connected. Often we are told that it's a mystery, and in fact, that's exactly what John Calvin said.

Defending The Faith said...


Well said. I've been doing some research on this topic and I've posted some related thoughts on my blog:

I would like to link your blog to mine, and would like your permission to do so. If you have any questions, please go to my Blog oe email me directly at

Vinnie said...


I am a reformed thinker and would like to help in your research on this topic to add in its scope and accurate representation of the calvinistic position. For starters, I know of a free debate you have to listen to "Is Calvinism Biblical?" between Douglas Wilson and Steve Gregg. Hope this helps.