Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Blame God and Sin, An 'Asymmetry'

If you are going to blame anyone, blame God; for eternal life and salvation, that is. As an 'Evangelical Calvinist' my understanding of God's choice, relative to the individual's appropriation of that in and through the vicarious humanity of Christ's choice for us, is this:

  1. Is that a person can only recognize their salvation because they have been made new and chosen by God in Christ. God has chosen 'humanity' exemplified in the incarnation of Christ for us. And so people who are in bondage to their choices which are shaped by a heart that on its own is inward curved and self-loving, are enlivened through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are given a capacity by the Spirit to say Yes to the Father only in and through what has already happened in the humanity of Christ for us. We will never choose God left to our own devices.
  2. The reason that everyone does not choose God instead of themselves can only be attributed to the mystery of evil and sin (because God has chosen all of humanity in the humanity of Christ); NOT GOD (only salvation in Christ can be attributed to Him!). This is what James 1 says:
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

And John 3:

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

So, to speak crudely, we blame God for salvation and His life in Christ for us; and we blame the inexplicable and fleeting reality of evil and sin for unbelief (and this sin is really just an absence of God's 'being', an absence of his life of love ... which is to say, that sin ends up being no-thing, and thus it is irrational to try and understand it or explain it).

[So there is an obvious asymmetry between these two things]. But it should be clear how this is a 'Calvinist' way of understanding things as well---minus the kind of deterministic/logical-causal reasoning that usually attends both classic Calvinist and Arminian ways.


  1. Thanks for pointing out the asymmetry between the abundant "Good" of God and the small "bad" of evil. It's ironic: we tend to accentuate the evil, bad news, in our minds, even though we are immersed in "every good and perfect gift" whether we see it or not. We tend to be like the dwarves in Narnia that can't see the good right in front of us, surrounding us. Genesis 2:9 says that God made ALL SORTS of trees, beautiful and full of abundant good fruit for us to enjoy, but in contrast to that picture of the overwhelming life He showers us with, we typically want to choose the one single tree that leads to death.

  2. Great analogy, Jerome; the dwarves of Narnia are a perfect example!


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