When I think about the God as represented by the T.U.L.I.P., I sometimes have to stop myself or else I might get an ulcer. I find God as represented in the T.U.L.I.P as detestable. The first time I found out what the Calvinism T.U.L.I.P. was, I literally had chills run down my spine. It also baffled me how anyone could find such a God worthy of worship and praise. Double Predestination probably disgusted me the most, the idea that God actually wants people to suffer in Hell for eternity. Now granted, I’ve always believed that God doesn’t owe anyone salvation, and that He wouldn’t be immoral even if no one got saved. Nevertheless, it seemed unfair for God to seemingly choose arbitrarily some to save and others to damn, regardless of their choices. God is a just God. It seemed to me that for God to be just, He must either offer salvation to everyone, or offer it to no one. But aside from that, what really baffles me is how anyone can find God praiseworthy if He determines absolutely everything. If God determines everything, He must determine our sins. And if He determines our sins, how can He be worthy of praise? If that were really true, to think that God determined the holocaust and 9-11 would suck out every last bit of love I have for the Lord.
Believing that God determines everything has some bizarre consequences on how we view the gospel. For if God determines our sins, and we believe Jesus died for our sins, then Jesus is basically remedying a problem that He Himself created.
Did anyone here see the movie produced by Disney Pixar called “The Incredibles”? In it, there was a character named Syndrome. He secretly created robots to wreak havoc on the city, and then he would come in and destroy the evil robots and take glory in being the hero who saved the town. He saved the people from the very problems that he himself created. That’s kind of like what God is on the T.U.L.I.P. view. He’s the author of sin, and He died to save us (the elect at least) from the very sins he decreed we would do. Jesus is solving the problems He Himself made for us.
The only reason Syndrome got praised by the people of the city was because the people didn’t know that he was originally the one who created the problem. As soon as it was found out, they all would have hated him. They no longer would find him praiseworthy. Now, if we view Syndrome that way, why don’t Calvinists view God that way? Well, because He’s sovereign. End of story. You usually get that as a response, or you get the common slogan in the form of a question; “Who are you O man to question God?”, or you’ll get accused of committing the straw man fallacy. But you’ll be hard pressed to get a Calvinist to give a rational argument on how God would be just if He operated the way they say He operates.
Now, I’ve found that often times when giving a description of Calvinists views, Calvinists would jump in and accuse me of a straw man argument, and I’m often puzzled at how I misrepresent their views since I’m just going on what I’ve heard other Calvinists themselves say, and I do my best to accurately describe their theological views. Given the doctrine of predestination, I find it hard to believe how you can escape the conclusion of how God is the author of sin. Never mind that historically, Calvinists themselves have said that God had ordained man’s sin (the fall of Adam and Eve mentioned in particular). But just looking at the Calvinist theology, if you take it to its logical conclusion, you find that God is the author of sin. For instance, if you affirm the doctrine of predestination (at least how the Calvinist interprets it, Arminians affirm predestination too, but we understand it to be something very different than what the Calvinist believes it is), you must also affirm double predestination. Why? Because, if you believe that God chose, before He ever created the universe, that certain individuals would go to Heaven unconditionally, you must, by default, believe that God preordained the eternal damnation of everyone else. If God chooses some for Heaven (i.e The Elect), He must also choose everyone else to burn in Hell (i.e the non-elect).
So, what follows from the doctrine of double predestination? It follows that God must pre-ordain everyone’s sins. If God unconditionally predestines some people to Hell and God condemns people to Hell because they did evil things, then God must have predestined the people’s sins so that He would have a reason to send them to Hell. If God chose for those people to go to Hell before the universe was ever created, he must have also chose that the people would do the things that were deserving of them going to Hell. For example, if God unconditionally chose from eternity past to condemn Satan to Hell, He must have also preordained His rebellion. In conclusion, if unconditional predestination is true, double predestination is true. If double predestination is true, the God-is-the-author-of-sin-and-evil belief is true. God cannot predestine people for Hell without also predestining the reason why God sent them to Hell. Unless we believe God just predestines people to Hell for the “Hell” of it (pun intended).
The belief that God determines sin is also very unbiblical. In the book of James, James states explicitly that God cannot cause people to sin. He writes “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;” – James 1:13 (NIV)