The deepest desire and need in the soul of every human being are to know that they are loved and that they matter. Calvinism teaches the opposite. Through Preterition and Reprobation, you may not matter and you can never know until death whether you’ve won the spiritual lottery. Here are perhaps three of the most well-known verses on God’s love:
Matthew 5:43-48: “‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’”
John 3:16: “‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.’”
1st John 4:8-11: “God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
What do Calvinists believe?
James White: “The contrast between the God-centeredness of the doctrines of grace and the man-centeredness of human tradition could hardly be stronger!”192
James White: “If there can be anything said of much of evangelicalism, it is man-centered.”193
James White: “As long as we think of the Gospel as being about men—saving men, redeeming men—those are all true things, but they are secondarily true. They are the result of what God has done in glorifying Himself, through the redemption of a particular people in Christ Jesus. But you have to start where the revelation starts. The revelation doesn’t start with man. If you start off with, ‘Well, we need to think about man’s need.’ No. You need to start with God’s glory. God’s decree. He is the Creator. He’s the One who made everything the way that it is.”194
Calvinists believe that God loves everyone in some sense, but not in the same sense. Indeed, God is said to have a greater love for Christians (John 16:26-27), but the question is how does predestining someone to be “non-elect” meet any sense of true love? Calvinists will speak of God giving rain and delaying judgment as being acts of love, but the bottom line in Calvinism is that predestining someone to be “non-elect” is not really any sense of true love that humans can readily identify with.
Here is a candid answer from Calvinist, R.C. Sproul in terms of God’s love in relation to people being created as non-elect:
R.C. Sproul: “If some people are not elected unto salvation then it would seem that God is not all that loving toward them. For them it seems that it would have been more loving of God not to have allowed them to be born.”195
Here is how that view even further devolves:
Vincent Cheung: “One who thinks that God’s glory is not worth the death and suffering of billions of people has too high an opinion of himself and humanity.”196
So, the candid answer in Calvinism is that creating people as nonelect is “not all that loving,” and that if that bothers you, then you have too high of an opinion of yourself and of humanity in general. In this way, Calvinism sucks the goodness out of God by presenting a very harsh view of God with virtually no sense of broad sympathetic appeal. In fact, it seems that the darker Calvinists portray God, the greater one’s faith that they could still revere such a God. All of this may be attributable to a Calvinist’s own gloomy way of coming to terms with their own sin. They know that they are sinful creatures but instead of responding to God with faith and hope in His goodness to forgive their sin and to help them overcome their sin, they respond to God as One who decreed their sinful inclinations in the first place, all for His own glory. In that way, Calvinism reduces humanity to a very utilitarian perspective—people are created for an overarching purpose of serving as vessels for use in displaying God’s various attributes of grace vs. wrath, love vs. hate ect., while in contrast, in non-Calvinism, God seeks a mutually loving relationship with humanity, in that He loves every lost sinner and paid the ultimate price at Calvary for the provision to rescue their soul.
Non-Calvinists indeed teach a much higher view of humanity than in Calvinism, but nonetheless which also matches what God thinks about humanity. Matthew 6:6 states: “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” God values humanity far more than what Calvinism describes, and that’s because we are all God’s children by creation. (Acts 17:28-29) Our value is derived, not in the way that we might feel about ourselves, but in how God values humanity who are created in His image.
192 Debating Calvinism (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 2004), 297.
193 James White, The God Centered Gospel vs. a Man Centered Gospel, 3:53-3:57.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtKRX58ujcY
194 Ibid., 4:30-5:17.
195 Chosen By God (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1986), 32.
196 The Problem of Evil, 2004, 10, www.vincentcheung.com.