Richard Coords, “Intentions”

, posted by Martin Glynn

Where do fallen man’s evil intentions and bad motives come from? 1st John 2:16 states that it comes from the world: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” So, then, evil intentions do not come from God, although He may use it to His own advantage, in order to redeem good from evil. Calvinism, however, claims that all evil intentions come from God, necessarily so, despite the fact that it contradicts 1st John 2:16.

What do Calvinists believe?

James White: “…since God judges on the basis of the intentions of the heart, there is in fact a ground for morality and justice.”202

Our reply:

So, does Calvinism teach that God causes and renders certain those same evil intentions that He judges? The answer according to Calvinism is yes, and what follows is the explanation for why.

What do Calvinists believe?

James White: “How could it have been God’s eternal purpose to judge this generation of Israel that was judged by the Assyrians? How could He do that? Because He’s dependent upon the evil intentions of the Assyrians which do not arise from a divine decree? Now I would argue that means He could not have known them anyways, but that’s another issue.”203

Our reply:

In Calvinism, God decrees whatsoever comes to pass, including the motives and intentions of every created being throughout all time. So, according to Calvinism, (a) God had to determine their intentions or else if He didn’t exhaustively and precisely determine their intentions, then (b) He couldn’t infallibly know what their intentions would be, and if He couldn’t infallibly know what their intentions would be, then (c) He couldn’t have had an eternal plan, and if He didn’t have an eternal plan, then (d) He couldn’t have had an eternal purpose, and if He didn’t have an eternal purpose, then (e) it follows that everything that happens must be random and pointless. Of course, (a) through (e) completely unravels if one accepts the belief that God is capable of knowing something without causing it. Additionally, 1st John 2:16 indicates that evil intentions come from the world, without saying that it somehow comes from God in order to execute His plans. Calvinists seem to have a really low view of God’s omniscience and omnipotence, if they really think that God must play both sides of the chess board in order to win.


202 Debating Calvinism (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 2004), 320.

203 Does Isaiah 10 prove Determinism?,, 1:05:31–1:05:49.