Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Response to Jay Dyer on Calvinism (Part 3 of 13)

This is part 3 of the thirteen part series in response to Jay Dyer. The previous part may be found here (link).

Jay Dyer says:
2) "[A consistent Calvinist must be] Manichaean, in that nature is inherently evil."

(Note, "Manichaean" and "Manichean" are both widely used spellings for this position.)

I answer:

a) The Calvinist Position (whether right doctrine or error let Scripture decide)

Men are, by nature, children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). Nevertheless, God originally created man good (Genesis 1:26-31) although fallible (Genesis 2:16-17). By Adam's fall, he and all those whom he represented died and came under bondage to sin (Romans 5:12). In regeneration, the old becomes new (Colosians 3:10 and Ephesians 4:24) as a result of the work of Christ (Ephesians 2:15). Thus, Christ is called the new Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). God has foreordained all things that come to pass (Acts 17:26), and has a purpose even in the evil acts of men (e.g. Genesis 50:20). Thus, as Proverbs 16:4 states, "The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil," and as it is written in the Epistle to the Romans, "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." (Romans 9:18)

b) The Accusation Disputed

The error of the Manicheans may be succinctly described as asserting that the physical world is intrinsicly evil, having been created by an evil opposite of God. Thus, the Manicheans deny that evil has a purpose in God's plan, view the body as contemptible, and deny God's omnipotence. Calvinism, however, teaches that God has a purpose even in the evil that happens, that the bodies of believers will be redeemed, and that God is omnipotent, even to the point of affirming that nothing can happen apart from the permission of God. Thus, no consistent Calvinist could be a Manichean.

c) The Accusation Redirected

On the other hand, Manichean errors - particularly the dualism of viewing the body as intrinsically evil - have had a perceptible impact on the theology of Roman Catholicism. Thus, for example, we seen in modern Roman Catholicism things like a view that abstinence from sexual relations is more holy than normal marital relations and an exaltation of asceticism.

Furthermore, Catholicism does not have a clear answer to the question of the purpose of evil. That is to say, Catholicism cannot consistently account for the existence of evil in the Creation. This can be seen from the widespread denial of predestination in Catholicism. To be sure, there are some Thomistic folks within Catholicism who would have a similar view to Calvinists (which in itself should cause Mr. Dyer to pause), but the Roman magisterium has not clearly sided with either Thomists or the Molinists (in fact, folks like Jimmy Akin (a popular lay apologist for Catholicism) claim that the Roman magisterium has adopted the essentially relativistic position that Thomism, Molinism, and at least one other view are all acceptable, and none can call the others heretics (source)). Nevertheless, Molinism or a form/variant of it, is the most widely promoted view in Catholicism today. This position ultimately denies God's omnipotence, by asserting that man's "free-will" decisions are something that God cannot control.

-TurretinFan

Continue to Part 4

9 comments:

Jay Dyer said...

Hey, you're correct: I am a Thomist and I've always affirmed, since leaving Calvinism, unconditional election and efficacious grace. I have several posts at my site defending it against Molinism. In fact, I'm a big fan of Fr. Reginald Lagrange, OP, who was the premier Thomist of the 20th century and defender of the Augustinian/Thomistic tradition against the Molinists.

He notes in his masterly treatise "Predestination," that the Papal affirmations, inculuding the Indiculus, which Ephesus affirms, as well as the later condemnations of certain views of Molina definitely point in the direction of our case. However, Molinism is tolerated, and the reason for this will be seen when we reach the point of monothelitism.

I'll respond to this latest of your posts soon. The ice storm that hit Kentucky has left thousands without power, and I'm one of them and presently at a relative's. But that ice storm was 100% the decree of God! Soli Deo Gloria!

Jay

Matt said...

I thought my comment was relatively useful?

Turretinfan said...

Comments that are useful but controversial tend to await the time when I have a chance to respond.

Your comment hasn't been rejected, it's publication has just been delayed. And it is not alone. There is another comment currently waiting on this same post.

-TurretinFan

Matt said...

Oh...sorry..I didn't understand that. I'm not used to blogs with moderated comments, though it is probably a very good idea.

As I said in the original post, I'd be glad to flesh out some of the claims with evidence. I didn't do so for certain reasons, as I said. Just let me know.

Turretinfan said...

Yes, one feature that would be nice in Blogger would be opportunity to let a commenter know that his comment had been receieved but held (or rejected). This would eliminate some of the uncertainty as to whether an answer should be forthcoming.

One alternative some people use is to simply post their comment as an entry on their own blog with a link to the post they are commenting upon. If all works as it should, this automatically generates a link in the "comments elsewhere" section, and provides a way to get one's point across without having to wait for such a slow moderator as myself.

One poor chap has been waiting about a year and a half for one of his more interesting comments to be addressed, because I have only found time to address half of it so far. I hope yours will be addressed more speedily.

-TurretinFan

Jay Dyer said...

Is that why you won't publish my comments that are relevant and useful?


Jay

Turretinfan said...

Your comments on this post, Jay, are the other of the still-pending comments. They haven't been rejected.

-TurretinFan

lee woo said...

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength. See the link below for more info.

#gentleness
www.ufgop.org

lee woo said...

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength. See the link below for more info.

#gentleness
www.ufgop.org