Old Doxoblogy

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What Is Fatalism?

Que sera, sera! Whatever will be, will be! This is fatalism in its bare form. All persons have a destiny called fate, and fate carries them along to the destination of fate. Fate is cold, merciless, and impersonal, giving good to the bad and bad to the good. This is exactly what Calvinism is not.

In my childhood I heard many sermons preached where Calvinists were termed 'fatalists'. But the fact of the matter is that Calvinists cannot be fatalists, if only for the simple reason that we believe in the God of Scripture. So, instead of give you a lecture on determinism, pre-determinism, fatalism, and philosophy, I'm just going to tell you about God.

The God that Calvinists see in the pages of Scripture is the Creator. As Creator He is sovereign over His creation. He made it and He controls it. The word 'control' is key here. He did not just create the world and set everything in motion, like a watchmaker with a watch. No, He created all things and is controlling all things.
All things are sustained by the word of His power. All things are being orchestrated together for His glory. He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called by Him. God is at work in the universe. He has left nothing to chance, or fate. He has a plan. A plan for His glory and our good. And He is moving everything along in His plan. There is an end goal that He is working all things towards.

The God that Calvinists see in the pages of Scripture is Holy. He is so holy that angels, who have never sinned or existed outside of His presence must cover their faces and feet in His presence. They cry out day and night one to another, "Holy, holy, holy", in a never-ending chorus of praise to their Creator.
What does Holiness mean? First, it means that God alone is like God. Simply stated, He is higher, better, and altogether apart from Creation. Secondly, He is pure, righteous, just, and love. He gives life and love and food and air and homes and families and anything else you can think of that is good to His creatures. He judges the corrupt and sinful who in pride rise up against Him in denying His blessings upon them. And He gives blessing upon blessing to those who obey Him.

The God that Calvinists see in the pages of Scripture is Wise. As a wise God who is Holy and Sovereign, He knows what is right better than we ourselves do. And He will do right by every single person, animal, flower, blade of grass, and microbe in the universe. He will never do anything wrong.
This is why Calvinists do not have a hard time believing that God has predestined somesalvationtion and left others to die in their sins. We trust Him. We know that He will do right. And we leave it to Him to bring about the final result.
This does not mean, however, that no matter what we do, whatever He has determined will come to pass anyway. No, He uses means, such as prayer, preaching, sin, and suffering to bring about His plan. If God has ordained that the sick be healed through the laying on of hands, then the sick will be healed through the laying on of hands. If He has ordained to supply our needs as an answer to prayer, then we must pray for our needs to be supplied. If He has ordained that His Son die by the hands of sinners to provide eternal salvation for those who believe the preaching of the Gospel, then the Son must die at the hands of sinners and we must preach the Gospel.

Finally, the God that Calvinists see in the pages of Scripture is a God of wrath. Wrath is reserved for all who rebel against their Sovereign Creator. And this means everyone. We have all rebelled against our rightful ruler. We are all deserving of wrath. But Christ took wrath upon Himself on the Cross. Not only the wrath of men, but the wrath of God. He suffered the penalty for our sins in His own body. But this is only for those who believe and repent. Believe and Repent.

4 comments:

Jeff Wright said...

Do you subscribe to the theory that for God to be all-knowing He must foreordain all of reality?

Shawn L said...

Jeff,

The truth is that the Bible teaches that God is perfectly good and Holy, and the Bible teaches that He is in control and orchestrates ALL things to accomplish His good pleasure (Job 42:2; Ps. 115:3; Isa. 14:27;
43:13; 46:10; Dan. 4:35; Eph. 1:11).

Jeff Wright said...

I agree with that Shawn.

However, is his soverignity based on foreordination?

Jeremy Weaver said...

Jeff,
I think that's the simplest way to put it. I'm not sure though if it is the only way He can know all things.
He is God who exists outside of time, space, and matter, and looks in and can see the beginning of time just as well as the end of time. So He can know all things in this way as well.
So I would say that God ordains all things and knows what He has ordained, but not that He must ordain all things in order to know all things.