But is this really an example of the total depravity of humankind? Those with a theological understanding of depravity must admit that an equally appalling vision of depravity is seen when you and I view our visage in the mirror. The Calvinist must take it one step further and ask the ultimate cause of horrors like Darfur, like the Holocaust, like …
Calvinism (and any theology derived from Augustinianism) is ultimately determinist meaning that God’s sovereign will is exercised as the cause of all things, including human acts. Gordon Clark says “I wish very frankly and pointedly to assert that if a man gets drunk and shoots his family, it was the will of God that he should do it.” (Clark, Religion, Reason, and Revelation, 221) Without a libertarian free-will, the man would be unable to not perform this wicked act and though the ultimate motivator for this heinous act may have preceded the moment by several hours or months or years, a determinist view sees all events from the beginning of time until the end to be causally connected like links in a chain (cf. Sproul, Invisible Hand). If God has arranged things in such a way that previous events and the choices associated with them cause those that follow and these choices are irresistible, events and choices must be seen as God’s intentional activity. Calvinist Edwin Palmer puts it bluntly as he intones that ‘the Bible is clear: God ordains sin.’ (Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism pp 85, 103, 106)
To return to the earlier mentioned post that confronts us with a picture of a refugee child being shadowed by a buzzard and the suggestion that this shows the ‘total depravity’ of humankind. As mentioned before many times, the total depravity point of the TULIP has nothing to do with measurement of evil, only that the bond between God and man is so completely wrought that only divine intervention can repair it. Given that, how do we work through Calvin’s system without coming to the conclusion that this scenario was anything but determined from the beginning of time? The Calvinist who thinks about their theology can come to nothing other than a morally reprehensible conclusion about God. Many will attempt the canard of ‘permit but not decree’ but the logic required by the theologian to supportion this notion is so uncomfortably twisted as to lead inevitably back to the previous conclusion.
Let’s think about our theology and ensure that it matches the whole of God’s revelation. So many times, we claim a theological standard that we have not given sufficient consideration to. This requires that we examine the possibility found in alternative systems before declaring them heretical. We must come to a conclusion: God is the author of sin or God is love.