Monday, July 19, 2010

Does God Sin By Allowing Evil - Part 3 (Contradiction)

Topic 3: Does Arminianism contradict itself?




Now at last, I get to the point which probably starting this whole discussion. Pike's main point was that Arminians contradict themselves. He does not believe that God is culpable for allowing or causing sin, because He believes that God is not held to the same standards that we are held to. The reason he wrote about how there could be culpability involved in allowing sin was to make the point that Arminian theology is internally inconsistent - that it contradicts itself.

In his own words, Peter Pike writes:

"Iif a Calvinist says that God is not culpable for the sins of a person even though He foreordained that the sins would occur, the Arminian claim is that we are held culpable if we force others to sin, so God would be too... The Calvinist then says, 'God's relationship to man is not the same as man's relationship to other men, therefore He is not culpable.'

On the other hand, the Arminian (in addressing the problem of evil) states: God is not culpable for the sins of a person even though He allowed those sins to occur, and the atheist says if we allowed those things to occur to other people we would be held culpable. The Arminian then responds: 'God's relationship to man is not the same as man's relationship to other men, therefore He is not culpable.'"

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The Dilemma

So what exactly is the supposed contradiction? From Pike's point of view, the internal contradiction is that Arminians seem to hold to these two contradictory positions:

  • God's relationship to man is different from man's relationship to man - therefore, He is not culpable for permitting sin, when we might be.

  • God's relationship to man is not different from man's relationship to man - therefore, He could be culpable for causing men to sin, because we would be help culpable for causing others to sin.

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Discussion

That would be an internal contradiction, if we actually believed it. However, Pike fails to take into account a few factors here. Firstly, God's relationship to man may be different from man's relationship to man, but His moral character is the same as that which He seeks to conform us to - namely, love. God's relationship to man is different from man's relationship to man, and certainly different from man's relationship to an ox. [In fact, it would be immoral if we treated other people like owned oxen.]

The actual belief:
  • God is not culpable for permitting sin, because He does not have a role of responsibility (like the ox owner would, or the watchman would), and everything He does is in accordance with His pure motive and essence of love.

  • God would be culpable for causing men to sin, not because He has the same role in life as we do, but because it would go against His nature to cause what He abhors, and because in the Bible He condemns anything that causes sin.

So, the doctrine may be detailed, and even confusing to some, but it certainly does not rely on the logic that some calvinists represent, and it certainly does not contradict itself. These two beliefs are consistent with each other.