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9.02.2005

'Common Grace' and Calvinism

On a fairly deep theological note, there's an excellent article over at Reformation 21: Sam Storms on Katrina, Common Grace, and the End of the Age.

Here's the deal.

The Bible teaches really clearly that people are inherently bad, compared to the infinite goodness of God. And, deep down, we know that's true; we don't have to teach our children to be selfish (as Frank Peretti once humorously explained...)

And yet, people are pretty good. Really, when you think about it, society functions because humanity is pretty nice to itself most of the time, regardless of religious background/interest/involvement.

Why?

The article linked above does a good job of explaining "common grace". Basically, God's light shines on those who love him and those who don't. That doesn't explain why bad things happen to good people (which is explained instead by the overall "sinful" nature of the world)... but it does explain why good things happen to bad people.

Since a personal interest of mine is arguments against Calvinism (which is basically "extreme determinism," saying that God is control of everything -- including whether people "choose" to follow Him or not), I think the doctrine of common grace needs to be emphasized more so that people don't fall into the trap of extreme Calvinism.

Sure, nobody of their own accord "chooses God" or even "chooses to be Godly", becuase we're all inherently sinful. But God give everyone on the planet enough "common grace" so that they're capable of following Him if they want to.

I won't say more; read the article if you're interested, since it draws some interesting conclusions (including an explanation of how heaven and hell could exist and what they're like!)

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