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DFW Theology & Apologetics Meetup Message Board › Doing otherwise

Doing otherwise

A former member
Post #: 120
This addresses the Calvinist proposition regarding irresistible grace. As I understand it, all the elect will accept God?s grace. They will do so because the grace is irresistible. Somehow these same people are supposed to have a choice, in spite of the fact they will never choose otherwise. They will have an option to do otherwise in spite of the fact they will never take the option.

I argue this combination of propositions cannot both be true. We cannot truly have an option unless it is truly possible to choose that option. We cannot have a choice unless it is possible to do otherwise than we will do.

Todd?s favorite argument is to attempt to prove the Calvinist position by using an analogy. His analogy appears to support the idea that a person could have a choice, but would always choose one way.

My contention is that this analogy only appears to support the Calvinist position because we do not correctly understand the restrictions that are assumed in the analogy.

Todd?s favorite analogy is giving a person a choice of eating either a nice steak or eating dog food. He assumes all will choose the steak. He assumes all are making a free choice.

He is assuming his analogy proves more than it proves. It does so because it allows us to imagine an amount for ?freedom? in the analogy that he does not really allow in his analogy.

To illustrate, allow me to discuss the set of analogy?s which would work for Todd. Let?s consider the set of analogies which we might think would work:

1) Choice between steak and dog food
2) Choice between strawberry ice cream and dirt.
3) Choice between taking 40 lashes and going to an enjoyable concert.
4) Choice between fresh baked bread and moldy bread.
5) Choice between $1.00 and $ .95.

Let me now consider the set of analogies which would NOT illustrate Todd?s belief:

1) Choice between Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke.
2) Choice between a rock concert and a C & W concert.
3) Choice between Door A and Door B.
4) Choice between fresh rye bread and fresh white bread.
5) Choice between $1.00 and a cup of coffee.

Notice that all members of the first set have in common the characteristic that it appears obvious as to which choice anyone in his right mind would take. The members of the second set have in common the characteristic that it is not obvious have a person would choose. However, the first set still can appear that a person is making a choice, that a person could choose otherwise. This is an ?appearance? only, because if it is ever shown that a person REALLY could choose otherwise, the analogy would be removed from the first set. What is hidden is the fact that in order to qualify to be in the first set an analogy has to be such that a person cannot choose otherwise.

Let?s consider how new information might affect the sets. Let suppose someone does a scientific study and gives 1,000 people the choice between fresh and moldy bread. Let us assume that 999 of them choose the fresh bread and one chooses the moldy bread.

This analogy would move from Set 1 to Set 2. Why? Because in order to be in the set of analogies that fit Todd?s belief, the analogy has to assume that ALL people will choose one over the other. If ANYONE in a particular analogy can even be IMAGINED to have chosen otherwise, the analogy does not fit the Calvinist propositions.

Let?s assume we do a scientific experiment and determine that one person in a million would choose dog food over the steak. In that case, the analogy would NOT fit Todd?s belief.

This is because his belief is that NO-ONE would choose to reject God?s grace if that person was among the elect. Todd believes that if a person is elect he will invariably choose the grace of God.

However, Todd wants us to still believe there is a choice so he picks an analogy which appears to allow for choice. However, the analogy is not reflective of the belief because the analogy, in order to be a true analogy, CANNOT allow for a person to do otherwise. In order for a person to REALLY have an option, he must have the ability to take the option. In order for an analogy to be in the set of analogies that fits Todd?s depiction of Calvinism it has to be a situation where a person would NOT do otherwise. If any analogy is subsequently shown to be one where anyone really had an option, that analogy is removed from the set of analogy?s which fit Calvinism.

In order for a person to have a free choice, he has to have the option to do otherwise than he does. He has to have the ability to choose otherwise. Calvinism assumes the deck is so stacked against a member of the elect choosing to resist God?s grace that NO-ONE will so choose. If the deck is so stack that no one will choose otherwise, one cannot freely choose otherwise. If it cannot be IMAGINED that one would choose otherwise, we cannot also IMAGINE he can do otherwise unless we do not mind being inconsistent in order to maintain our beliefs.
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