Arguments against Calvinism and Predestination

Ben Perry


This short paper contains a list of common-sense and biblical arguments and counter-arguments against Calvinism and predestination. I am not saying that Calvinists are going to hell or anything radical like that. Calvinists are Christians and Calvinists and non-Calvinist Christians share a multitude of common ideas and beliefs. Truly, in the end, it doesn't matter if God elected us or if we elected God, for we are with Him.

My main beef against Calvinism is the belief that God predestined certain people to be "elect"; in normal words, Calvinists believe that God dictated who will be saved before that person was even born. Now, that in itself is not so radical when you stop to consider how God sees time. But what is outragous is how Calvinists believe that man has no free will in the matter. I.e., man does not choose to follow God, God predestines man to follow God and be saved. So they believe that it's not: "Because you have faith in God and follow his ways, God will have mercy on you and save you." Instead, they believe it's: "Because God chose you, you will serve God and be saved." This paper will refute this notion.

What is Calvinism?

There are five main points to Calvinism spelled out by the TULIP acronymn:

Why is Calvinism based on an unstable foundation?

The last four points rely so strongly on the first point. Is man purely evil and incapable of good deeds whose intentions were not born of evil origins? Many non-calvinists typically grant this first point, for it seems biblical and logical. Unfortunately, if we grant the first point, then the other four points can easily be proven as true, thus acknowledging that Calvinism is in fact true. But I contend that man is not purely evil. For if man was indeed purely evil, it is easily seen that man cannot possibly obey God's command to repent. God threatens to eternally punish those who do not repent. But if man is purely evil and thus cannot repent, then God is not just. Rather, man can indeed repent. Even Moses declared to his hearers that what he is commanding them to do is not too difficult or beyond their reach. Moses simply commanded them to love God, to walk in his ways and his commands, decrees, and laws. Yet, if man is totally incapable of any non-evil-motivated action, then man surely cannot whole-heartedly repent, and man surely cannot obey God's laws with all his heart and all his soul as is commanded in Deuteronomy 26:16This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul..

Many Calvinists would point out Romans 9:15-18For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH." So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires., which state something along the likes of " '[God to Moses:] I'll have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I'll have compassion on whom I have compassion.' [Paul:] So it depends not upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's mercy... So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills." The calvinists suggest that this is the silver bullet proof that God predestines the elect. However, this is an incorrect interpretation. These verses are simply stating that nothing man can do by himself can get him into heaven. Man needs God's grace and mercy, which only God can grant. God grants mercy to those he grants mercy to, and we can presume from Jesus' teachings that God will grant mercy to those whose hearts are truly seeking God and who follow Jesus' path in heart, mind, and action.

Regarding Predestination


Yes, God is omnipotent and omniscient. He knows what will happen before it will happen. But foreknowledge does not imply predestination. Our problem is that we cannot fathom time the way God knows it. We see time as a constant stream from point A to point B. This is why we cannot fathom that there is no beginning to God and no end to God. God is infinity. God simply is.

Yes, I believe God predestines many events. Many events throughout the Bible have been predestined.  Jesus' birth was predestined. Jesus' death was predestined. Jesus' resurrection was predestined. Many things in our own lives could very well be predestined. But God certainly does not predestine people to go to heaven or go to hell. It is man's choice to either accept God's path or reject it.

-Ben Perry