Last week The Non-Alchemist (NA) tweeted out an “update” to an older post that was originally titled “The Moral Dilemmas of Reformed Theology”, which he decided to spice up with a new title that goes more for the jugular: “Contorting Our Moral Compass For Calvinist Jesus”.
Now, considering the fact that I responded to that post in it’s original form, it’s only fair that I respond to the update to that post.
Just to rehash NA’s chief complaint is that Calvinism, and really Reformed theology in general, accepts the fact that any human, regardless of age or mental ability, is fully subject to the wrath of God because they are—by nature of being Adam’s offspring—due an eternity of suffering that wrath.
Now, I would take such a conclusion as a principal fact and a principle of the applicability of the doctrine of original sin with regard to the obligation to proclaim the gospel: God holds all accountable and makes no distinction between men with regard to offense so that all that are saved by Christ are truly saved.
However, when NA titles something that is essentially a claim, namely that Calvinists are somehow “contorting” our “moral compass” to accept simple facts is simply begging the question of, how does one know what is or is not moral? As I demonstrated in this analysis of a similar argument made by Neil Carter, a moral compass is useless without an objective reference point wherewith to provide reference, as I wrote there,
“The fact that we refer to a “moral compass”, which is subjective, does not negate the fact that the compass requires an objective reference point to operate. There are factors that can interfere with its operation, but that doesn’t refute the fact that you require a reference point in order to operate from. Denying it is not a refutation. Renaming it is not a refutation. … [The] compass can only direct you to what objectively exists. (emphasis original)
So when NA asks questions like,
“How is it fair to punish a creature to the degree and for the duration of hell for finite crimes?
He is thinking neither about the nature of the offense nor the object of the offense, and not about whether or not something is actually “fair”.
Similarly, when he asks,
“How is it even possible to be guilty for what another has done?
He is assuming something that no one argues for.
Likewise, when he asks,
“How can God cause human sins and remain blameless, especially in the case of Adam and Eve who had no evil inclinations prior to the fall?
Is essentially to try to blame God, much like Adam did, because it falsely assumes that all causes are the same, which is to engage in the fallacy of equivication.
It all comes down to assuming a meaningful position because these are questions that only a Christian theist can dare to ask, and NA markets himself as an agnostic. If NA thinks that these questions he asks are supposed to be meaningful, or his observations are true in any sense, then he’s abandoning that agnosticism and taking a positive position, namely the position of Paul’s interlocutor in Romans 9, who Paul refuted with a simple question:
“But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? (Romans 9:20, ESV).
- James N. Anderson. “Calvinism and the First Sin”. Calvinism and the Problem of Evil. Edited by David E. Alexander and Daniel M. Johnson. Wipf and Stock Publishers. Eugene, OR. 2016. p. 407/610 (Scribd)