John Piper, and many other Calvinists, appeal to God’s work to ensure Calvary (i.e. Acts 2:23 & 4:27-28) as their proof of Divine Determinism (as addressed on THIS PODCAST).
But does citing examples of events God has worked to bring about prove God brings about all events in this manner? If so, there are some significant issues that should be addressed.
A QUESTION FOR MY CALVINISTIC FRIENDS
When we object to the concept of divine determinism (God’s sovereign work to bring about all things whatsoever that come to pass) and you appeal to the crucifixion as your proof that God brings about all moral evil, are you saying that God is sovereignly working so as to redeem the very sins He sovereignly worked to bring about? Is Calvary just about God cleaning up His own mess — redeeming His own determinations?
Appealing to God’s sovereign work to ensure the redemption of sin so as to prove that God sovereignly works to bring about all the sin that was redeemed is a self-defeating argument. It would be tantamount to arguing that because a police department set up a sting operation to catch a notorious drug dealer, that the police department is responsible for every single intention and action of all drug dealers at all times. Proof that the police department worked in secretive ways to hide their identities, use evil intentions, and work out the circumstances in such a way that the drug dealer would do what they wanted him to do (sell drugs) at that particular moment in time does not suggest that the police are in anyway responsible for all that drug dealer has done or ever will do. We celebrate and reward the actions of this police department because they are working to stop the drug activity, not because they are secretly causing all of it so as to stop some of it. Teaching that God brings about all sin based on how He brought about Calvary is like teaching that the police officer brings about every drug deal based on how he brought about one sting operation.
Yes, at times the scriptures do speak of God “hardening” men’s hearts (Ex. 7; Rm. 9), blinding them with a “spirit of stupor” (Rm. 11:8) and delaying their healing by use of parabolic language (Mk. 4:11-12, 34; Matt. 16:20), and He always does so for a redemptive good. But the reason such passages stand out so distinctly from the rest of scripture is because of their uniqueness. If God worked this way in every instance these texts would make no sense. After all, what is there for God to harden, provoke, or restrain if not the autonomous will of creatures?
If everything is under the meticulous control of God’s sovereign work what is left to permit and/or restrain except that which He is already controlling? Is God merely restraining something that He previously determined? Why blind eyes from seeing something the were “naturally” predetermined not to see? Why put a parabolic blind fold on a corpse-like dead sinner incapable of seeing spiritual truth? These are questions many Calvinists seem unwilling to entertain at any depth.