God controls what man chooses

Opponents of Calvinism are often especially frustrated with the idea that God determines all things, preferring instead the idea that man freely chooses– he has so-called “freedom of the will.”

The denial of a completely free will is not so radical or crazy, of course, for even a plethora of secular philosophers deny to man a libertarian freedom in terms of the will. The answer is simple: man lives and makes decisions within a framework of preconceptions, personal history, experiences, education, and so on. Only a man without any outside influence on his will has a free will. But since the mind is its own propositions and no man exists in a vacuum, the idea of a libertarian freedom of the will is absurd.

In the Calvinist framework, God has arranged the circumstances of men, the type of responses that will be chosen by them, and the setting and background of their life. All these things bear on man’s will and therefore he is not free from them. God’s arrangement of the nature and characteristics of each man indicates that man’s every move is determined by God.

Gordon Clark echoes this when he answers the question of verbal inspiration of the Bible:

Put it this way: God, who works all things according to his will and who has done whatsoever he pleased, for no one can stay his hand or say, what doest Thou, from all eternity decreed to lead the Jews out of slavery by the hand of Moses. To this end he so controlled events that Moses was born at a given date, placed in the water to save him from an early death, found by Pharaoh’s daughter, given the best Egyptian education possible, driven into the wilderness to learn patience, and in every detail so prepared by heredity and environment that when the time came Moses’ mentality and literary style were instruments precisely fitted to speak God’s words. Between Moses and God there was an inner union, an identity of purpose, a cooperation of will, such that the words Moses wrote were God’s own words and Moses’ own words at the same time.

Gordon Clark (2011-07-02T18:48:21+00:00). God’s Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics (Gordon Clark) (Kindle Locations 322-328). The Trinity Foundation. Kindle Edition.

Indeed, man chooses, makes decisions– after all, a denial of free will is not a denial of the existence of the will. But since God structured every mind to respond in certain ways to certain stimuli, and since God arranges circumstances and experiences, God determined the actions of man. But man does act, he does employ reason in connecting means and ends. Man chooses, but he chooses according to what is in his mind, which was designed and determined by God.

Written by 

C.Jay Engel is the editor and lives with his wife in Northern California