Psalm 115:3: “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”
Psalm 135:6: “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”
1st Corinthians 1:21: “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Ezekiel 33:11: “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’”
These verses reflect a more well-rounded perspective of God’s pleasure, than what Calvinism otherwise presents:
One Calvinist argues: “If one ultimately agrees that God does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3), then one cannot but conclude that those who are not included in salvation are not included by God’s good plan and, therefore, ultimately, His good pleasure. Moreover, how is it possible that a Sovereign God, about whom Scripture plainly says He does what ‘He pleases’ (Psalm 115:3), would fail to save those whom He wants to save?”
What pleases God is a Gospel that results in a kingdom of people who chose to love and be with Him under otherwise adverse circumstances, and these He does not fail to save. Conversely, God is not pleased when people remain unbelieving and perish.
But according to Calvinism, God is pleased to elect people apart from the basis of faith in Christ, and is pleased to mysteriously pass by the rest into eternal death:
John Calvin: “First he points out the eternity of election, and then how we should think of it. Christ says that the elect always belonged to God. God therefore distinguishes them from the reprobate, not by faith, nor by any merit, but by pure grace; for while they are far away from him, he regards them in secret as his own.” (John: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.393, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “...God has chosen to salvation those whom He pleased, and has rejected the others, without our knowing why, except that its reason is hidden in His eternal counsel.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.53, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “Those therefore whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children.” (Institutes, Book 3, Chapter 23, Section 1, emphasis mine)
Calvin adds: “If what I teach is true, that those who perish are destined to death by the eternal good pleasure of God though the reason does not appear, then they are not found but made worthy of destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.121, emphasis mine)
The Calvinistic, Westminster Confession of Faith: “III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.” Additionally, it states: “VII. The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unreachable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, III. Of God’s Eternal Decree, emphasis mine)
Calvinists are hung up on Circular Logic, because they first presume that God has picked certain elect-unbelievers to believe and be saved, while excluding the rest as a “non-elect” class, and thus God does not wish for these to turn and believe, but which is contradicted by Jeremiah 18:1-13 and Ezekiel 33:11.
Question: Does God do whatever He pleases?
Question: Are those who are not included in salvation, excluded by God’s design?
Answer: Yes, insomuch that it is God’s design to exclude unbelievers from the eternal life that He offers at John 3:16, as it pleases God “to save those who believe,” according to 1st Corinthians 1:21.
Question: Does God fail to save those that He wants to save?
Answer: No, because God will save all who believe in His Son, as per John 3:16.
Question: Does God take pleasure in the death of the wicked?
Answer: No, because God would rather have it that they turn and live, as per Ezekiel 33:11.
Steven Hitchcock: “God is pleased with those who come to Him and who seek Him by faith. The Calvinists does not teach that dead sinners can come to God, nor can they seek Him by faith, but rather, that God must first make them alive in Christ, so that then they then can come to God and seek Him.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.180, emphasis mine)
Steven Hitchcock: “God has created us as image bearers and giving us an intrinsic knowledge of Him, and as such, what pleases God is that we acknowledge Him as those already possessed of those attributes that He has given to us for that very purpose. God has acted first in creating us and in making certain truths evident within us and as He is a rewarder of men’s thoughts and actions, we ought not to think that God would be pleased in causing us to love and believe in Him, when He knows that we are being willfully unbelieving. This is evident in our own personal relationships, for do we not value being loved by others whom we have not ‘caused’ to love us? If at any point we thought that we have ‘caused’ others to love us, would it not destroy the very thing that we cherished in being loved? By our sincere and meaningful expressions and demonstrations of our love we may have moved others to love us, but we have not caused them to love us. Love only breathers in open and true relationships and cannot be brought to perfection if it is one sided.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.180, emphasis mine)