John Calvin writes: “We mean by providence not an idle observation by God in heaven of what goes on in earth, but His rule of the world which He made; for He is not the creator of a moment, but the perpetual governor. Thus the providence we ascribe to God belongs not only to His eyes but to His hands.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.162, emphasis mine)
So God is actively involved in creation?
John Calvin also writes: “First, the eternal predestination of God, by which before the fall of Adam He decreed what should take place concerning the whole human race and every individual, was fixed and determined.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.121, emphasis mine)
But if everything involving creation is completely “decreed,” “fixed” and “determined,” then how is God actively involved in what is fixed? Calvinism certainly seems like a static environment, rather than a dynamic environment, as purported by the contradictory statement made by John Calvin.
One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians writes: “God is not a Deistic author who has transcribed a book in which everything is determined. He is an actor in the events that take place both in creation and eternity.” (SEA)
However, there is an aspect of Determinism which does find striking similarity with Deism.
Calvinist, R.C. Sproul, explains: “In Reformed Theology, if God is not sovereign over the entire created order, then he is not sovereign at all.” (What is Reformed Theology?, p.27)
Now consider the definition of Deism:
The similarity between Sproul’s “script” theory and Deism’s “clockmaker” are unmistakable, especially when you consider the Calvinist teaching that prayer does not change God, but rather, changes us.
Notice the defense of the sovereignty of God, which is also so evident with Calvinism.
Calvinist, Spiros Zodhiates comments: “Hasn’t God already determined everything, however? Yes, He has. If so, then how can prayer produce results? After all, His decrees are immutable. It is true that God has foreknown and predestinated everything that happens in Heaven above and in earth beneath. Why pray then? But that’s like asking, if God has predestined the air, why should we breathe? The answer is, because He has ordained it so. Yes, it could have been possible that we didn’t need to breathe to live, but God who has put oxygen here in the exact amount needed to sustain life has also ordained that we should breathe; and He who has set His plans ahead of time has also told us that we should ask and pray. It’s all there waiting for us to appropriate it, but He says, ask for it. Prayer simply releases what God wants to give us. He also predestined His people’s prayers. When we pray we produce links in the chain of ordained facts. It gives us a sense of bringing to pass that which God in eternity predetermined. That’s a tremendous thing to contemplate -- that when we pray God does something. It proves that we are in tune with God, and what we have asked has been in such agreement with God’s purposes that it has been accomplished and we are co-workers with God. The privilege of prayer is tremendous. What joy to know that we have adjusted our will with the plan of God. Destiny decrees that we should pray; therefore we pray. Destiny decrees that we shall be answered, and the answer comes. The Lord Jesus says the decrees of God need not trouble us. They are His business. He has also determined that our business is to pray.” (Why Pray?, pp.91-92, emphasis mine)
Calvinists do not believe that prayer changes God, but rather, that prayer merely changes us. After all, if God scripted whatsoever comes to pass through an immutable decree, then nothing can be changed. This is what draws comparisons between Calvinism’s “script” and Deism’s “clockmaker” analogies. Both Calvinism and Deism have the same Deterministic worldview.
James 4:2 states: “You do not have because you do not ask.”
However, if they do not ask because God did not script it so, then the whole thing becomes a charade. Prayer has to be able to influence God’s decisions, though not His unchangeable character. This, obviously, runs counter to Determinism of Calvinism and Deism.
Here is a Forum discussion on this very topic.