The logic works like this. God cannot learn anything. Therefore God does not learn the thoughts of others, but determines all thoughts, and must necessarily know what He determined. Therefore, there is but one independent thinker in the cosmos, from which all thoughts arise, which is great for the good thoughts, but what about the others? Moreover, how does God know what any person will think next? Can God know what a person will think next, if He does not determine it for them? To a Calvinist, the answer is no. To a Calvinist, God would have to determine their thoughts for them, in order to know it, or else He must wait for them to think it, and then learn what it is. Now since God is omniscient throughout eternity, all thoughts throughout eternity must be prescripted as well. Now if God is thinking people’s thoughts for them, then what are they? Puppets. Now a Calvinist can argue that it is for His glory, but the result is the same. They’re puppets.
Dave Hunt explains: “Calvinism treats man as a puppet that God makes willing, yet the Bible gives man credit for having a willing heart as though the willingness were his own. The judgment seat of Christ, His promised rewards, the Great White Throne judgment, and the lake of fire are meaningless if all is of God and nothing is from the heart of man. The many statements about the person being willing from his heart become nonsensical.” (Debating Calvinism, p.339, emphasis mine)
Dave Hunt writes: “Surely love is the most important and most thrilling subject of all--and nothing is so beautiful as God’s love manifest in Jesus Christ. Tragically, Calvinism robs us of what ought to be ‘the greatest story ever told.’ It reduces God’s love to a form of favoritism without passion, and it denies man the capacity of responding from his heart, thereby robbing God of the joy of a genuine response from man and the glory it alone can bring.” (Debating Calvinism, p.255, emphasis mine)
Dave Hunt explains: “The entire history of mankind becomes a puppet show, with God the puppeteer. He looked down upon men and saw that ‘the wickedness of man was great…Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…. The earth also was corrupt…and…filled with violence’ (Genesis 6:5, 11). This situation ‘grieved [God] at his heart.’ But, if as Calvinism says, God caused every evil thought, word, and deed, why was He grieved? And how could God be grieved if He could have caused those living in Noah’s day to be saints rather than sinners but instead chose to damn them? Yet God is love?” (Debating Calvinism, p.314, emphasis mine)
Another member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians states: “Whether Calvinists admit it or not, their system leads us to conclude that God is the Grand Puppet Master, pulling our every string. Another way of putting it is that we are essentially robots, doing only what we have been programmed to do.” (SEA, emphasis mine) One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians adds: “I would say that it is perfectly acceptable and quite advisable for Arminians to point out that Calvinist theology entails that we are robots, and even that it logically demands it, though critically, Calvinists don’t hold that we are robots. It is just what their theology logically demands. It is a criticism of their theology, not a description of what it actually teaches, and we should trumpet this criticism because it is true and devastating, and it resonates with many people. Many, possibly most, people have an immediate response to hearing Calvinist theology for the first time by crying out, ‘That makes us robots!’ Amen.” (SEA, emphasis mine) Erik Cooper explains: “Always inquire of the Lord. Always listen for His direction. Always submit to His desire and instruction. Make obedience the posture of your life. But I don’t think God is vying to become your puppet master. He wants a relationship, not the marionette strings.” (Is God’s Will a Wire-Thin Tightrope?)
Puppetry does seem to work against concept of a genuine relationship, and the matter of the “Stepford Wives” comes to mind.
According to Calvinism, who is behind the strings near the devil’s head?
Calvinist, John MacArthur, comments: “Antichrist’s self-serving, satanically inspired actions are, however, precisely in the scope of God’s sovereign plan. In fact, it is God who will put it in the hearts of Antichrist’s followers to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast. God’s power is behind the destruction and consolidation of the evil empire; as always, Satan is the instrument of God’s purposes.” (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11, p.172, emphasis mine)
John Calvin writes: “...Satan continually goes about roaring for his prey. Since he is driven by such furious madness to destroy us, nothing is more absurd than for us to lie drowsing. Before the need to fight appears we should already be preparing, because we know our destruction is sought after by Satan, and every means of injuring us is cleverly and carefully grasped in his hands. When it comes to the encounter, let us know that all temptations, wherever they come from, are fabricated in the workshops of that foe.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Matthew, Mark and Luke Vol. III, and James and Jude, p.141, emphasis mine)
Calvinist, Erwin Lutzer, writes: “In the Books of Daniel and Revelation, when the future actions of the Antichrist and his cohorts (who are controlled by Satan) are predicted, it always says, ‘It was given to him power.’ Obviously, Satan serves God’s purposes.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.220, emphasis mine)
Lutzer adds: “The devil is also a being filled with only hatred and deceit. He is a rebellious liar and malicious sadist. He desires to see humans suffer for suffering’s sake. Thus he always stands in opposition to God even when he does what God ordains.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.221, emphasis mine)
Lutzer writes: “Satan, regardless of how evil his actions, always serves the purposes of God. God frequently uses the devil to serve his higher ends. When Satan taunted God about Job, the Lord allowed Satan to inspire evil men to kill Job’s servants and steal his cattle; he gave Satan the power to use wind and lightning to kills Job’s children.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.220, emphasis mine)
Lutzer explains: “Nonetheless, his permission necessarily means that he bore ultimate responsibility for it. After all, he could have chosen ‘not to permit’ it.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.210, emphasis mine)
Lutzer adds: “In a word, what God permits, he ordains.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.210, emphasis mine)
Lutzer clarifies: “Calvinists pointedly admit that God ordains evil--this is consistent with both the Bible and logic. In ordinary discussions about human events, we can say that God permitted evil, as long as we understand that he thereby willed that the evil happen. Calvinists agree with the Westminster Confession of Faith that says God ordains all that ever comes to pass. In a word, what God permits, he ordains.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.210, emphasis mine)
Lutzer continues: “If God wills the damnation of the ungodly, he may use Satan in whatever capacity he chooses to fulfill his purposes. Even Arminians must admit that God allows the devil to have the satisfaction of working toward the damnation of many.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.221, emphasis mine)