One Calvinist explains: “God exercises His attribute of justice by inflicting just punishment on those who oppose His will. This is a good outcome from God’s perspective, even though it is a bad outcome for the damned.”
The objection here is that it’s ridiculous to hold someone accountable for something in which they have absolutely no control. However, Calvinists will immediately turn to Romans 9:19 which states: “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’” However, while it is true that God hardens, God often hardens people on the basis that they first rejected His grace, which is especially evident in the case of Israel, which had been hardened (Isaiah 6:10) for having rejected His outstretched arms. (Isaiah 65:2) God had been reaching out to Israel from the moment that He led them out of Egypt, and the conclusion of Ezra was this: “Our whole history has been one of great sin. That is why we and our kings and our priests have been at the mercy of the pagan kings of the land. We have been killed, captured, robbed, and disgraced, just as we are today.” (Ezra 9:7, NLT)
So the argument is that if someone never had any opportunity to receive God, then they cannot be held accountable for what they never had any control over. The emphasis on the word never is due to the fact that Israel had many opportunities to receive God’s grace, yet often rejected it, and hence the reason for their hardening.
Dave Hunt writes: “Calvinism insists that all men, being totally depraved by nature, are unable to repent and believe the gospel, yet holds us accountable for failing to do so. How can it reasonably be said that a person is unwilling to do what he is unable to do?” (What Love is This?, Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God, p.113, emphasis mine)
Hunt adds: “Can we say that a man is unwilling to fly like a bird? If he were able, he might very well be willing. Certainly his alleged unwillingness to fly like a bird cannot be blamed as the reason he doesn’t do so! Nor can he be held accountable for failing to fly so long as flying is impossible for him. Isn’t Calvinism guilty of both absurdity and injustice by declaring man to be incapable of repentance and faith, then condemning him for failing to repent and believe?” (What Love is This?, Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God, p.114, emphasis mine)
Hunt concludes: “To say that God commands men to do what they cannot do without His grace, then withholds the grace they need and punishes them eternally for failing to obey, is to make a mockery of God’s Word, of His mercy and love, and is to libel His character.” (What Love is This?, Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God, p.117, emphasis mine)