“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar and the father of all lies.”
John Calvin comments: “Satan is said to be ‘the father of all lies’ because he is estranged from God, in whom alone dwells the truth and from whom it flows as a unique foundation.” (John: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.224, emphasis mine)
The concern of Arminians relates to the Calvinist doctrine of Determinism:
Calvin writes: “Let him, therefore, who would beware of such unbelief, always bear in mind, that there is no random power, or agency, or motion in the creatures, who are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Bk. 1, Ch. 16, Sect. 3, emphasis mine) Calvin writes: “This, however, they erroneously confine to particular acts. The thing to be proved, therefore, is, that single events are so regulated by God, and all events so proceed from his determinate counsel, that nothing happens fortuitously.” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book I, Ch. 16, Sect. 4, emphasis mine) Calvin writes: “In short, Augustine everywhere teaches, that if anything is left to fortune, the world moves at random. And although he elsewhere declares (Quæstionum, lib. 83). that all things are carried on, partly by the free will of man, and partly by the Providence of God, he shortly after shows clearly enough that his meaning was, that men also are ruled by Providence, when he assumes it as a principle, that there cannot be a greater absurdity than to hold that anything is done without the ordination of God; because it would happen at random. For which reason, he also excludes the contingency which depends on human will, maintaining a little further on, in clearer terms, that no cause must be sought for but the will of God. When he uses the term permission, the meaning which he attaches to it will best appear from a single passage (De Trinity. lib. 3 cap. 4), where he proves that the will of God is the supreme and primary cause of all things, because nothing happens without his order or permission. He certainly does not figure God sitting idly in a watch-tower, when he chooses to permit anything. The will which he represents as interposing is, if I may so express it, active (actualis), and but for this could not be regarded as a cause. ” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book I, Ch. 16, Sect. 8, emphasis mine) Calvin writes: “But when they call to mind that the devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are, in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how much soever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he permits, nay, unless in so far as he commands; that they are not only bound by his fetters, but are even forced to do him service,—when the godly think of all these things they have ample sources of consolation.” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book I, Ch. 17, Sect. 1, emphasis mine)
Given these things, Arminians charge Calvinism of making God the father of all lies. In other words, according to Calvinism, God predestined everything from the beginning, including all evil, thereby making God the author of everything that is evil. This would include murder, adultery, theft, covetousness, fornication, lying, etc. Jesus, however, plainly stated that Satan, not God, was the holder of the title: “a liar and the father of all lies.” It is not possible for any being or entity, including the entity, “all lies,” to have more than one father. No one would argue otherwise. Since Satan is then, according to Jesus, “the father of all lies,” there can only be one “father of all lies.” It is not possible for Satan and God to both be the father of all lies. Either Satan is the father of all lies, as Jesus stated, or it is God, by way of Hard Determinism. By claiming that God is the ordainer of all sin and all wickedness, has Calvinism, by default, given God the dreadful title: “father of all lies”?
Calvinist, Erwin Lutzer, writes: “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)
If Satan does what God ordains, how do you tell the difference between the two? In other words, if God plans wickedness, according to Calvinism, and the devil practices wickedness, how are they logically in opposition? If God has predestined everything that will ever come to pass, then how do Calvinists logically discern the difference between what God does and what the devil does?
The definition of “grace” is unmerited favor. God’s grace can only be considered true grace if He was not responsible for causing the sin that sent Christ to die at Calvary. According to Calvinism, God is responsible for all the evil and sin in the world since it was a component of His predestined plan from before the foundation of the world. If Calvinists are correct, it was not God’s grace that sent Christ to the cross but an act of His cleaning up the mess that He wrought when He ordained evil. When He gave His only begotten Son, either He was paying for the damage He caused when He created the sin problem, which is not grace, or He was granting unmerited favor by providing His blameless Son as the propitiation for our sin, which is grace. In other words, if God predetermined every act of wickedness, as Calvinism teaches, then the grace of sending His own Son was not grace at all, but only cleaning up His own mess. However, if man, and not God, is the true author and inventor of wickedness, together with the Satan, then God’s grace of sending His own Son is indeed true grace, because in sending His own Son, God bails us out of the mess that we, ourselves, have made. Now it becomes our mess, and God’s grace makes salvation, redemption, justification and glorification possible to all, and available to all, by believing in His Son. That’s the difference in “grace” when examined from the two competing systems of theology.