Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
According to Calvinism, God only knows the future because He has allegedly scripted it, so that the future unfolds exactly as designed, and thus God can intimately know it.
Calvinist, James White: “How God can know future events, for example, and yet not determine them, is an important point….” (Debating Calvinism, p.163, emphasis mine)
Dave Hunt responds: “White denies omniscience in his repudiation of any ‘grounds upon which to base exhaustive divine foreknowledge of future events outside of God’s decree.’ If God must decree the future to know it, He’s not omniscient.” (Debating Calvinism, p.389, emphasis mine)
Dave Hunt is absolutely correct. According to Calvinism, God must predetermine everything in order to know anything. Therefore, for God to know everything, He had to decree everything, which inevitably leads to the strictest form of determinism, and which inevitably leads to the “author of sin” charge.
More importantly though, at least for the sake of this discussion, is whether this means that man has a will, that is, something that man decides for himself, without the pre-programming of someone else. You see, if man doesn’t have an independent will, but wills only what God inalterably scripted, such as a character in a play, then why, or what, would Paul be weeping over?
Question: Is Paul weeping over what they have independently done and what they have independently decided, or what God has scripted, as the purpose of their existence? If the latter is true, then is Paul weeping over God’s Providence? Moreover, if everything unfolds for a specific end, namely, one which yields God the greatest amount of glory, then why would Paul want to see God get less glory?
In other words, instead of tears, why doesn’t Paul rejoice over the fact that their death is part of a script which brings God the most amount of glory? Can it be that God is not, in fact, getting the maximum amount of glory by their death? The Calvinist is abhorred by such a thought, because a Calvinist is committed to the presupposition that God is too big to not always get His way, but then again, is God big enough to allow Himself to not always get His way? Obviously, God gets the last word, namely, on Judgment Day, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11), however the question remains as to whether God is secretly smiling upon whatsoever comes to pass. The Calvinist says “yes,” “I mean no,” “well yes,” and while the Calvinist tries to sort it out, this passage seems to imply something about human responsibility that seems inconsistent with Calvinism, insomuch that these false brethren have done something for which they should not of and might not of, had they not yielded to the flesh, and thus Paul would not be implying the sense of inevitability that one might expect if Paul was a strict Determinist.