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Difference between Determinism and Calvinism?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Neostarwcc, Oct 23, 2021.

  1. Neostarwcc

    Neostarwcc We are saved purely by the work and grace of God. Supporter

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    So my wife Jeanette and I were talking about God the other day and the topic of God's Sovereignty came up. I was trying to explain the Augustinian view of God's sovereignty (Nothing happens outside of God's will and God predetermined everything that comes to pass) and my wife happened to teach me something new I never heard of before. Apparently there's a false Christian belief similar to the Augustinian view called determinism. She gives me a definition as that what it was and I stupidly said that's what Calvinist's believe.

    Well I looked it up myself and found out that there were major differences. One determinists believe humans are not responsible for their actions whatsoever. Calvinists admit that mankind is responsible for their own actions.

    I looked deeper and found out that apparently that Augustine, Cavlin and many other old great theologians believed in something called Theological Determinism. I tried reading further but, there weren't very many topics on the subject. My question I guess is, what is the difference between theological determinism and determinism? And if Calvinism goes into the belief of determinism how is that outside what the bible teaches about God's Sovereignty? In fact, I don't think there is even a single religion that says that God isn't Sovereign. If God is sovereign over all why would he not be sovereign over us? And don't say that God being sovereign over us makes God a puppet master because, that just isn't the case.
     
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  2. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    It's a fine line, so how it is applied is more important than how it is explained.

    For example, I googled determinism vs Augustine and came upon an article including Augustine amongst theological determinists.

    Perhaps the determinism you're inquiring about is similar to the worshiping of the pagan gods known as "the fates"?
     
  3. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    Furthermore, sometimes the application of calivinist teaching can sound like determinism - but what is a middle ground between determinism and open theism for example?
     
  4. Neostarwcc

    Neostarwcc We are saved purely by the work and grace of God. Supporter

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    Honestly i dont know what im asking here. I didnt even know determinism was a thing until my wife brought it to my attention. Its a concept that makes sense provided you add that mankind is responsible for their actions. So that would be Theological determinism then I guess.
     
  5. Abaxvahl

    Abaxvahl Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion there isn't any. Calvinism (and I'd say all Christians whether they like it or not because God teaches it in Scripture, so I am right there with them on this) is just a specific type of determinism. The article linked is by a Reformed philosopher and this is his conclusion:

    "Causal divine determinism, as I define it here, is the view that God determines everything by some kind of causation; in other words, God is the ultimate sufficient cause of every event. That still leaves open a lot of questions about the kind of causation by which God determines events. Note in particular that causal divine determinism does not assert or entail any of the following claims:

    • that God is the only cause of events (i.e., there are no real second causes);
    • that God is the direct or immediate cause of every event;
    • that God always employs positive causation and never negative causation;
    • that divine causation is on a par with intramundane causation (i.e., the kind of causation that operates within the created cosmos);
    • that God stands in the same causal relationship to good events (or good creaturely actions) as he does to evil events (or evil creaturely actions);
    • that the language of ‘permission’ is inappropriate or incoherent when speaking of God’s relationship to evil.
    "In other words, a causal divine determinist can reject all of the above without falling into any obvious logical contradiction. It’s also important to see that causal divine determinism doesn’t entail causal determinism in the technical sense defined earlier (i.e., nomological determinism). The verbal similarity may tempt one to make that connection, but the two views are logically distinct.

    "I take the view that mainstream Calvinism represents some version of causal divine determinism. I would argue (but will not argue here) that causal divine determinism is reflected in the writings of John Calvin, in the Westminster Confession of Faith, and (most importantly) in many of the biblical texts to which Calvinists have appealed in defense of their doctrines. But as I’ve noted, even if I’m right about this, it still leaves a lot of questions open. It also means that Calvinists are committed to compatibilism only in this sense: they’re committed to the thesis that human freedom is compatible with causal divine determinism (and not just any kind of determinism)."

    So really they are compatibilists (in this sense), as all Christians should be in my opinion. He goes over the different types of determinism which contradict this or which Calvinists do not believe. So on your search you probably found one of the other types.
     
  6. Neostarwcc

    Neostarwcc We are saved purely by the work and grace of God. Supporter

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    That explained my question very well thank you very much!
     
  7. Jipsah

    Jipsah Blood Drinker

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    Theological determinism says that God makes whatever happens happen, while secular determinism believes that random material phenomena make everything happen. So in one case, if you had tea with your breakfast this morning it was because God decreed it so, and in the you had it because that was just the result of an endless chain of random causality (think, "the butterfly effect".)

    Because Calvinism doesn't teach that God directly causes everything to happen. Humans are, within limits, free moral agents. Our will is corrupted and therefore our agency isn't entirely free,but our sins are on our own heads.

    Materialist determinism denies human agency altogether, and what you ate or said or did today has no reason at all for happening other than as what is by determined by what happened previousll.
     
  8. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    Theres no difference. Calvinism just puts it in terms of God changing (regenerating) a person, without regard to their will, in such a way that they cannot do otherwise afterwards but choose to believe in Him and be saved. The will is effectively controlled by a divine puppet master.

    It sort of puts the cart ahead of the horse. Instead of God patiently drawing and moving man towards Himself, appealing to the human will weakened by the Fall and soliciting a “yes” by grace without ever totally overwhelming his will, without completely regenerating him first IOW, they insist that God must do that in order for man to then “choose” rightly. Kind of upends the meaning and purpose of the gospel.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2021
  9. Fervent

    Fervent Well-Known Member

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    Determinism is a general position, and Calvinism falls under it. It is simply the position that what will happen, in some way, is predestined. Though it may be distinguished from fatalism, in which individuals have no part in the outcome instead being compelled to play their part. Calvinistic determinism sees God's providential care of the universe combined with His omniscience as entailing that what God wills unavoidably will happen. That may be understood in a fatalistic way if it is carried forward that the individual has no willing part in the outcome but are instead merely being dragged by God to the fate that He intends for them from the outset(double predestination/hyper calvinism essentially)
     
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