Doubting God’s goodness in unconditional election

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In order for both God to be good and unconditional election be true, God would have to elect to save all unconditionally. Otherwise, God would be unjust and, therefore, not good.
 
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Clare73

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In order for both God to be good and unconditional election be true, God would have to elect to save all unconditionally.
Otherwise, God would be unjust and, therefore, not good.
Speaking of justice--only if God owed them such, owed anyone to be elected, which he does not, all he owes is justice--giving everyone his due, what he has earned, what he deserves.
Choosing to elect only some is not unjust, because God owes no one election, he owes only giving them their due.
 
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bling

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Speaking of justice--only if God owed them such, owed anyone to be elected, which he does not, all he owes is justice--giving everyone his due, what he has earned, what he deserves.
Choosing to elect only some is not unjust, because God owes no one election, he owes only giving them their due.
Being “just” does not mean you cannot be merciful, gracious, generous and charitable. Being “just” has to do with consistently treating everyone equally, that are equal. If there are significant differences between individuals, than it is “just” to treat them differently in proportion to their differences.

A rescuer who could just as easily and safely rescue everyone in a burning building, but only chose to save a few would be rightly harshly thought as being unjust, so that cannot be the way God is.

Do you see any significant differences between those saved and those not saved?

The significant difference I see is: one group refuses to humbly accept God’s pure undeserved charity as charity and the other group was just willing to humbly accept God’s charity (in the form of forgiveness) as pure undeserved charity.
 
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Balkan

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Speaking of justice--only if God owed them such, owed anyone to be elected, which he does not, all he owes is justice--giving everyone his due, what he has earned, what he deserves.
Choosing to elect only some is not unjust, because God owes no one election, he owes only giving them their due.
You touched on a point I’ve been thinking about a lot. You mentioned that God owes no one election but when I consider original sin, it seems literally everyone but Adam and Eve were born automatically destined for hell. This was God’s doing.

At the moment I can’t see the goodness in God creating our reality where we cannot avoid sin and also where he personally chooses people to be saved from His allowing original sin to exist. It seems we’re entrapped by God plus He gets to decide if we are allowed to escape an eternal punishment that hangs over us simply because we were born.
 
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DialecticSkeptic

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If unconditional election is truly unconditional, how is it good for God to personally choose who goes to heaven or hell irrespective of any aspect of a person’s being, sinful behavior, or spiritual belief?

What you are describing is the supralapsarian view of God's decrees (from the Latin supra, "above," and lapsus, "fall"), which differs from the infralapsarian view in a rather crucial way (Latin infra, "after"). This is getting into the order of salvation (ordo salutis), a logical ordering of the various elements of human salvation. It is the supralapsarian view which holds that God's decree of election logically precedes his decree to allow the fall. The infralapsarian view, in contrast, asserts that God's decree to permit the fall logically precedes his decree of election.

I don't know how a supralapsarian might answer your question, as I don't accept that view. The majority of Reformed folk seem to be infralapsarian, as so many of our confessional standards appear to be (Canons of Dort, Westminster Confession of Faith, etc.). We would stand with you, curious to hear what the answer might be. We believe that God chose from fallen humanity a certain number to save as his peculiar people (election), leaving the rest (reprobation) in their natural state as condemned sinners. He didn't choose to save Billy because he was in any way better, nor did he pass over Tommy because he was somehow worse. Their merits or demerits played no part in God's choice.


... [W]hen I consider original sin, it seems literally everyone but Adam and Eve were born automatically destined for hell.

I would disagree with this. We are not "automatically" destined for hell. It is our sins that condemn us, not our existence.
 
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Clare73

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You touched on a point I’ve been thinking about a lot. You mentioned that God owes no one election but when I consider original sin, it seems literally everyone but Adam and Eve were born automatically destined for hell. This was God’s doing.

At the moment I can’t see the goodness in God creating our reality where we cannot avoid sin and also where he personally chooses people to be saved from His allowing original sin to exist. It seems we’re entrapped by God plus He gets to decide if we are allowed to escape an eternal punishment that hangs over us simply because we were born.
Good question. . .

Likewise with Job. . .what did he do to deserve that predicament?
Job found himself caught up in a plan bigger than his "earthly reality," a plan which he did not understand and was grievous to him, and when it was all over God never explained to him why.

But note Job's believing heart. Through it all, with total lack of understanding, and after it all, Job never charged God with wrong-doing.

The NT assumes that man will question the fairness of God's sovereign choices:
Ro 9:18-19 - How can he condemn us? Who can resist his will (sovereignty)?
Paul's answer to man's charge of unfairness against God
is the same as Jesus gave in the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Mt 20:15); i.e.,
to assert the authority of God, "Who are you, O man, to talk back to God?" (Ro 9:20-21).

God's answer to man's charges of unfairness:
Your ways are not my ways,
My ways are higher (better) that your ways (Is 55:8-9).
I do no wrong (Dt 32:4),
all my ways are just (Da 4:37, 9:14, Ps 145:17)
and what I do is right (Da 4:37, cf v.35)

Paul's response to God's sovereign choice to cut off and harden his covenant people, instead granting faith to foreigners to the covenant:
"How unsearchable are his judgments,
and his ways beyond finding out!
Who is wise enough that he should instruct God! (Is 40:13)
And who has given to God that God should owe him? (Job 41:11)"

God's answer to man's objections regarding his absolute sovereignty:
I am all-wise and all-just (Is 40:13-14, Ps 89:14),
I do what is best and what is right (Dt 32:4, Ps 119:68, Da 4:37).
TRUST ME, and lean not on your own understanding (Pr 3:5).

The sovereignty of God requires our trust, not our understanding.
 
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Clare73

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God creates everything, including all people. Let's assume this line of reasoning is right, that God's justice, if it is given to everyone, means that no one is saved. If that is the case, then God's justice ensures that God fails to create a good creation, i.e., one in which God desires that none should perish but all come to repentance. Is that really justice, the failure of God to complete what God set out to do? If only God were merciful to all, God would succeed. Unfortunately, according to this line of reasoning, God's justice and mercy are two radically different things. If God's attributes are at such odds, it's no wonder God cannot succeed. God can try, but sin and evil win, according to this line of reasoning.
"The rest of the story". . .

God's justice--what he owes everyone in justice, is not the whole story.

God owes no one mercy, no one has a right to it, and he is sovereignly free (as he is in Jn 3:7-8) to grant it as it pleases him.
And it seems that for his purposes, it pleases him to grant it only to some.
"Who are you, O man, to say to him, 'What doest thou?' "

See post #9.
 
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zippy2006

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The majority of Reformed folk seem to be infralapsarian, as so many of our confessional standards appear to be (Canons of Dort, Westminster Confession of Faith, etc.). We would stand with you, curious to hear what the answer might be. We believe that God chose from fallen humanity a certain number to save as his peculiar people (election), leaving the rest (reprobation) in their natural state as condemned sinners. He didn't choose to save Billy because he was in any way better, nor did he pass over Tommy because he was somehow worse. Their merits or demerits played no part in God's choice.
  • SLD: Supralapsarian Decree of Election/Reprobation, which is logically prior to the Fall
  • ILD: Infralapsarian Decree of Election/Reprobation, which is logically posterior to the Fall

While there is a way in which the OP's question applies more to SLD than ILD, it still applies to ILD. The merit of ILD is that it accounts for reprobation better than SLD, but the question of election, which the OP raises, applies to both views. That is, the question of the OP remains relevant to ILD.
 
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public hermit

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"The rest of the story". . .

God's justice--what he owes everyone in justice, is not the whole story.

God owes no one mercy, no one has a right to it, and he is sovereignly free (as he is in Jn 3:7-8) to grant it as it pleases him.
And it seems that for his purposes, it pleases him to grant it only to some.
"Who are you, O man, to say to him, 'What doest thou?' "

See post #10.

I suppose it's possible that God grants unconditional election to some. But if that is the case, then divine creation, justice, and mercy are arbitrary not free. In other words, there is no more reason for creation, justice, or mercy than divine fiat. This is the problem with the Augustinian/Calvinist emphasis on divine sovereignty. It is arbitrary because sovereignty looks to no other value except power. Goodness and mercy are not even necessary so long as nothing surpasses divine power. Whereas divine freedom, rightly understood, is directed towards the ultimate good, which is God. Divine justice is divine mercy; righteousness is in order to goodness, not in order to divine whim as an expression of unbridled power.
 
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RileyG

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If unconditional election is truly unconditional, how is it good for God to personally choose who goes to heaven or hell irrespective of any aspect of a person’s being, sinful behavior or spiritual belief?
Are you referring to double predestination?
 
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bling

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No one said it did.
Are you in agreement with the rest of the definition:

Being “just” has to do with consistently treating everyone equally, that are equal. If there are significant differences between individuals, than it is “just” to treat them differently in proportion to their differences.

A rescuer who could just as easily and safely rescue everyone in a burning building, but only chose to save a few would be rightly harshly thought as being unjust, so that cannot be the way God is.

Do you see any significant differences between those saved and those not saved?

The significant difference I see is: one group refuses to humbly accept God’s pure undeserved charity as charity and the other group was just willing to humbly accept God’s charity (in the form of forgiveness) as pure undeserved charity.
 
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bling

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You touched on a point I’ve been thinking about a lot. You mentioned that God owes no one election but when I consider original sin, it seems literally everyone but Adam and Eve were born automatically destined for hell. This was God’s doing.

At the moment I can’t see the goodness in God creating our reality where we cannot avoid sin and also where he personally chooses people to be saved from His allowing original sin to exist. It seems we’re entrapped by God plus He gets to decide if we are allowed to escape an eternal punishment that hangs over us simply because we were born.
You do great to point out how illogical the doctrine of “Original Sin” really is. To get into all the miss use and misinterpretation of scripture trying to support the “doctrine” of “Original Sin” takes a lot of study, but there is really no support for the doctrine.

Babies are not born sinners, but all mature adults will sin. Sin actually has purpose for the nonbeliever to help them in fulfilling their earthly objective, but again once we become a Christian sin is no longer needed for the Christian’s objective.

Sin is not the problem, while unforgiven sin is a huge problem. The solution to sin is forgiveness, the indwelling Holy Spirit and Godly type Love which are easily obtained, yet at great cost for God.

Also, we really need to better define “justice”:

. Being “just” has to do with consistently treating everyone equally, that are equal. If there are significant differences between individuals, than it is “just” to treat them differently in proportion to their differences.

A rescuer who could just as easily and safely rescue everyone in a burning building, but only chose to save a few would be rightly harshly thought as being unjust, so that cannot be the way God is.

Do you see any significant differences between those saved and those not saved?

The significant difference I see is: one group refuses to humbly accept God’s pure undeserved charity as charity and the other group was just willing to humbly accept God’s charity (in the form of forgiveness) as pure undeserved charity.
 
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Clare73

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I suppose it's possible that God grants unconditional election to some. But if that is the case, then divine creation, justice, and mercy are arbitrary not free. In other words, there is no more reason for creation, justice, or mercy than divine fiat.
Unless there is a plan where everything is specific down to the last detail (as in sparrows falling to the ground only by the will of the Father and numbering the hairs on your head), to which you are not privy.
This is the problem with the Augustinian/Calvinist emphasis on divine sovereignty. It is arbitrary because sovereignty looks to no other value except power. Goodness and mercy are not even necessary so long as nothing surpasses divine power. Whereas divine freedom, rightly understood, is directed towards the ultimate good, which is God. Divine justice is divine mercy; righteousness is in order to goodness, not in order to divine whim as an expression of unbridled power.
That issue and our Bbilical response to it is addressed in post #9.
 
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Clare73

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That issue and our Bbilical response to it is addressed in post #9.
Are you in agreement with the rest of the definition:

Being “just” has to do with consistently treating everyone equally,
Nope. . .it is simply giving everyone his due, what he is owed, what he has earned.
that are equal. If there are significant differences between individuals, than it is “just” to treat them differently in proportion to their differences.

A rescuer who could just as easily and safely rescue everyone in a burning building, but only chose to save a few would be rightly harshly thought as being unjust, so that cannot be the way God is.

Do you see any significant differences between those saved and those not saved?
In God's economy, all mankind are by nature, objects of wrath (Eph 2:3). We are born with our nature; i.e., fallen.
The significant difference I see is: one group refuses to humbly accept God’s pure undeserved charity as charity and the other group was just willing to humbly accept God’s charity (in the form of forgiveness) as pure undeserved charity.
It's not about what we see, it's about what the NT teaches.
 
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That issue and our Bbilical response to it is addressed in post #10.

I'm not sure it does. Your position seems to be that election is unconditional (correct me if I'm wrong), which means it solely rests in divine sovereignty and is not based in any "conditions" anyone can meet to secure one's own election. So divine righteousness/justice (same Greek word) is divine sovereignty.

You rely on Romans for your position, but that is not what Paul teaches in Romans. He teaches that divine justice is revealed through faith in God's grace given through Jesus Christ. For Paul, then, there appears to be at least one condition a person must meet to become one of the elect: faith. Hence, election is not unconditional.

To keep your position, I think you will have to argue that faith is a also a gift of grace based solely in divine sovereignty (arbitrariness). So be it; now, we're back where we started. God desires the salvation of all but arbitrarily chooses not to save all. Strange God, that is.
 
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At the moment I can’t see the goodness in God creating our reality where we cannot avoid sin and also where he personally chooses people to be saved from His allowing original sin to exist. It seems we’re entrapped by God plus He gets to decide if we are allowed to escape an eternal punishment that hangs over us simply because we were born.
This is the consequence of believing in Calvinist/Reformed theology, which is why Calvinism is a misunderstanding of the Scriptures, IMO. It represents a completely different view of God, the view you described above.

If unconditional election is truly unconditional, how is it good for God to personally choose who goes to heaven or hell irrespective of any aspect of a person’s being, sinful behavior or spiritual belief?
An unconditional election is not truly unconditional.


 
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bling

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Nope. . .it is simply giving everyone his due, what he is owed, what he has earned.
BUT! According to what you are saying some get their “due” and others do not get their “due”, so that describes an unjust judgement.

Again! God choosing to have mercy on some, when He could just as easily, justly and safely have mercy on all, would be unjust on God’s part (He would not be justly treating everyone equally). God would be like: A rescuer who could just as easily and safely rescue everyone in a burning building, but only chose to save a few, will be rightly harshly thought as being unjust, so that cannot be the way God is.
In God's economy, all mankind are by nature, objects of wrath (Eph 2:3). We are born with our nature; i.e., fallen.
In Eph. 2:3, Paul is addressing the mature adult Christians in Ephesus who were very involved in lustful sinning, but this is not address what these Christians “did” to allow themselves to avoid God’s wrath, while others will still be victims of God’s wrath.
It's not about what we see, it's about what the NT teaches.
OK, What the New Testament teaches: : one group refuses to humbly accept God’s pure undeserved charity (forgiveness) as charity and the other group was just willing to humbly accept God’s charity (in the form of forgiveness) as pure undeserved charity.
 
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