Perhaps the most fundamental complaint of the Remonstrants against Reformed theology, the concern that most animated Arminius’ desire to revise Reformed theology, was the charge that the Reformed view makes God the author of evil. In his desire to fix this problem Arminius argued that the relations between God and creation are not what the Augustine and the Protestant Reformers had said. He agreed with the Spanish Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina (1535–1600), that God knows all the possible choices human beings might make and even arranged the circumstances so as to limit human choices. Still, in Molina’s scheme, God does not foreordain or predestine human choices, which remain free relative to God. Ultimately, Arminius’ solution to the problem of evil, as Voetius and Turretin observed, was to make God contingent upon human choices. Another way to put this is to say that, in his own way, Arminius was a rationalist. He put human reason above holy Scripture. His revision of Reformed theology was not fundamentally driven by Scripture nor by the historic Augustinian understanding of Scripture but by reason. In this episode Dr Clark continues his series on the the Canons of Dort where he tackles not only “middle knowledge” but also the distinction between law and gospel, the order of the divine decree, unconditional election and more. For more on these topics see the show notes below.
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- Divine Sovereignty, Evil, Mystery, and “Calvinism”