Yesterday in our mini-series on the Calvinist version of predestination we took a look at how Calvin responded to some objections to his doctrine of predestination. Today, as we conclude this mini-series, we will see how he not only took a defensive stance when it came to this doctrine but how he also argued vigorously in favor of it.
The Benefits of Believing in Predestination
It is apparent that Calvin believes that predestination is not unjust. However he does not limit himself to arguing defensively for the doctrine, he also makes a positive argument for it. Calvin believes that one way that Satan assaults believers is to make them question their election (3.24.4). This doctrine has the positive effect of reassuring the believer that she is elect. In revealing this doctrine through scripture, God assures us of our election. By looking at Christ, the one in whom we find certainty of our election (3.24.5), our fears are soothed, our restlessness is calmed, and our fatigued senses are tranquilized, in our election we find rest (3.24.4). Calvin also argues for this doctrine by showing that because we can be sure of our election in Christ, we can be sure that God hears our prayers (3.24.5). Finally this doctrine also spurs us on towards obedience. In election His justice humbles us and teaches us to look up to his mercy, when see his justice and mercy we are aroused and stimulated to live a holy life (224).
Although this doctrine can be difficult to accept, Calvin is right in emphasizing that it is Scriptural and that God’s justice is inscrutable. He is also right in saying that this doctrine has tremendous benefits. Regardless of whether or not you agree with his version of predestination, because of the reasons mentioned in this post and the last few posts we must not be quick to dismiss this difficult and controversial doctrine.
(Note: All quotes come from the anthology, The Protestant Reformation edited by Hans Hildebrand.)