Calvinism and Arminianism

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AND<br />


PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />












AND<br />


PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />


What we have received from our Fathers, this we proclaim to you without hesitation, that<br />

“God is Love”. There is no other definition of God. This God who is love, is our Father.<br />

Adam was the son of God, <strong>and</strong> all mankind thus are the children of God. We call Him, “Our<br />

Father, Who is in Heaven”. God so loved the world that he gave. His love is fully<br />

expressed on the cross. Father awaits the return of the prodigals. Love never fails.<br />

“He who sat on the throne, the Sovereign said: “Behold, I am making all things New.”<br />

He also said “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy <strong>and</strong> true.” Rev. 21:5.<br />

Yes indeed, the whole creation itself will be renewed, regenerated <strong>and</strong> made new.<br />

We do not proclaim a tyrant king.<br />

We proclaim a loving God who incarnated on the earth to carry the lost sons back home.<br />

In Jesus, He taught us what we are <strong>and</strong> how we are related. He lived <strong>and</strong> died leaving us a<br />

way back to the Father. His mercy because of his love will follow us all the days of life <strong>and</strong><br />

even beyond our earthly life.<br />

He poured out his glory to provide me space to live as son. This included his limiting himself<br />

of his Omni attributes of Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient because He is Omnibenevolent.<br />

He breathed into me to give me life. Even when I was lost, he came searching<br />

after me to carry me home. He wants me to be like him to go <strong>and</strong> die for my brothers as<br />

he himself did.<br />

We are witnesses to the Father’s Love.<br />

Prof. M.M.Ninan<br />

Normal, IL<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />


AND<br />


PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



As the early church began to establish as institutional churches, it became necessary to<br />

make it clear what Christianity means. One of the major problem they faced was the<br />

problem of God’s sovereignty, the freedom of will of man <strong>and</strong> how salvation of man is<br />

related to them.<br />

If God alone existed with total sovereignty over all with the Omni properties, it leaves no<br />

place for a human (for that matter for any being) to exist<br />

If God is Omni-Present <strong>and</strong> He fills all dimensions of existence, where will man exist?<br />

If God is Omni-Scient, If He knows the past, present <strong>and</strong> the future <strong>and</strong> everything must be<br />

predestined even long before you were born, then where is the freedom of choice.<br />

If there is no freedom of choice that leaves no responsibility on man with respct to his<br />

action.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Even every act including sin is determined before all creation, leaves no responsibility on on<br />

the person who does it -(He has to do it) <strong>and</strong> it will be injustice to punish the person for<br />

something on which he had no power. It is the Omni-potent God who does everything<br />

including sinning; indirectly through his creation. God will then become the author of<br />

sin even though it is done by man. Thus we see that if God is Sovereign with all the Omni,<br />

then humans are simply robots <strong>and</strong> are not really responsible to their actions. It is all<br />

preprogrammed into the creation, planned even before creation by the creator.<br />

The 4 robots from the University of Bremen (Germany), Rajesh, Penny, Sheldon <strong>and</strong> Leonard, are all 60 cm<br />

high <strong>and</strong> are members of the soccer team that won the Robot Football World Cup in Austria in 2009.<br />

If this is the reality, then the whole story of human fall, cross, resurrection, heaven <strong>and</strong> hell<br />

are only a child play. God himself turns into a cruel monster <strong>and</strong> the creation reduces to a<br />

machine. Heaven <strong>and</strong> hell are nothing but a cock <strong>and</strong> bull story play acted by an old kid.<br />

In the 8 th c AD an Indian theologian found a way out. Sankara’s Advaita Vedanta proposed<br />

that “all that we see as real are really only a dream in the mind of Brahman”. May be<br />

Brahman is having a bad dream.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Christians have asserted all through history that God is real <strong>and</strong> all that he created is also<br />

real. At least as far as the creatures are concerned all that they live <strong>and</strong> experience are<br />

real. The pain, the suffering, the emotions, joy <strong>and</strong> sorrow are all real to the ones that are<br />

involved.<br />

The bible, the Christian scripture as we have it today, defined through generations, do<br />

support both the sovereignty of God <strong>and</strong> the freewill of man. Bible is clear that “We move<br />

<strong>and</strong> have our being in Him.” It is this paradox that was being grapled by theologians through<br />

the ages. They form two groups: Predestinarians <strong>and</strong> Freewillians. If God is real <strong>and</strong> the<br />

creation is real how can we maintain sovereignty of God <strong>and</strong> Freedom of the real Sons of<br />

God?. It is this struggle that is being traced in this book.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />


St. Monica the mother of Augustine <strong>and</strong> St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)<br />

Christianity came to North Africa in the Roman era. According to historian Theodor<br />

Mommsen what is now Mediterranean Algeria was fully Christian by the fifth century. A<br />

notable Berber Christian of Algeria was Saint Augustine (<strong>and</strong> his mother Saint Monica),<br />

important saints of Roman Catholicism. Christianity's influence declined during the chaotic<br />

period of the V<strong>and</strong>al invasions but was strengthened in the succeeding Byzantine period.<br />

After the Arab invasions of the 7th century, Christianity began to gradually disappear<br />

Berber Algeria<br />

The traditional Berber religion is the ancient <strong>and</strong> native set of beliefs <strong>and</strong> deities<br />

adhered to by the Berber autochthones of North Africa. Many ancient Berber beliefs were<br />

developed locally whereas others were influenced over time through contact with other<br />

traditional African religions (such as the Ancient Egyptian religion), or borrowed during<br />

antiquity from the Punic religion, Judaism, Iberian mythology, <strong>and</strong> the Hellenistic religion.<br />

The veneration of saints which exists among the modern Berbers in the form of<br />

Maraboutism was absorbed into Roman Churches through the influence of Augustine.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

The life of St. Augustine began in 354 AD, born at Thagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras,<br />

Algeria). on Nov l3 as the son of a Roman official in North Africa. His father, Patricius,<br />

was a Roman pagan <strong>and</strong> of a violent disposition but got baptized just before his death<br />

(apparently because of the belief that baptism is washing away of sin. His mother,<br />

Monica, (who was later made a saint in the Catholic Church) was astrong Roman Catholic<br />

<strong>and</strong> brought Augustine in Christian faith. (As a child, Augustine himself fell dangerously ill,<br />

he desired baptism <strong>and</strong> his mother got everything ready for it: but he suddenly grew better,<br />

<strong>and</strong> it was put off.)<br />

He went to Carthage in 370 AD when he was still 17. He studied rhetoric <strong>and</strong> fell into loose<br />

living. At Carthage, he entered into relations with a woman (to whom he remained<br />

faithful until he sent her away from him 15 years later). She bore him a son, Adeodatus, in<br />

372AD. His father had died in 371AD, but he continued at Carthage <strong>and</strong> switched to<br />

philosophy He studied the Scriptures but from a subjective attitude. It was during this<br />

period he joined the Gnostic heretic group of Manichaean - the Mani who came to India<br />

<strong>and</strong> reduced Christianity there into Hinduism - a combination of pagan religions <strong>and</strong><br />

philosophy.<br />

In 383AD he departed to Rome, <strong>and</strong> opened a school or rhetoric. He was appointed by<br />

the government as a teacher in Milan. His mother joined him there. In Milan, Saint<br />

Augustine came under the influence of Saint Ambrose the bishop. During his<br />

philosophical journey, Augustine experienced a great deal of pain <strong>and</strong> suffering in his life.<br />

He went through phases of severe depression <strong>and</strong> debilitating grief. He witnessed things<br />

that just couldn’t be reconciled with theological doctrine. It was this irreconcilable tradeoff<br />

between truth <strong>and</strong> evil that kept Augustine jumping from philosophy to philosophy for over<br />

a decade.<br />

At the age of 31, Augustine had a supernatural experience Soon after, Pontitian, an<br />

African, came to visit Augustine <strong>and</strong> his friend Alipius; he told them about two men who<br />

had been suddenly turned to the service of God by reading about the life of Saint Anthony.<br />

Augustine said to Alipius: "What are we doing to let the unlearned seize Heaven by force,<br />

whilst we with all our knowledge remain behind, cowardly <strong>and</strong> heartless, wallowing in our<br />

sins? Because they have outstripped us <strong>and</strong> gone before, are we ashamed to follow them?<br />

Is it not more shameful not even to follow them?" As he spoke these words he heard a<br />

child's voice singing "Tolle lege! Tolle lege!" (Take up <strong>and</strong> read! Take up <strong>and</strong> read!). He took<br />

the bible <strong>and</strong> openned it <strong>and</strong> read the first chapter that met his eyes: "Let us walk<br />

honestly, as in the day; not in rioting <strong>and</strong> drunkenness, not in chambering <strong>and</strong> wantonness,<br />

not in strife <strong>and</strong> envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, <strong>and</strong> make not provision for<br />

the flesh, fulfil the lusts thereof." (Romans 13:13-14). This was his turning point.<br />

Augustine continued to struggle with the obvious pain, suffering <strong>and</strong> evil allowed by God. In<br />

his first book, On Order (386 AD), Augustine wrote:<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

“There is nothing that even the most gifted people desire more than to finally<br />

underst<strong>and</strong> how, taking into account the amount of evil in this world, one can still<br />

believe that God cares about human affairs.”<br />

For the next forty years, Augustine grappled with the reality of this paradox. He focused on<br />

God’s nature in scripture <strong>and</strong> God’s apparent desire for humanity. He determined that God<br />

created us for a relationship with him, <strong>and</strong> that authentic relationship is impossible with<br />

puppets. Apparently, God wanted us to have the capacity to freely choose or reject him. Of<br />

course, if we have free will, we have the capacity to choose love or hate -- good or evil.<br />

Apparently after several years he reversed his theology to exclude freewilll <strong>and</strong> assign God<br />

as predetermining everyone’s life arbitrarily.<br />

From that time, Saint Augustine went back to Tagaste, his native city, <strong>and</strong> lived for three<br />

years with his friends <strong>and</strong> shared a life of prayer, study <strong>and</strong> poverty. All things were in<br />

common <strong>and</strong> were distributed according to everyone's needs. He had no idea of becoming<br />

a priest, but in 391 he was ordained as an assistant to Valerius, Bishop of Hippo, <strong>and</strong> he had<br />

to move to that city.<br />

He established a sort of monastery in his house, living with Saint Alipius, Saint Evodius,<br />

Saint Possidius <strong>and</strong> others according to the rule of the holy Apostles. Valerius who had an<br />

impediment in speaking appointed Saint Augustine to preach in his own presence <strong>and</strong> he<br />

has not interrupted the course of his sermons until his death (nearly 400 sermons). He<br />

vigorously opposed the Manicheans <strong>and</strong> the Donatists.<br />

In 395 AD he was consecrated bishop as co-adjutor to Valerius, <strong>and</strong> succeeded him in the<br />

see of Hippo on his death soon after.<br />

He established regular <strong>and</strong> common life in his episcopal residence, <strong>and</strong> required all the<br />

priests, deacons, <strong>and</strong> subdeacons to renounce property <strong>and</strong> come together <strong>and</strong> live as a<br />

commune as in the early Apostolic period <strong>and</strong> established the "Rules of Saint Augustine".<br />

Augustine died on August 28, 430, after having lived 76 years<br />

Augustine wrote over 100 works in Latin, many of them texts on Christian doctrine <strong>and</strong><br />

apologetic works against various heresies.<br />

He is best known for the "Confessiones" ("Confessions", a personal account of his early life,<br />

completed in about 397),<br />

"De civitate Dei" ("The City of God", consisting of 22 books started in 413 <strong>and</strong> finished in<br />

426, dealing with God, martyrdom, Jews <strong>and</strong> other Christian philosophies) <strong>and</strong><br />

"De Trinitate" ("On the Trinity", consisting of 15 books written over the final 30 years of his<br />

life, in which he developed the "psychological analogy" of the Trinity).<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />


It was Augustine who practically determined the Catholic doctrines as the church freed<br />

from persecution <strong>and</strong> came to its own in Rome.<br />

According to Rome the theological st<strong>and</strong> of Augustine on predestination <strong>and</strong> free will is<br />

given as follows:<br />

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02091a.htm<br />

https://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/AUGUSTIN.HTM<br />

Massa damnata theory, which says that the whole human race has the original sin<br />

transmitted to them from Adam <strong>and</strong> they are all guilty of sin <strong>and</strong> are worthy of hell<br />

without any personal sin.<br />

God is absolute Master, by His grace, of all the determinations of the will;<br />

man remains free, even under the action of grace;<br />

the reconciliation of these two truths rests on the manner of the Divine government.<br />

Absolute sovereignty of God over the will<br />

…... that not only does every meritorious act require<br />

supernatural grace, but also that every act of virtue,<br />

even of infidels, should be ascribed to a Gift of God,<br />

to a specially efficacious providence which has<br />

prepared this good movement of the will<br />

(Retractations, I, ix, n. 6). ……that the will cannot<br />

accomplish that act of natural virtue, but it is a fact<br />

that without this providential benefit it would not. ….<br />

The fact has been too much lost sight of that Augustine distinguishes very explicitly two<br />

orders of grace:<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

the grace of natural virtues (the simple gift of Providence, which prepares efficacious<br />

motives for the will); <strong>and</strong> grace for salutary <strong>and</strong> supernatural acts, given with the first<br />

preludes of faith. This is the grace of all men, a grace which even strangers <strong>and</strong> infidels<br />

(filii concubinarum, as St. Augustine says) can receive (De Patientiâ, xxvii, n. 28).<br />

The latter is the grace of the sons, gratia fliorum;<br />

Man remains free, even under the action of grace<br />

The second principle, the affirmation of liberty even under the action of efficacious grace,<br />

has always been safeguarded, <strong>and</strong> there is not one of his anti-Pelagian works even of the<br />

latest, which does not positively proclaim a complete power of choice in man;<br />

"not but what it does not depend on the free choice of the will to embrace the faith or<br />

reject it, but in the elect this will is prepared by God" (De Prædest. SS., n. 10).<br />

This is an evasive way of reconciling freewill <strong>and</strong> sovereignty.<br />

choice is prepared by God”<br />

In the elect the “free<br />

De gratia Christi 25, 26: "For not only has God given us our ability <strong>and</strong> helps it, but He<br />

even works [brings about] willing <strong>and</strong> acting in us; not that we do not will or that we do<br />

not act, but that without His help we neither will anything good nor do it"<br />

De gratia et libero arbitrio 16, 32: "It is certain that we will when we will; but He brings<br />

it about that we will good. . . . It is certain that we act when we act, but He brings it<br />

about that we act, providing most effective powers to the will."<br />

The reconciliation of these two truths<br />

But is there not between these two principles an irremediable antinomy?<br />

If the freewill is dead, what else can God do. He mercifully gives the salvation by giving<br />

some the ability to choose to believe in Jesus.<br />

De gratia et libero arbitrio 6. 15: "If then your merits are God's gifts, God does not crown<br />

your merits as your merits, but as His gifts."<br />

On the one h<strong>and</strong>, there is affirmed an absolute <strong>and</strong> unreserved power in God of directing<br />

the choice of our will, of converting every hardened sinner, or of letting every created will<br />

harden itself; <strong>and</strong> on the other h<strong>and</strong>, it is affirmed that the rejection or acceptance of grace<br />

or of temptation depends on our free will. Is not this a contradiction?<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Reconciliation of of the freewill <strong>and</strong> God’s action:<br />

The Theory of Divine Government of wills<br />

Here are the main lines of this theory:<br />

The will never decides without a motive, without the attraction of some good which it<br />

perceives in the object. God manipulates the situation by providing the right motive to<br />

force the will to decide. It is like the provision of a haystack on one side for a hungry<br />

donkey. What will donkey do?<br />

“St. Augustine has remarked that man is not the master of his first thoughts; he can exert an<br />

influence on the course of his reflections, but he himself cannot determine the objects, the<br />

images, <strong>and</strong>, consequently, the motives which present themselves to his mind. Now, as<br />

chance is only a word, it is God who determines at His pleasure these first perceptions of<br />

men, either by the prepared providential action of exterior causes, or interiorly by a Divine<br />

illumination given to the soul. — let us take one last step with Augustine:<br />

Not only does God send at His pleasure those attractive motives which inspire the will with<br />

its determinations, but, before choosing between these illuminations of the natural <strong>and</strong> the<br />

supernatural order, God knows the response which the soul, with all freedom, will make to<br />

each of them.”<br />

It is this aspect that Molinists developed later in history.<br />

The spiritually dead man comes to the point of choice. The<br />

Sovereign picks him up <strong>and</strong> puts him in some where which God<br />

knew the dead man would have chosen,<br />

”predestination by the choice of the vocation which is foreseen as<br />

efficacious.” “Grace helps him to the right choice for the elect”.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

There is an inherent contradiction in the theory of predestination in Augustine.<br />

Speaking to the Manichæans he says: "All can be saved if they wish";<br />

<strong>and</strong> in his "Retractations" (I, x) he affirms "It is true, entirely true, that all men can, if they<br />

wish."<br />

In his sermons he says to all:<br />

"It depends on you to be elect" (In Ps. cxx, n. 11, etc.);<br />

"Who are the elect? You, if you wish it" (In Ps. lxxiii, n. 5).<br />

Double Predestination as Divine Will<br />

Ad Simplicianum 1, 2, 16: "Therefore all men are . . . one condemned mass [massa damnata]<br />

of sin, that owes a debt of punishment to the divine <strong>and</strong> supreme justice. Whether it [the<br />

debt] be exacted, or whether it be condoned, there is no injustice."<br />

City of God 21, 12: "Hence there is a condemned mass of the whole human race . . . so that<br />

no one would be freed from this just <strong>and</strong> due punishment except by mercy <strong>and</strong> undue<br />

grace; <strong>and</strong> so the human race is divided [into two parts] so that in some it may be shown<br />

what merciful grace can do, in others, what just vengeance can do. . . . In it [punishment]<br />

there are many more than in [mercy] so that in this way there may be shown what is due to<br />

all."<br />

(4) Epistle 190. 3. 12: He said that reprobates are so much more numerous than the saved<br />

that "by an incomparable number they are more numerous than those whom He deigned<br />

to predestine as sons of the promise to the glory of His kingdom; so that by the very<br />

number of those rejected, it might be shown that the number, howsoever large, of the<br />

justly damned is of no importance with a just God. . . ." Which implies that God does not<br />

will all to be saved: hence Augustine's explicit denial, several times, of the words of 1 Tim<br />

2:4. Hence too, as we said above, God does not really love anyone: He merely uses a few to<br />

show mercy.”<br />

On the predestination of the saints 17: "Let us, then, underst<strong>and</strong> the call by which the elect<br />

are made elect: they are not persons who are chosen because they have believed, but they<br />

are persons who are chosen so that they may believe. For even the Lord Himself made this<br />

call sufficiently clear when He said: 'You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.’”<br />

On the merits <strong>and</strong> remission of sins 2, 17, 26: "Men are not willing to do what is right either<br />

because the fact that it is right is hidden from the, or because it does not please them. It is<br />

from the grace of God, which helps the wills of man, that that which was hidden becomes<br />

known, <strong>and</strong> that which did not please become sweet. The reason why they are not helped<br />

[by grace] is in themselves, not in God, whether they are predestined to damnation<br />

because of the wickedness of their pride, or whether they are to be judged <strong>and</strong> emended,<br />

contrary to the wickedness of their pride if they are sons of mercy." [written 411].<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Augustine on Free Will<br />

“Tiny babies are not weighed down by their own sin, but they are being burdened with the<br />

sin of another.”<br />

“A man’s free will avails for nothing except to sin.”<br />

"It is, therefore, in the power of the wicked to sin; but that in sinning they should do this or<br />

that by that wickedness is not in their power, but in God's, who divides the darkness <strong>and</strong><br />

regulates it; so that hence even what they do contrary to God's will is not fulfilled except it<br />

be God's will.“<br />

“Men’s evil wills are prepared by God <strong>and</strong> predestination.<br />

God, in his timeless wisdom had decided to prepare only the will of a few.”<br />

Original Sin on children <strong>and</strong> need of baptism<br />

Death came from sin, not man's physical nature.<br />

Infants must be baptized to be cleansed from original sin.<br />

No good works can come without God's grace.<br />

Children dying without baptism are excluded from both the Kingdom of heaven <strong>and</strong> eternal<br />

life.<br />

No one can escape the struggle within Augustine once the theory of Original Sin was firmly<br />

assumed by him. There is no other way than a double predestination. Freewill is a myth.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



“God is completely holy <strong>and</strong> perfectly just”,<br />

he argued:<br />

”God wouldn’t comm<strong>and</strong> us to do something that He knows we don’t have the ability to<br />

do.” (“Be ye holy even as I am holy,”) “For God to comm<strong>and</strong> us to do something that He<br />

knows we can’t do is simply cruel.”<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

In Celtic Art, Celtic knots (also known as 'endless knots' or 'mystic knots') are series of<br />

overlapping or interwoven knots which have no clear start or end.<br />

Pelegius<br />

Pelagius was an early British theologian that lived toward the end of the Fourth century <strong>and</strong><br />

the beginning of the fifth century (c.354 - c, 420 AD). Of the origin of Pelagius almost<br />

nothing is known. He is certainly of Celtic Origin <strong>and</strong> belonged to the Celtic Christianity<br />

which is considered as a Church independent of the Catholic Church which probably were<br />

taken over by the Roman Catholic Church after the Roman conquest of Britain.<br />

The word "Celtic" refers to people who lived in Britain <strong>and</strong> Western Europe from 500 BC<br />

<strong>and</strong> 400 AD. Celts were of the Iron Age <strong>and</strong> lived in small villages which were led by warrior<br />

chiefs. What we know of are only through the time honored oral traditions. These tells of<br />

the bravery <strong>and</strong> magic of the Celts, <strong>and</strong> celebrate their rich history.<br />

The name Pelegius is supposed to be a Hellenized form of the Cymric Morgan (sea<br />

begotten). His contemporaries understood that he was of British (probably of Irish) birth,<br />

<strong>and</strong> gave him the appellation Brita. He was a large ponderous person, heavy both in body<br />

<strong>and</strong> mind (Jerome, "stolidissimus et Scotorum pultibus praegravatus").<br />

Pelagius was influenced by the monastic enthusiasm which had been kindled in Gaul<br />

(modern day France) by Saint Athanasius (A.D.336), <strong>and</strong> which, through the energy of Saint<br />

Martin of Tours (A.D. 361), rapidly communicated itself to the Briton <strong>and</strong> Scots. For, though<br />

Pelagius remained a layman throughout his life, <strong>and</strong> though he never appears in any strict<br />

connection with a cenobite fraternity, yet he adhered to monastic discipline ("veluti<br />

monachus"), <strong>and</strong> distinguished himself by his purity of life <strong>and</strong> exceptional sanctity<br />

("egregie Christianus"). Even his opponents could not find any fault in his life.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Celtic Warrior<br />

He went to Rome in the beginning of the 5th century (his earliest known writing is of date<br />

405) as a Christian monk <strong>and</strong> found a sc<strong>and</strong>alously low tone of morality prevalent in all the<br />

Rome. This he attributed to the total predestination teachings of Augustine who taught that<br />

irrespective of the way one lived, the destiny of every person was determined even before<br />

he was even born <strong>and</strong> nothing could change that. He wanted to correct the fallacy of<br />

Augustinian double pre-destination theology.<br />

Pelegius while living in Rome, was actively involved in teaching <strong>and</strong> exhorting Christians to<br />

live a righteous <strong>and</strong> holy life. His teachings were aimed at pointing out, godly conduct<br />

versus evil conduct. As a monk, Pelagius was a strong proponent of a rigorous lifestyle, <strong>and</strong><br />

therefore, he was highly devoted to controlling his personal conduct <strong>and</strong> doing only those<br />

things which were good to do.<br />

As an ascetic monk, Pelagius believed that the Christian life consisted of a continued<br />

struggle with oneself even in the midst of a society which forces man to be selfish to<br />

overcome sin <strong>and</strong> attain salvation by deliberately choosing good over evil.<br />

During his sojourn in Rome he composed several works:<br />

"De fide Trinitatis libri III", now lost;<br />

"Eclogarum ex divinis Scripturis liber unus",<br />

"Commentarii in epistolas S. Pauli",<br />

Augustinian theology gave the feeling that it does not matter what you do, you have got<br />

the end as predetermined by God before even you were thought of. It is to remove this<br />

Pelegius presented the remonstrations . But his remonstrations were met by the plea of<br />

human weakness.<br />

To remove this plea by exhibiting the actual powers of human nature became his first<br />

object.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

It seemed to him that the Augustinian doctrine of total depravity <strong>and</strong> of the consequent<br />

bondage of the will both cut the sinew of all human effort <strong>and</strong> threw upon God the blame<br />

which really belonged to man. His favorite maxim was, "If I ought, I can." God will not <strong>and</strong><br />

cannot ask anything from man, if it cannot be done by him. Hence his insistence on the<br />

freedom of the will.<br />

The need for free will of every person in contrast to double predestination is based on the<br />

obvious condition that a man is responsible for his action only based on his ability.<br />

“Ability limits Obligation”<br />

“God cannot ask Man that which he cannot perform”<br />

“Man is not responsible to his actions unless he has the choice <strong>and</strong> the ability”<br />

“It is not justice to punish for actions or non actions that are beyond the ability of<br />

the person”<br />

These are the basic premises of Pelegianism.<br />

According to the Pelagian theology, Adam had the choice, he violated the law which he<br />

could have avoided <strong>and</strong> so incurred sin on his own. According to the scriptures, Adam’s<br />

sin does not cause punishment to the children, <strong>and</strong> the freedom which Adam enjoyed in<br />

the choice <strong>and</strong> his ability did not cause damage to his children.<br />

Here is the clear statement:<br />

Will God charge Adam’s sin to his children?<br />

Ezekiel 18:19- 21<br />

"Yet you say,<br />

'Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity?'<br />

When the son has practiced justice <strong>and</strong> righteousness<br />

<strong>and</strong> has observed all My statutes <strong>and</strong> done them, he shall surely live.<br />

"The person who sins will die.<br />

The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity,<br />

nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity;<br />

the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself,<br />

<strong>and</strong> the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.<br />

"But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed <strong>and</strong><br />

observes all My statutes <strong>and</strong> practices justice <strong>and</strong> righteousness, he shall surely<br />

live; he shall not die.…”<br />

It follows that we are uninjured by the sin of Adam, save in so far as the evil example of our<br />

predecessors misleads <strong>and</strong> influences us (non propagine sed exemplo). There is, in fact,<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

no such thing as original sin, sin being a thing of will <strong>and</strong> not of nature; for if it could be of<br />

nature, our sin would be chargeable on God the creator. There seems to be confusion<br />

between individual responsibility <strong>and</strong> the collective responsibility in all this free will<br />

predestination debate. It all seems to be based on individuals whereas there are reasons<br />

that are communal than individual. Even when Jesus established his communities, they all<br />

went selfish <strong>and</strong> the communes failed very often, because of one person (as in the case of<br />

Judas Iscariot) or a couple (as in Ananias <strong>and</strong> Saphira). As far as we know none of the<br />

early communities survived. When it emerged it was in the form of a hierarchial system of<br />

power <strong>and</strong> authority as in the Catholic Church. Instead of being servants of one another,<br />

all Christian Church <strong>and</strong> the saved believers formed a structure, based on power <strong>and</strong><br />

authority, based on “who rules over whom.”<br />

These are the teachings of Pelegius<br />

The first assumption of Pelegius was the rejection of the concept of Original Sin <strong>and</strong> the<br />

conseqent teaching that man lost his freewill as a result. If anything is transmitted<br />

genetically according to Pelegius it is this freedom upon which Adam acted in partaking of<br />

the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good <strong>and</strong> evil. Even God agrees that their eyes<br />

were openned <strong>and</strong> Adam <strong>and</strong> Eve became like God.<br />

According to Aurelius, bishop of Carthage,<br />

who charged Coelestius the disciple of Pelegius as holding.<br />

(1) that Adam would have died even if he had not sinned;<br />

(2) that the sin of Adam injured himself alone, not the human race;<br />

(3) that newborn children are in the same condition in which Adam was before the fall;<br />

(4) that the whole human race does not die because of Adam's death or sin, nor will the<br />

race rise again because of the resurrection of Christ;<br />

(5) that the law gives entrance to heaven as well as the gospel;<br />

(6) that even before the coming of Jesus Christ there were men who were entirely<br />

without sin.<br />

To these propositions a seventh is sometimes added, "that infants, though unbaptized,<br />

have eternal life", a corollary from he third.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Man can make the choice = Man still has the freewill even after Adam’s fall<br />

Every human being today has the choice<br />

To follow God or to Go to hell. It is his choice. Bible clearly sets these choices before<br />

people in the OT <strong>and</strong> in the NT.<br />

Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV) Choose Whom You Will Serve<br />

“Now therefore fear the LORD <strong>and</strong> serve him in sincerity <strong>and</strong> in faithfulness. Put away the<br />

gods that your fathers served beyond the River <strong>and</strong> in Egypt, <strong>and</strong> serve the LORD. 15 And if<br />

it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the<br />

gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in<br />

whose l<strong>and</strong> you dwell. But as for me <strong>and</strong> my house, we will serve the LORD.”<br />

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (NIV) See, I set before you today life <strong>and</strong> prosperity, death <strong>and</strong><br />

destruction. For I comm<strong>and</strong> you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to<br />

him, <strong>and</strong> to keep his comm<strong>and</strong>s, decrees <strong>and</strong> laws; then you will live <strong>and</strong> increase, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

LORD your God will bless you in the l<strong>and</strong> you are entering to possess.<br />

But if your heart turns away <strong>and</strong> you are not obedient, <strong>and</strong> if you are drawn away to bow<br />

down to other gods <strong>and</strong> worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be<br />

destroyed. You will not live long in the l<strong>and</strong> you are crossing the Jordan to enter <strong>and</strong><br />

possess.<br />

This day I call the heavens <strong>and</strong> the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you<br />

life <strong>and</strong> death, blessings <strong>and</strong> curses. Now choose life, so that you <strong>and</strong> your children may<br />

live <strong>and</strong> that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, <strong>and</strong> hold fast to him. For<br />

the LORD is your life, <strong>and</strong> he will give you many years in the l<strong>and</strong> he swore to give to your<br />

fathers, Abraham, Isaac <strong>and</strong> Jacob.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Joshua 24:15 Choose for yourselves "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD,<br />

choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers<br />

served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose l<strong>and</strong> you are<br />

living; but as for me <strong>and</strong> my house, we will serve the LORD."<br />

Those who have chosen God’s way in the OT<br />

Psalm 119:30 I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.<br />

Psalm 119:173 Let Your h<strong>and</strong> be ready to help me, For I have chosen Your precepts.<br />

Job 34:4 "Let us choose for ourselves what is right; Let us know among ourselves what is<br />

good.<br />

Job 34:33 "Shall He recompense on your terms, because you have rejected it? For you must<br />

choose, <strong>and</strong> not I; Therefore declare what you know.<br />

Luke 21:14 "So make up your minds not to prepare beforeh<strong>and</strong> to defend yourselves;<br />

Jesus said:<br />

John 11:25-26 "I am the resurrection, <strong>and</strong> the life: he that believes in me, though he were<br />

dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever lives <strong>and</strong> believeth in me shall never die. Do you<br />

believe this?"<br />

Matthew 6:25 "Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My<br />

sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, <strong>and</strong> loses his own<br />

soul?"<br />

John 5:39-40 "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; <strong>and</strong><br />

these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may<br />

have life."<br />

Galatians 6:7 "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he<br />

will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who<br />

sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."<br />

Colossians 3:5-7 "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth:<br />

fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, <strong>and</strong> covetousness, which is idolatry. Because<br />

of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you<br />

yourselves once walked when you lived in them."<br />

Romans 5:17 "For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more<br />

those who receive abundance of grace <strong>and</strong> of the gift of righteousness will reign in life<br />

through the One, Jesus Christ."<br />

James 1:12"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved,<br />

he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

"We distinguish three things -<br />

the ability, the will, the act<br />

(posse, velle, esse).<br />

the ability is in nature, <strong>and</strong> must be referred to God,<br />

who has bestowed this on His creature;<br />

the other two, the will <strong>and</strong> the act, must be referred to individual person,<br />

because they flow from the fountain of free will" (Aug., Degr. ch. 4).<br />

Celestius the disciple of Pelegius<br />

Celestius, (flourished 5th centuryc. 401 - c. 500), was one of the first <strong>and</strong> probably the most<br />

outst<strong>and</strong>ing of the disciples of Pelagius. It was probably because of Celestius, Pelegius’<br />

teachings were heard far <strong>and</strong> wide. Celestius was practicing law in Rome when they met.<br />

Celestius, probably was an Italian, who had been trained as a lawyer, one who later<br />

ab<strong>and</strong>oned his profession for an ascetic life.<br />

When Rome was sacked by the Goths (410) the two friends crossed to Africa. there Pelagius<br />

once or twice met with Augustine, but very shortly sailed for Palestine, where he justly<br />

expected that his opinions would be more cordially received.<br />

Celestius remained in Carthage with the view of receiving ordination. But Aurelius, bishop<br />

of Carthage, being warned against him, summoned a synod, at which Paulinus, a deacon of<br />

Milan, charged Celestius with holding the six errors mentioned above.<br />

Celestius did not deny that he held these opinions, but he maintained that they were open<br />

questions, on which the Church had never pronounced. The synod, notwithst<strong>and</strong>ing,<br />

condemned <strong>and</strong> excommunicated him. Celestius, after a futile appeal to Rome, went to<br />

Ephesus, <strong>and</strong> there received ordination.<br />

In Palestine Pelagius lived unmolested <strong>and</strong> revered, until in 415 Orosius, a Spanish priest,<br />

came from Augustine, who in the meantime had written to warn Jerome against him. The<br />

result was that in June of that year Pelagius was cited by Jerome before John bishop of<br />

Jerusalem, <strong>and</strong> charged with holding that ‘man may be without sin, if only he desires it”. In<br />

December of the same year Pelagius was summoned before a synod of fourteen bishops at<br />

Diospolis (Lydda). Pelagius repudiated the assertion of Celestius, that "the divine grace<br />

<strong>and</strong> help is not granted to individual acts, but consists in free will, <strong>and</strong> in the giving of the<br />

law <strong>and</strong> instruction." At the same time he affirmed that a man is able, if he likes, to live<br />

without sin <strong>and</strong> keep the comm<strong>and</strong>ments of God, inasmuch as God gives him this ability.<br />

The synod was satisfied with these statements, <strong>and</strong> pronounced Pelagius to be in<br />

agreement with Catholic teaching.<br />

North African Church as a whole resented the decisions of Diospolis, <strong>and</strong> in AD 416 sent up<br />

from their synods of Carthage <strong>and</strong> Mileve (in Numidia) an appeal to Innocent, bishop of<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Rome, who, flattered by the tribute thus paid to the see of Rome, decided the question in<br />

favor of the African synods.<br />

When the Goths menaced Rome about 409AD, the two men went first to Sicily <strong>and</strong> then,<br />

about 410AD, to North Africa, where Celestius remained after Pelagius left for Palestine in<br />

411AD. During a visit to Carthage, Paulinus, a deacon of Milan, accused Celestius of denying<br />

the existence of original sin <strong>and</strong> the remission of sins by baptism. Celestius was condemned<br />

at the Council of Carthage (412AD). It was presided over by Bishop St. Aurelius. Soon after<br />

Celestius left for Ephesus (near modern Selçuk, Turkey).<br />

Celestius’ propag<strong>and</strong>a <strong>and</strong> Pelagius’ writings succeeded in making many converts. It also<br />

evoked strong reaction also. St. Jerome, the great Latin biblical scholar, <strong>and</strong> Bishop St.<br />

Augustine of Hippo were among them.<br />

St. Jerome, in one of his passionate invectives, calls Celestius<br />

“a blockhead swollen with Scotch portage.” He goes on to describe Celestius a “great,<br />

corpulent. barking dog, fitter to kick with his heels than to bite with his teeth: a Cerberus,<br />

who, with his menter Pluto (so Pelegius is designated), deserved to be knocked on the<br />

head, <strong>and</strong> so put to eternal silence."<br />

The Councils <strong>and</strong> Condemnations<br />

http://www.fourthcentury.com/index.php/council-of-rome-ad-417-2/<br />

This eventually led to the condemnation of Celestius <strong>and</strong> Pelagius at the Council of<br />

Diospolis (modern Lod, Israel) in 415AD <strong>and</strong> at two African councils in 416. Although they<br />

were excommunicated in 417 ADby Pope St. Innocent I, the succeeding pope, St. Zosimus,<br />

was sympathetic to them<br />

Date<br />

Location<br />

Chaired by<br />

Number of<br />

Participants<br />

Key Participants<br />

Purpose<br />

Key Events<br />

415 AD<br />

Diospolis (=Lydda)<br />

John II of Jerusalem<br />

14<br />

Council of Milev (AD 416)<br />

Date 416<br />

Location<br />

Number of<br />

Participants<br />

Key Participants<br />

Pelagius; Deacon Anianus<br />

To address the accusations against Pelagius<br />

Pelagius condemned the theses attributed to him by the accusation of Eros of Arles<br />

<strong>and</strong> Lazzarus of Aix; Pelagius restored to communion<br />

Milev<br />

61 provincial bishops<br />

Silvanus of Numidia; Alypius; St. Augustine; Severus of Milev; Fortunatus of Citha;<br />

Possidius<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Key Events<br />

Letter sent to Innocent I requesting the condemnation of Caelestius <strong>and</strong> Pelagius’<br />

heresies<br />

Council of Carthage (AD 416)<br />

Date 416<br />

Location<br />

Key<br />

Participants<br />

Key Events<br />

Carthage<br />

Bishops of Proconsularis; Aurelius; Alypius; Augustine; Euodius; Possidius<br />

Confirmation of the conclusions come to at Carthage in 412; condemnation of Pelagius<br />

<strong>and</strong> Caelestius; synodal letter sent to Innocent<br />

Council of Rome (AD 417)<br />

Date 417<br />

Location<br />

Summoned by<br />

Chaired by<br />

Key Participants<br />

Purpose<br />

Key Events<br />

Rome<br />

Innocent<br />

Innocent<br />

Caelestius; Pelagius; Innocent<br />

To condemn Caelestius <strong>and</strong> Pelagius<br />

Innocent confirmed the condemnation of Caelestius <strong>and</strong> Pelagius but allowed for future<br />

forgiveness <strong>and</strong> reinstatement<br />

Celestius visited Pope Zosimus, whom he impressed <strong>and</strong> who, after receiving a profession<br />

of faith from Pelagius, accused the African bishops in 417 AD of having acted precipitately.<br />

Violent outbreaks by the Pelagians in Rome caused the Western Roman emperor Flavius<br />

Honorius to condemn Pelagianism <strong>and</strong> exile Celestius from Italy. Meanwhile, Celestius, who<br />

had been comm<strong>and</strong>ed to appear before the pope, ignored the summons <strong>and</strong> fled from<br />

Rome. Thereupon, Zosimus excommunicated him <strong>and</strong> condemned Pelagianism. The Council<br />

of Ephesus (431AD) also condemned him.<br />

Pelagians—whose proponent Pelagius had been excommunicated on Jan. 27, 417AD, by<br />

Innocent <strong>and</strong> who in general were condemned by the African bishops—appealed to Rome,<br />

being successfully represented by Celestius (Caelestius). After receiving a profession of faith<br />

from Pelagius, Zosimus sent a strongly worded letter to the African bishops on Sept. 21,<br />

417AD, accusing them of having acted precipitately in their condemnation. However, the<br />

next year Zosimus, again doubting Pelagius’ orthodoxy, read his commentary on Romans;<br />

shocked by its doctrine, he comm<strong>and</strong>ed Celestius to appear before him for examination.<br />

Celestius fled Rome, thereby appearing self-condemned, <strong>and</strong> Zosimus issued the Epistola<br />

tractoria (“Epistolary Sermon”) that excommunicated Pelagius <strong>and</strong> Celestius <strong>and</strong><br />

condemned their doctrine. Pelagius, horrified by his excommunication, departed, probably<br />

for Egypt.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Though Innocent's successor, Zosimus, wavered for some time, he at length fell in with the<br />

rest. For, simultaneously with the largely attended African synod which finally condemned<br />

Pelagianism in the West, an imperial edict was issued at Ravenna by Emperor Honorius on<br />

the 30th of April 418, enacting that not only Pelagius <strong>and</strong> Celestius but all who accepted<br />

their opinions should suffer confiscation of goods <strong>and</strong> irrevocable banishment.<br />

Council of Rome (418AD)<br />

Date<br />

Location<br />

Chaired by<br />

418AD<br />

Rome<br />

Zosimus<br />

Purpose To reexamine the conclusion of Rome in 417<br />

Key Event<br />

Condemnation of Pelagianism; publication of Epistola tractoria<br />

Thus prompted the Roman bishop, Zosimus, drew up a circular petition inviting all the<br />

bishops of Christendom to subscribe to a condemnation of Pelagian opinions. Nineteen<br />

Italian bishops refused, among them Julian of Eclanum in Apulia, a man of good birth,<br />

approved sanctity <strong>and</strong> great capacity, came forward in support of Pelegian thought. But<br />

the Eastern Churches confirmed the decision of the West in Ephesus 431AD. Pelagius<br />

himself disappeared from the scene after 420AD; Celestius was last seen at Constantinople<br />

seeking the aid of the Patriarch, Nestorius in 428AD.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



John Cassian of Marseilles (Massilia)(360-435 AD)<br />

Saint John Cassian, John the Ascetic, or John Cassian the Roman, was a Christian monk <strong>and</strong><br />

theologian celebrated in both the Western <strong>and</strong> Eastern Churches<br />

St. John was born in the Danube Delta in what is now Dobrogea, Romania, in about 360<br />

(some sources instead place him as a native of Gaul). In 382 he entered a monastery in<br />

Bethlehem <strong>and</strong> after several years there was granted permission, along with his friend St.<br />

Germanus of Dobrogea, to visit the Desert Fathers in Egypt. They remained in Egypt until<br />

399, except for a brief period when they returned to Bethlehem <strong>and</strong> were released from<br />

the monastery there.<br />

Upon leaving Egypt they went to Constantinople, where they met St. John Chrysostom, who<br />

ordained St. John Cassian as a deacon. He had to leave Constantinople in 403 when<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Chrysostom was exiled, eventually settling close to Marseilles, where he was ordained<br />

priest <strong>and</strong> founded two monasteries, one for women <strong>and</strong> one for men.<br />

St. John's most famous works are the Institutes, which detail how to live the monastic life,<br />

<strong>and</strong> the Conferences, which provide details of conversations between John <strong>and</strong> Germanus<br />

<strong>and</strong> the Desert Fathers.<br />

St.John Cassian was a comtemporary of both Augustine <strong>and</strong> Pelegius <strong>and</strong> he proposed a<br />

median mode of the two extreme teachings. He wrote The Institutes <strong>and</strong> Conferences<br />

where he proposed a modiified form of Pelegius’ teaching. The advocates of this system<br />

were known as Massilians<br />

who rejected the doctrine of predestination as a vain speculation of mischievous tendency.<br />

"The Semi-Pelagian doctrine taught by John Cassian (d. 440) admits that divine grace<br />

(assistance) is necessary to enable a sinner to return unto God <strong>and</strong> live, yet holds that, from<br />

the nature of the human will, man may first spontaneously, of himself, desire <strong>and</strong> attempt<br />

to choose <strong>and</strong> obey God. They deny the necessity of prevenient but admit the necessity of<br />

cooperative grace <strong>and</strong> conceive regeneration as the product of this cooperative grace." A.A.<br />

Hodge<br />

Faustus, bishop of Priez, in France, from A. D. 427 to A. D. 480, was one of the most<br />

distinguished <strong>and</strong> successful advocates of this doctrine, which was permanently accepted<br />

by the Eastern Church, It was widely disseminated throughout the West, until it was<br />

condemned by the synods of Orange <strong>and</strong> Valence, A. D. 529. However it was in effect<br />

accepted by the Roman Church as is evident in their statement of faith.<br />

He teaches that the grace of God always invites, precedes <strong>and</strong> helps our will, <strong>and</strong> whatever<br />

gain freedom of will may attain for its pious effect is not its own desert, but the gift of<br />

grace." This is none other than the historical error of Semi-pelagianism/<strong>Arminianism</strong>, call it<br />

what you will. See his writing, On Grace <strong>and</strong> Free Will: his famous Conference XIII.<br />

B.B. Warfield said:<br />

"But Pelagianism did not so die as not to leave a legacy behind it. "Remainders<br />

of Pelagianism" soon showed themselves in Southern Gaul, where a body of<br />

monastic leaders attempted to find a middle ground on which they could<br />

st<strong>and</strong>,<br />

by allowing the Augustineian doctrine of assisting grace,<br />

but retaining the Pelagian conception of our self-determination to good.<br />

We first hear of them in 428, through letters from two laymen, Prosper <strong>and</strong><br />

Hilary, to Augustine, as men who accepted original sin <strong>and</strong> the necessity of<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

grace, but asserted that men began their turning to God, <strong>and</strong> God helped<br />

their beginning. They taught that all men are sinners, <strong>and</strong> that they derive<br />

their sin from Adam; that they can by no means save themselves, but need<br />

God's assisting grace; <strong>and</strong> that this grace is gratuitous in the sense that men<br />

cannot really deserve it, <strong>and</strong> yet that it is not irresistible, nor given always<br />

without the occasion of its gift having been determined by men's attitude<br />

towards God; so that, though not given on account of the merits of men, it is<br />

given according to those merits, actual or foreseen. The leader of this new<br />

movement was John Cassian, a pupil of Chrysostom (to whom he attributed<br />

all that was good in his life <strong>and</strong> will), <strong>and</strong> the fountain-head of Gallic<br />

monasticism; <strong>and</strong> its chief champion at a somewhat later day was Faustus of<br />

Rhegium (Riez)."<br />

Led by John Cassian, Hilary of Arles, Vincent of Lerins, <strong>and</strong> Faustus of Riez, joined in the<br />

controversy. These men objected to a number of points in the Augustinian doctrine of sin<br />

<strong>and</strong> grace, namely, the assertion of the total bondage of the will, of the priority <strong>and</strong><br />

irresistibility of grace, <strong>and</strong> of predestinarian thought. They partly agreed with Augustine as<br />

to the seriousness of sin, yet they regarded his doctrine of predestination as new, therefore<br />

in conflict with tradition <strong>and</strong> dangerous because it makes all human efforts superfluous.<br />

In opposition to Augustinianism, Cassian taught that though a sickness is inherited through<br />

Adam's sin,<br />

human free will has not been entirely obliterated.<br />

Divine grace is indispensable for salvation,<br />

but it does not necessarily need to precede a free human choice, because, despite the<br />

weakness of human volition, the will takes the initiative toward God. In other words,<br />

divine grace <strong>and</strong> human free will must work together in salvation.<br />

In opposition to the stark predestinarianism of Augustine, Cassian held to the doctrine of<br />

God's universal will to save, <strong>and</strong> that predestination is simply divine foreknowledge of who<br />

will chose God.<br />

Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism <strong>and</strong> Arminians are in full agreement.<br />

All three reject<br />

the teaching of monergistic regeneration<br />

believing that man has retained the free willl to choose God <strong>and</strong> turn to God even<br />

after Adam’s fall.<br />

Even Augustine discovered that the monks of Adrumetum found themselves<br />

either sunk to the verge of despair or provoked to licentiousness by his<br />

predestinarian teaching. he wrote two elaborate treatises to show that when God<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

ordains the end He also ordains the means, <strong>and</strong> if any man is ordained to life<br />

eternal he is thereby ordained to holiness <strong>and</strong> zealous effort.<br />

The disputes (419-428) of St. Augustine with Julian of Eclanum<br />

Through the vigorous measures adopted in 418, Pelagianism was indeed condemned, but<br />

not crushed. Among the eighteen bishops of Italy who were exiled on account of their<br />

refusal to sign the papal decree, Julian, Bishop of Eclanum, a city of Apulia now deserted,<br />

was the first to protest against the "Tractoria" of Zosimus.<br />

Julian of Eclanum (Latin: Iulianus Aeclanensis, Italian: Giuliano di Eclano) (c. 386 – c. 455)<br />

was bishop of Eclanum, near today's Benevento (Italy). He was a distinguished leader of the<br />

Pelagians of 5th century<br />

When the cases of Pelagius <strong>and</strong> Coelestius were reopened by Zosimus, shortly after the<br />

death of Innocent, Julian seems to have expressed himself strongly in their favour in the<br />

hearing of Mercator; <strong>and</strong> when Zosimus issued his Epistola Tractoria 577 against the<br />

Pelagians (417 CE) <strong>and</strong> sent it to the bishops of the East <strong>and</strong> West for subscription, Julian<br />

was among those who refused. He was accordingly deposed, <strong>and</strong> afterwards exiled under<br />

the edicts issued by the emperor Honorius in March 418.<br />

Highly educated <strong>and</strong> skilled in philosophy <strong>and</strong> dialectics, he assumed the leadership<br />

among the Pelagians. But to fight for Pelagianism now meant to fight against<br />

Augustine.who seems to have been a close family friend of Julian.The literary feud set in at<br />

once. After a long series of defence by letters <strong>and</strong> books Julian <strong>and</strong> his friends were then<br />

driven from Constantinople by an imperial edict. A comprehensive account of Pelagianism,<br />

which brings out into strong relief the diametrically opposed views of the author, was<br />

furnished by Augustine in 428 in the final chapter of his work, "De haeresibus" (P.L., XLII, 21<br />

sqq.). Augustine's last writings published before his death (430) were no longer aimed<br />

against Pelagianism but against Semipelagianism.<br />

After the death of Theodore of Mopsuestia (428), Julian of Eclanum left the hospitable city<br />

of Cilicia <strong>and</strong> in 429 we meet him unexpectedly in company with his fellow exiles Bishops<br />

Florus, Orontius, <strong>and</strong> Fabius, <strong>and</strong> the Court of the Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople,<br />

who willingly supported the fugitives. It was here, too, in 429, that Caelestius emerged<br />

again as the protégé of the patriarch; this is his last appearance in history; for from now on<br />

all trace of him is lost. But the exiled bishops did not long enjoy the protection of Nestorius.<br />

When Marius Mercator, a layman <strong>and</strong> friend of St. Augustine, who was then present in<br />

Constantinople, heard of the machinations of the Pelagians in the imperial city, he<br />

composed towards the end of 429 his "Commonitorium super nomine Caelestii" (P.L., XLVIII,<br />

63 sqq.), in which he exposed the shameful life <strong>and</strong> the heretical character of Nestorius'<br />

wards. The result was that the Emperor Theodosius II decreed their banishment in 430.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Towards the close of 430 Celestine convened a council at Rome, which condemned Julian<br />

<strong>and</strong> others once more<br />

Julian: “You [ie. Augustine] think that your Lord is capable of committing a crime against<br />

justice such as is hardly conceivable even among the barbarians.”<br />

Julian accused Augustine of Manicheism <strong>and</strong> of making God the creator of both good <strong>and</strong><br />

evil.<br />

“We maintain that men are the work of God, <strong>and</strong> that no one is forced unwillingly by His<br />

power either into evil or good, but that man does either good or ill of his own will; but that<br />

in a good work he is always assisted by God’s grace, while in evil he is incited by the<br />

suggestions of the devil.”<br />

Last traces of Pelagianism (429-529)<br />

After the Council of Ephesus (431), Pelagianism no more disturbed the Greek Church, so<br />

that the Greek historians of the fifth century do not even mention either the controversy or<br />

the names of the Peleginists.<br />

But the heresy continued to smoulder in the West <strong>and</strong> died out very slowly. The main<br />

centres were Gaul <strong>and</strong> Britain. About Gaul we are told that a synod, held probably at Troyes<br />

in 429, was compelled to take steps against the Pelagians. It also sent Bishops Germanus of<br />

Auxerre <strong>and</strong> Lupus of Troyes to Britain to fight the rampant heresy, which received<br />

powerful support from two pupils of Pelagius, Agricola <strong>and</strong> Fastidius (cf. Caspari, "Letters,<br />

Treatises <strong>and</strong> Sermons from the two last Centuries of Ecclesiastical Antiquity", pp. 1-167,<br />

Christiana, 1891).<br />

Almost a century later, Wales was the centre of Pelagian intrigues. For the saintly<br />

Archbishop David of Menevia participated in 519 in the Synod of Brefy, which directed its<br />

attacks against the Pelagians residing there, <strong>and</strong> after he was made Primate of Cambria, he<br />

himself convened a synod against them.<br />

In Irel<strong>and</strong> also Pelagius's "Commentary on St. Paul", was in use long afterwards.<br />

With the Second Synod of Orange (529) Pelagianism ceased to be an issue with<br />

the western churches. Augustine's doctrine of sin <strong>and</strong> grace was adopted as<br />

the anthropology, or teaching on sinful man of the Western Church. They<br />

stood with Augustine in his classical position that God could not have chosen<br />

men based on their decision for good, because they would never have chosen<br />

the good, being unable to do so. However his double pre-destination came in<br />

disrepute in time. This st<strong>and</strong> is known as Semi-Augustinianism which became<br />

the accepted st<strong>and</strong> of the Roman Catholic Church.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Declaration was approved by Pope Boniface ll in 531<br />

“This indeed we salubriously profess <strong>and</strong> believe. that in every good work we<br />

do not embark by ourselves <strong>and</strong> only later are assisted by the pity of God, but<br />

that he himself inspires faith <strong>and</strong> love of him in us beforeh<strong>and</strong>. without any of<br />

our good deeds preceding.“ Regarding the role of human labor. The Definitio<br />

declared. “After grace has been accepted through baptism. all of the baptized.<br />

if they wish to labor faithfully. can <strong>and</strong> ought to fulfil that which pertains to the<br />

salvation of the soul. with the assistance <strong>and</strong> cooperation of Christ."<br />

This declaration was approved by Pope Boniface ll in 531. <strong>and</strong> was indeed the<br />

final word on the role of grace. It affirmed that salvation was available to all,<br />

<strong>and</strong> conclusively rejected full Augustinian predestination. These doctrines were<br />

repressed during the early Medieval period, <strong>and</strong> would become prominent<br />

again in the Gottschalk controversy in the 9th century, again repressed <strong>and</strong><br />

would return in the teachings of Wycliff <strong>and</strong> Hus, precursors to the<br />

Reformation<br />

http://www.instonebrewer.com/visualSermons/originalSin/_Sermon.htm<br />

Semi-Pelagianism proposed that:·<br />

Human nature is neither good nor bad, but sick.<br />

Just as a sick person can’t quite do whatever he’d like to do, so likewise through the fall into<br />

sin man’s capacities became restricted. His free will remained, but was weakened by the fall.<br />

Man, then, can still decide to request <strong>and</strong> receive help. ·<br />

Man’s need for grace:<br />

Although Semi-Pelagianism believes in man’s need for God’s grace (for man is too sick to<br />

help himself), man by his free will is able to decide whether he wants God’s grace.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Whereas Pelagius taught that salvation is totally man’s own doing, <strong>and</strong><br />

Augustine taught that salvation is totally from God,<br />

Semi-Pelagianism teaches that salvation is a combination of the efforts of BOTH man <strong>and</strong><br />

God.<br />

According to Semi-Pelagianism, salvation = God’s grace + man’s acceptance of grace.<br />

Man can only be saved if man decides to co-operate with God <strong>and</strong> accepts the grace God<br />

offers him. ·<br />

God’s sovereignty:<br />

Semi-Pelagianism restricts the sovereignty of God in that it is limited by man’s decision to<br />

co-operate with God or not.<br />

God’s offer of salvation can be refused by man <strong>and</strong> so return to God empty.<br />

Though God may wish to save someone, He can only do so if that person is interested in<br />

taking Him up on the offer.<br />

Over the course of time, Semi-Pelagian or Semi-Augustine doctrine became the<br />

official theology of the Roman Catholic Church, <strong>and</strong> remains so even today.<br />

Middle Ages<br />

Thomas Aquinas (c1225–1274) : William of Ockham (1288- 1347):<br />

(1266-1308) :<br />

Duns Scotus<br />

Thomas Aquinas, the most influential Catholic theologian of the Middle Ages, taught that,<br />

from man’s fallen state, there were three steps to salvation:<br />

1. Infusion of grace (infusio gratiae)- God infuses grace into the human soul - the<br />

Christian now has faith <strong>and</strong>, with it, the ability to do good - this step is entirely God’s<br />

work <strong>and</strong> is not done by man, <strong>and</strong> once a man has faith, he can never entirely lose it -<br />

however, faith alone is not enough for salvation;<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

2. Faith formed by charity (fides caritate formata)- with man’s free will restored, man<br />

must now do his best to do good works in order to have a faith formed by charity;<br />

<strong>and</strong> then<br />

3. Condign merit (meritum de condigno) - God then judges <strong>and</strong> awards eternal life on<br />

the basis of these good works which Aquinas called man’s condign merit.<br />

Aquinas believed that by this system, he had reconciled<br />

Ephesians 2:8 "By grace are ye saved through faith, <strong>and</strong> that not of yourselves: it is the gift<br />

of God" <strong>and</strong><br />

James 2:20,24 "faith without works is dead" "by works a man is justified <strong>and</strong> not by faith<br />

only", <strong>and</strong> had provided an exposition of the Bible's teaching on salvation compatible with<br />

Augustine's teachings.<br />

A second stream of medieval thought, commonly referred to as the Ockhamists after<br />

William of Ockham (English Franciscan friar 1285-1347) <strong>and</strong> also including Duns Scotus<br />

(John Duns died 1308) <strong>and</strong> Gabriel Biel(1425 –1495) rejected Aquinas’ system as<br />

destroying man’s free will.<br />

The Ockhamists argued that if a man loved God simply because of "infused grace", then<br />

man did not love God freely. They argued that before a man received an infusion of grace,<br />

man must do his best in a state of nature (i.e. based on man’s reason <strong>and</strong> inborn moral<br />

sense). They argued that just as God awards eternal life on the basis of man’s condign merit<br />

for doing his best to do good works after receiving faith as a gift from God, so too, the<br />

original infusion of grace was given to man on the basis of "congruent merit", a reward for<br />

man’s doing his best in a state of nature. (Unlike condign merit, which is fully deserved by<br />

man, congruent merit is not fully deserved, <strong>and</strong> includes a measure of grace on God's part.<br />

Congruent merit is therefore also sometimes called "semimerit". According to the<br />

Ockhamists, a gracious God awards an individual with congruent merit when he or she does<br />

the best that he or she is able to do.)<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

http://www.thesumma.info/reality/reality12.php by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O. P.<br />

https://www.academia.edu/30914487/Thomism_<strong>and</strong>_Predestination<br />

Aquinas believed in free will <strong>and</strong> not a strict monergism.<br />

“God, therefore, is the first cause, who moves causes both natural <strong>and</strong> voluntary.<br />

And just as by moving natural causes He does not prevent their actions from being<br />

natural, so by moving voluntary causes He does not deprive their actions of being<br />

voluntary; but rather is He the cause of this very thing in them, for He operates in<br />

each thing according to his own nature.”<br />

Thomists generally hold, includes these four elements:<br />

a) God wills, as purpose of the universe, the manifestation of His goodness.<br />

b) Among possible worlds known to Him by simple intelligence, anterior to any<br />

decree of His will, He selected as suited to that purpose this present world, which<br />

involves,<br />

first, an order of nature subordinated to the order of grace,<br />

second, the permission of sin,<br />

third, the hypostatic order of redemptive Incarnation.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

c) He freely chooses, as means suited to manifest His divine goodness, this present<br />

world with all its orders <strong>and</strong> parts.<br />

d) He comm<strong>and</strong>s the execution of this choice of decree by the imperium, an<br />

intellectual act, which presupposes two efficacious acts of will, one the intention of<br />

purpose, the other the choice of means. Divine providence consists, properly <strong>and</strong><br />

formally, in this imperium, whereas divine government is the execution in time of<br />

that eternal plan which is providence.<br />

Hence we see that providence presupposes, not merely God's conditional, inefficacious,<br />

antecedent will, but also God's consequent, absolute, efficacious will, to manifest His<br />

goodness through His own chosen ways <strong>and</strong> means, by the present orders of nature <strong>and</strong> of<br />

grace, which includes permission of sin with the consequent order of redemptive<br />

Incarnation.<br />

This order manifestly presupposes,<br />

first, God's antecedent will to save all men in virtue of which He makes really <strong>and</strong> truly<br />

possible to all men the fulfilling of His precepts.<br />

Secondly, God's consequent will to save all men who will in fact be saved. Thus<br />

predestination, by its object, is a part, the highest part of providence.<br />

Is providence infallible?<br />

Thomists in general answer Yes, with a distinction.<br />

Providence, inasmuch as it presupposes God's consequent will, is infallible, both in the end<br />

to be obtained <strong>and</strong> in the ways <strong>and</strong> means that lead to that end. But in as far as it<br />

presupposes solely God's antecedent will, it is infallible only with regard to ways <strong>and</strong> means.<br />

Here lies the distinction between general Providence, which makes salvation genuinely<br />

possible for all men, <strong>and</strong> predestination, which infallibly leads the elect to their preordained<br />

good.<br />

All creation down to tiniest detail is ruled by providence.<br />

"Not a sparrow falls to earth without your Father's permission."<br />

"The very hairs of your head are numbered."<br />

Hence the question arises: How can providence govern these multitudinous details, without<br />

suppressing contingency, fortune, <strong>and</strong> liberty, without being responsible for evil?<br />

St. Thomas answers: "Since every agent acts for an end, the preordaining of ways <strong>and</strong><br />

means to reach that end extends, when the First Cause is in question, as far as extends the<br />

efficient causality of that First Cause. Now that causality extends to all created things, not<br />

only as regards their specific characters, but also to their utmost individual differences.<br />

Hence all created reality must be preordained by God to its end, must be, that is, subject to<br />

providence." Even the least detail of the material world is still a reality, hence known by<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

God, since He is cause not only of its form, but also of its matter, which is the principle of all<br />

individual differences.<br />

When we talk of events which men ascribe to fortune, good or evil, we must remember that<br />

we are dealing only with the second causes of those events. In relation to the First Cause<br />

such events are in no wise accidental <strong>and</strong> fortuitous, since God eternally foresees all results,<br />

however surprising to men, that come from complicated series of created causes.<br />

Evil as such is not a positive something, but is the privation of good in the created thing.<br />

God permits it only because He is strong enough <strong>and</strong> good enough to draw from evil a<br />

higher good, the crown of martyrdom, say, from persecution. And God's causality, as we<br />

saw above, far from destroying, actualizes liberty. The mode of contingency, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

mode of liberty, says St. Thomas, being modes of created being, fall under divine<br />

Providence, the universal cause of being. A great poet expresses with equal perfection<br />

sentiments the strongest or the sweetest. God, who can do all things He wills as He wills,<br />

can bring it about that the stone falls necessarily <strong>and</strong> that man acts freely. God moves each<br />

creature according to the nature which He gave to that creature.<br />

Here emerges a rule for Christian life. We must work out our salvation, certainly. But the<br />

chief element in that work is to ab<strong>and</strong>on ourselves to providence, to God's wisdom <strong>and</strong><br />

goodness. We rest more surely on God's design than on our own best intentions. Our only<br />

fear must be that we are not entirely submissive to God's designs. To those who love God,<br />

who persevere in His love, all things work together unto good. [430] This ab<strong>and</strong>onment<br />

evidently does not dispense us from doing our utmost to fulfill the divine will signified by<br />

precepts, counsels, <strong>and</strong> the events of life. But, that done, we can <strong>and</strong> should ab<strong>and</strong>on<br />

ourselves completely to God's pleasure, however hidden <strong>and</strong> mysterious. Such<br />

ab<strong>and</strong>onment is a higher form of hope; it is a union of confidence <strong>and</strong> love of God for His<br />

own sake. Its prayer unites petition <strong>and</strong> adoration. It does not pray, indeed, to change the<br />

dispositions of providence. But it does come from God, who draws it forth from our heart,<br />

like an earthly father, who, resolved on a gift to his child, leads the child first to ask for the<br />

gift.<br />

Predestination<br />

What we here attempt is a summary of the principles which underlie Thomistic doctrine on<br />

the high mystery of predestination.<br />

1. Scriptural Foundation<br />

St. Thomas studied deeply those texts in St. John <strong>and</strong> St. Paul which express the mystery of<br />

predestination, its gratuitousness, <strong>and</strong> its infallibility. Here follow the chief texts.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

a) "Those whom Thou gavest Me have I kept: <strong>and</strong> none of them is lost but the son of<br />

perdition that the Scripture may be fulfilled."<br />

b) "My sheep hear My voice. And I know them, <strong>and</strong> they follow Me. And I give them life<br />

everlasting: <strong>and</strong> they shall not perish forever. And no man shall pluck them out of My h<strong>and</strong>.<br />

That which My Father hath given Me is greater than all: <strong>and</strong> no one can snatch them out of<br />

the h<strong>and</strong> of My Father."<br />

c) "For many are called, but few are chosen."<br />

St. Thomas, based on tradition, interprets these texts as follows: There are elect souls,<br />

chosen by God from all eternity. They will be infallibly saved; if they fall, God will raise them<br />

up, their merits will not be lost. Others, like the son of perdition, will be lost. Yet God never<br />

comm<strong>and</strong>s the impossible, <strong>and</strong> gives to all men genuine power to fulfill His precepts at the<br />

moment when these precepts bind according to the individual's knowledge. Repentance<br />

was genuinely possible for Judas, but the act did not come into existence. Remark again the<br />

distance between potency <strong>and</strong> act. The mystery lies chiefly in harmonizing God's universal<br />

will of salvation with the predestination, not of all, but of a certain number known only to<br />

God.<br />

This same mystery we find often affirmed by St. Paul, implicitly <strong>and</strong> explicitly. Here are the<br />

chief texts.<br />

a) "For what distinguisheth thee? or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if<br />

thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received? " [435] This is<br />

equivalent to saying: No one would be better than another, were he not more loved <strong>and</strong><br />

strengthened by God, though for all the fulfillment of God's precepts is genuinely possible.<br />

"It is God who worketh in you, both to will <strong>and</strong> to accomplish, according to His good will."<br />

b) "He chose us in Him [Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world that we should be<br />

holy <strong>and</strong> unspotted in His sight. He hath predestinated us to be His adopted children<br />

through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, to make shine forth the<br />

glory of His grace, by which He has made us pleasing in His eyes, in His beloved son."<br />

This text speaks explicitly of predestination. So St. Augustine. So St. Thomas <strong>and</strong> his school.<br />

St. Thomas sets in relief both the good pleasure of God's will <strong>and</strong> the designs of God's mind,<br />

to show the eternal freedom of the act of predestination.<br />

c) "We know that to them who love God all things work together unto good, to those who<br />

are called according to His designs. For those whom He foreknew, these also He<br />

predestinated to be made conformable to the image of His son, that His son might be the<br />

firstborn among many brethren. And whom He predestinated, these He also called, <strong>and</strong><br />

whom He called, these He also justified. And whom He justified, these He also glorified."<br />

"Those whom He foreknew, these also He predestinated." How does St. Thomas, following<br />

St. Augustine, underst<strong>and</strong> these salient words? Nowhere does he underst<strong>and</strong> them of<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

simple prevision of our merits. Such a meaning has no foundation in St. Paul, <strong>and</strong> is<br />

excluded by many of his affirmations. [439] The real meaning is this: "Those whom God<br />

foreknew with divine benevolence, these He predestinated." And for what purpose? That<br />

His Son might be the first among many brethren. This is the genuine meaning of<br />

"foreknew."<br />

d) This same idea appears clearly in the commentary on Romans, [ where St. Paul is<br />

magnifying the sovereign independence of God in dispensing His graces. The Jews, the<br />

chosen people of old, have been rejected by reason of their unbelief, <strong>and</strong> salvation is being<br />

announced to the pagans. St. Paul sets forth the underlying principle of God's predilection,<br />

applicable both to nation <strong>and</strong> to individuals:<br />

"What shall we say? Is there injustice in God? Far from it. For He says to Moses: 'I will have<br />

mercy on whom I will, I will have compassion on whom I will. ' This then depends not on<br />

him who wills, not on him who runs, but on God who shows mercy." [441] If predestination<br />

includes a positive act of God, hardening of the heart, on the contrary, is only permitted by<br />

God <strong>and</strong> comes from the evil use which man makes of his freedom. Let no man, then, call<br />

God to account. Hence the conclusions: "Oh unsounded depth of God's wisdom <strong>and</strong><br />

knowledge! How incomprehensible are His judgments, how unsearchable His ways!. Who<br />

hath first given to Him, that recompense should be made? For of Him <strong>and</strong> by Him <strong>and</strong> in<br />

Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen."<br />

Definition of Predestination<br />

The Scripture texts just quoted are the foundation of the doctrine, Augustinian <strong>and</strong><br />

Thomistic, of predestination.<br />

The definition of St. Augustine runs thus: Predestination is God's foreknowledge <strong>and</strong><br />

preparation of those gifts whereby all those who are saved are infallibly saved. By<br />

predestination, he says elsewhere, God foreknew what He Himself would do. .<br />

The definition of St. Thomas runs thus: That plan in God's mind whereby He sends the<br />

rational creature to that eternal life which is its goal, is called predestination, for to<br />

destine means to send.<br />

This definition agrees with that of St. Augustine. In God's mind there is an eternal<br />

plan whereby this man, this angel, reaches his supernatural end. This plan, divinely<br />

ordained <strong>and</strong> decreed, includes the efficacious ways <strong>and</strong> means which lead this man,<br />

this angel, to his ultimate goal. This is the doctrine of Scripture. This is the doctrine<br />

of the two saints, Augustine <strong>and</strong> Thomas.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Martin Luther (1483-1541)<br />

Augustinian Monk<br />

“Free will is really a fiction… everything takes place by absolute necessity.”<br />

(Luther, Assertio, 36)<br />

"All things whatever arise from, <strong>and</strong> depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it<br />

was foreordained who should receive the word of life, <strong>and</strong> who should disbelieve it;<br />

who should be delivered from their sins, <strong>and</strong> who should be hardened in them; <strong>and</strong><br />

who should be justified <strong>and</strong> who should be condemned."<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



Romans 9:15<br />

"I (God) will have mercy on whom I have mercy,<br />

<strong>and</strong> I<br />

will have compassion on whom I have compassion.<br />

"It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort,<br />

but<br />

on God's mercy.<br />

Although there had been significant earlier attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church<br />

before Luther – such as those of Jan Hus, Peter Waldo, <strong>and</strong> John Wycliffe – Martin Luther is<br />

widely acknowledged to have started the Reformation with his 1517 work The Ninety-Five<br />

Theses.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Luther began by criticizing the sale of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority<br />

over purgatory <strong>and</strong> that the Catholic doctrine of the merits of the saints had no foundation<br />

in the gospel. The Protestant position, however, would come to incorporate doctrinal<br />

changes such as a complete reliance on Scripture as a source of proper belief (sola scriptura)<br />

<strong>and</strong> the belief that only faith, <strong>and</strong> not good deeds, bring salvation (sola fide). The core<br />

motivation behind these changes was theological, though many other factors played a part,<br />

including the rise of nationalism, the Western Schism that eroded faith in the Papacy, the<br />

perceived corruption of the Roman Curia, the impact of humanism, <strong>and</strong> the new learning of<br />

the Renaissance that questioned much traditional thought.<br />

A generation divided John Calvin from Martin Luther, whom he never met. Yet they were<br />

almost always referred together in the context of protestant reformation.<br />

“This man, John Calvin undoubtedly the greatest of Protestant divines, <strong>and</strong> perhaps, after St.<br />

Augustine, the most perseveringly followed by his disciples of any Western writer on<br />

theology, was born at Noyon in Picardy, France, 10 July, 1509, <strong>and</strong> died at Geneva, 27 May,<br />

1564.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

“http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03195b.htm<br />

Citation: C N Trueman "John Calvin"<br />

historylearningsite.co.uk. The History Learning Site, 16 Mar 2015. 22 Jul 2017.<br />

Jean Calvin was raised in a staunch Roman Catholic family. The local bishop employed<br />

Calvin’s father as an administrator in the town’s cathedral. The father, in turn, wanted John<br />

to become a priest. Because of close ties with the bishop <strong>and</strong> his noble family, John’s<br />

playmates <strong>and</strong> classmates in Noyon (<strong>and</strong> later in Paris) were aristocratic <strong>and</strong> culturally<br />

influential in his early life.<br />

At the age of 14 Calvin went to Paris to study at the College de Marche in preparation for<br />

university. His studies consisted of seven subjects: grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic,<br />

geometry, astronomy, <strong>and</strong> music. Toward the end of 1523 Calvin transferred to the more<br />

famous College Montaigu. While in Paris he changed his name to its Latin form, Ioannis<br />

Calvinus, which in French became Jean Calvin. During this time, Calvin’s education was paid<br />

for in part by income from a couple of small parishes. So although the new theological<br />

teachings of individuals like Luther <strong>and</strong> Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples were spreading<br />

throughout Paris, Calvin was closely tied to the Roman Church. However, by 1527 Calvin<br />

had developed friendships with individuals who were reform-minded. These contacts set<br />

the stage for Calvin’s eventual switch to the Reformed faith. Also, at this time Calvin's<br />

father advised him to study law rather than theology.<br />

By 1528 Calvin moved to Orleans to study civil law. The following years found Calvin<br />

studying in various places <strong>and</strong> under various scholars. By 1532 Calvin finished his law<br />

studies <strong>and</strong> also published his first book, a commentary on De Clementia by the Roman<br />

philosopher, Seneca. The following year Calvin fled Paris because of contacts with<br />

individuals who through lectures <strong>and</strong> writings opposed the Roman Catholic Church. It is<br />

thought that in 1533 Calvin experienced the sudden <strong>and</strong> unexpected conversion <strong>and</strong><br />

grasped Protestantism.<br />

He knew that he will be considered a heretics by the Catholic church <strong>and</strong> hence for the next<br />

three years, Calvin lived in various places outside of France under various names. He<br />

studied on his own, preached, <strong>and</strong> began work on his first edition of the Institutes—an<br />

instant best seller. By 1536 Calvin had disengaged himself from the Roman Catholic Church<br />

<strong>and</strong> made plans to permanently leave France <strong>and</strong> go to Strasbourg. However, war had<br />

broken out between Francis I <strong>and</strong> Charles V, so Calvin decided to make a one-night detour<br />

to Geneva.<br />

Geneva was a French-speaking Swiss city. At the time of Calvin’s arrival the city was<br />

struggling between two independence against two authorities who were trying to exercise<br />

control over Geneva. The first was the Dukes of Savoy <strong>and</strong> the second was the Bishop of<br />

Geneva. In May 1536 the city adopted religious reform:<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

1) monasteries were dissolved<br />

2) Mass was abolished<br />

3) Papal authority renounced<br />

Even within the reformation there were two groups - those who wanted mild reform (such<br />

as no compulsory church attendance) <strong>and</strong> those who dem<strong>and</strong>ed radical reform such as<br />

Calvin <strong>and</strong> Farel. The mild reformers were called the Libertines <strong>and</strong> they wanted<br />

magistrates firmly in control of the clergy. Calvin wanted a city controlled by the clergy – a<br />

theocracy. In 1538, the Libertines won the day <strong>and</strong> Farel <strong>and</strong> Calvin fled the city <strong>and</strong> went<br />

to Strasbourg.<br />

But Calvin’s fame in Geneva preceded him. Farel, a local reformer, invited him to stay in<br />

Geneva <strong>and</strong> threatened him with God’s anger if he did not. Thus began a long, difficult, yet<br />

ultimately fruitful relationship with that city. He began as a lecturer <strong>and</strong> preacher, but by<br />

1538 was asked to leave because of theological conflicts. He went to Strasbourg until 1541.<br />

Libertines had fallen from power in 1540. In 1541 the Council of Geneva requested that<br />

he return to Geneva. He did so <strong>and</strong> remained in Geneva until his death May 27, 1564. . It<br />

took Calvin 14 years before he could fully impose his version of liturgy, doctrine,<br />

organisation of the church <strong>and</strong> moral behaviour.<br />

The church controlled all aspects of life. Eventually Geneva became theocratic.<br />

In 1555, the city council gave the consistory the right to excommunicate offenders. Only<br />

after this date was a strict moral code imposed <strong>and</strong> every sin was made a crime e.g. no<br />

work or pleasure on a Sunday; no extravagance in dress. If you were excommunicated you<br />

were banished from the city. Blasphemy could be punished by death; lewd singing could be<br />

punished by your tongue being pierced.<br />

The state had to obey the teachings of the church, according to Calvin, <strong>and</strong> once he had<br />

managed to ensure this power, he felt confident enough to shut down taverns – though<br />

this was actually done by magistrates – <strong>and</strong> replace them with “evangelical refreshment<br />

places” where you could drink alcohol but this was accompanied by Bible readings. Meals<br />

(in public) were preceded by the saying of grace.<br />

The city itself was not democratic but were controlled by the aristocracy.. These 1,500 men<br />

had a right to elect the city council which governed the city’s 13,000 people. Calvin turned<br />

out to be a dictator under the name of God. When the Spanish scholar called Michael<br />

Servetus came to Geneva in 1553. <strong>and</strong> questioned concept of Trinity.Calvin burnt him as a<br />

heretic. In May 1555, the Libertines attempted a take-over of Geneva which was a<br />

disaster. The ringleaders were caught <strong>and</strong> executed <strong>and</strong> this success further strengthened<br />

Calvin’s h<strong>and</strong>.<br />

Calvin left the Roman Catholic Church around 1530 <strong>and</strong> joined the Reformation in 1537.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

“Among all those who have been born of women, there has not risen a greater than John<br />

Calvin; no age, before him ever produced his equal, <strong>and</strong> no age afterwards has seen his rival.<br />

In theology, he st<strong>and</strong>s alone, shining like a bright fixed star, while other leaders <strong>and</strong><br />

teachers can only circle round him, at a great distance — as comets go streaming through<br />

space — with nothing like his glory or his permanence” . . . “the longer I live the clearer<br />

does it appear that John Calvin’s system is the nearest to perfection.”~ Charles Spurgeon<br />

“Calvin was the cruel <strong>and</strong> unopposed dictator of Geneva.”~ From ‘John Calvin’ in The Oxford<br />

Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by FL Cross <strong>and</strong> EA Livingstone, (OUP: New York,<br />

1974, 2nd ed.), p. 223.<br />

“The famous Calvin whom we regard as the apostle of Geneva raised himself up to the<br />

rank of Pope of the Protestants.”~ VoltaireHe died at age 54. But he was incredibly<br />

productive.<br />

Romans 9:15 "I (God) will have mercy on whom I have mercy, <strong>and</strong> I will have compassion on<br />

whom I have compassion."It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on<br />

God's mercy.<br />

Theodore Beza (1519-1605)<br />

Successor to Calvin in Geneva<br />

Created what now called <strong>Calvinism</strong> with the acronym now used as<br />

TULIP<br />

Supralapsarianism as opposed to infralapsarianism<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Supralapsarianism / antelapsarianism (“before the lapse”) puts God’s decrees in the<br />

following order:<br />

(1) God decreed the election of some <strong>and</strong> the eternal condemnation of others,<br />

(2) God decreed to create those elected <strong>and</strong> eternally condemned,<br />

(3) God decreed to permit the fall, <strong>and</strong><br />

(4) God decreed to provide salvation for the elect through Jesus Christ.<br />

Supralapsarianism focuses on God ordaining the fall, creating certain people for the sole<br />

purpose of being condemned, <strong>and</strong> then providing salvation for only those whom He had<br />

elected.<br />

Sublapsarianism (“under the lapse”) put God’s decrees in the following order:<br />

(1) God decreed to create human beings,<br />

(2) God decreed to permit the fall,<br />

(3) God decreed to provide salvation sufficient to all, <strong>and</strong><br />

(4) God decreed to choose some to receive this salvation.<br />

The only difference between infralapsarianism <strong>and</strong> sublapsarianism is whether God first<br />

decreed to provide salvation through Jesus Christ <strong>and</strong> then chose some to be saved, or<br />

vice-versa.<br />

Infralapsarianism (“after the lapse”) puts God’s decrees in the following order:<br />

(1) God decreed the creation of mankind,<br />

(2) God decreed mankind would be allowed to fall into sin through their own<br />

self-determination, (3) God decreed to save some of the fallen, <strong>and</strong><br />

(4) God decreed to provide Jesus Christ as the Redeemer. I<br />

nfralapsarianism focuses on God allowing the fall <strong>and</strong> providing salvation.<br />

This is by far the majority Reformed (or Calvinistic) view.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

<strong>Calvinism</strong><br />

http://www.reformed.org/calvinism/<br />

The Five Points of <strong>Calvinism</strong><br />

This system of theology was reaffirmed by the Synod of Dordt<br />

in 1619 as the doctrine of salvation contained in the Holy<br />

Scriptures. The system was at that time formulated into "five<br />

points" in answer to the unscriptural five points submitted by<br />

the Arminians to the Church of Holl<strong>and</strong> in 1610.<br />

According to <strong>Calvinism</strong>:<br />

Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the triune God.<br />

The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ's death<br />

effective by bringing the elect to faith <strong>and</strong> repentance, thereby causing them to willingly<br />

obey the Gospel.<br />

The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God <strong>and</strong> is by grace<br />

alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Total Depravity (Total Inability)<br />

T<br />

Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of <strong>Calvinism</strong>. When Calvinists<br />

speak of humans as "totally depraved," they are making an extensive, rather than an<br />

intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part<br />

of his personality -- his thinking, his emotions, <strong>and</strong> his will. Not necessarily that he is<br />

intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.<br />

The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12).<br />

Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind <strong>and</strong> deaf to the message of<br />

the gospel (Mark 4:11f).<br />

This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability." The man without a<br />

knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive<br />

through Christ<br />

(Ephesians 2:1-5).<br />

Unconditional Election<br />

U<br />

Unconditional Election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was<br />

pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object<br />

of his grace <strong>and</strong> not based upon his looking forward to discover who would "accept" the<br />

offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for<br />

glory <strong>and</strong> others for damnation (Romans 9:15,21). He has done this act before the<br />

foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8).<br />

This doctrine does not rule out, however, man's responsibility to believe in the redeeming<br />

work of God the Son (John 3:16-18). Scripture presents a tension between God's<br />

sovereignty in salvation, <strong>and</strong> man's responsibility to believe which it does not try to resolve.<br />

Both are true -- to deny man's responsibility is to affirm an unbiblical hyper-calvinism; to<br />

deny God's sovereignty is to affirm an unbiblical <strong>Arminianism</strong>.<br />

The elect are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). Thus, though good works will never<br />

bridge the gulf between man <strong>and</strong> God that was formed in the Fall, good works are a result<br />

of God's saving grace. This is what Peter means when he admonishes the Christian reader<br />

to make his "calling" <strong>and</strong> "election" sure (2 Peter 1:10). Bearing the fruit of good works is an<br />

indication that God has sown seeds of grace in fertile soil.<br />

Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)<br />

L<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Limited Atonement is a doctrine offered in answer to the question, "for whose sins did<br />

Christ atone?" The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom God gave him to save<br />

(John 17:9). Christ died, indeed, for many people, but not all (Matthew 26:28). Specifically,<br />

Christ died for the invisible Church -- the sum total of all those who would ever rightly bear<br />

the name "Christian" (Ephesians 5:25).<br />

This doctrine often finds many objections, mostly from those who think that Limited<br />

Atonement does damage to evangelism. We have already seen that Christ will not lose any<br />

that the father has given to him (John 6:37). Christ's death was not a death of potential<br />

atonement for all people. Believing that Jesus' death was a potential, symbolic atonement<br />

for anyone who might possibly, in the future, accept him trivializes Christ's act of<br />

atonement. Christ died to atone for specific sins of specific sinners. Christ died to make holy<br />

the church. He did not atone for all men, because obviously all men are not saved.<br />

Evangelism is actually lifted up in this doctrine, for the evangelist may tell his congregation<br />

that Christ died for sinners, <strong>and</strong> that he will not lose any of those for whom he died!<br />

Irresistible Grace<br />

The result of God's Irresistible Grace is the certain response by the elect to the inward call<br />

of the Holy Spirit, when the outward call is given by the evangelist or minister of the Word<br />

of God. Christ, himself, teaches that all whom God has elected will come to a knowledge of<br />

him (John 6:37). Men come to Christ in salvation when the Father calls them (John 6:44),<br />

<strong>and</strong> the very Spirit of God leads God's beloved to repentance (Romans 8:14). What a<br />

comfort it is to know that the gospel of Christ will penetrate our hard, sinful hearts <strong>and</strong><br />

wondrously save us through the gracious inward call of the Holy Spirit (I Peter 5:10)!<br />

Perseverance of the Saints<br />

I<br />

P<br />

Perseverance of the Saints is a doctrine which states that the saints (those whom God has<br />

saved) will remain in God's h<strong>and</strong> until they are glorified <strong>and</strong> brought to abide with him in<br />

heaven. Romans 8:28-39 makes it clear that when a person truly has been regenerated by<br />

God, he will remain in God's stead. The work of sanctification which God has brought about<br />

in his elect will continue until it reaches its fulfillment in eternal life (Phil. 1:6). Christ<br />

assures the elect that he will not lose them <strong>and</strong> that they will be glorified at the "last day"<br />

(John 6:39). The Calvinist st<strong>and</strong>s upon the Word of God <strong>and</strong> trusts in Christ's promise that<br />

he will perfectly fulfill the will of the Father in saving all the elect.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Notice that there’s no “A” for Assurance – ie you can’t be sure you are saved<br />

- Calvin preached against those who presumed to be sure during this lifetime<br />

- you only knew someone was elect if they kept believing to the end of their life<br />

- if they didn’t keep believing, then they weren’t a real believer in the first place<br />

- God knows who the real elect are, but they themselves cannot know for sure<br />

- living a Christian lifestyle helps to suggest you are elect, but doesn’t make you<br />

elect because salvation doesn’t depend on anything you choose to do.<br />

http://www.instonebrewer.com/visuamons/Sovereignty/_Sermon.htm<br />

God's Sovereignty is Exhaustive<br />

God has determined everything which will take place in the universe by his decrees in past<br />

eternity ~ including who will be saved <strong>and</strong> who will be condemned in hell (reprobation).<br />

God is Sovereign. He is the King of all creation. He can do anything He wants. If he takes<br />

you <strong>and</strong> gives a seat in his palace, He get the glory. If He puts you in hell for eternity<br />

burning in fire also, He gets the glory. This is what Sovereigns are. A Feudal Lord<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

TOTAL DEPRAVITY means total inability. Human spiritual<br />

death is defined in an extreme way as a total inability to<br />

please God in any way, including inability to repent <strong>and</strong><br />

believe the gospel of Christ. People are seen as spiritual<br />

corpses.<br />


Before we were even born, God has decided <strong>and</strong> decreed who<br />

will be saved <strong>and</strong> who will go to hell apart from anything we<br />

do or can do. His basis for this choice is an unrevealed<br />

mystery.<br />


Christ died only for the “elect,” who were sovereignly chosen<br />

in past eternity. God does not really love the “non-elect.”<br />

Many say that He hates them.<br />


The “elect” are directly <strong>and</strong> irresistibly regenerated before<br />

they believe, since they cannot first exercise saving faith.<br />


We cannot really be sure we are among the “elect” unless we persevere until the end. We<br />

must constantly search our hearts to<br />

make sure we are not counterfeits<br />

“May the Lord curse you <strong>and</strong> ab<strong>and</strong>on you.<br />

May the Lord keep you in darkness <strong>and</strong> give<br />

you only judgment without grace. May the<br />

Lord turn his back upon you <strong>and</strong> remove his<br />

peace from you forever.” These words, taken<br />

from a popular R.C. Sproul video, starkly reveal<br />

the dark underbelly of the Calvinist’s concept<br />

of justice.<br />

Curse Motif of the Atonement, RC Sproul<br />

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjqkhyTaGeE&feat<br />

ure=youtu.be<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />


God hates evil so much that He must ensure its eternal<br />

perpetuation, for if in a trillion years from now there was<br />

even a millisecond of time in which God didn’t have a<br />

group of sinners to be angry at, then this would be tragic<br />

as one whole part of His character (justice) would be<br />

unable to be expressed.<br />

As Douglas Wilson once put it on his blog,<br />

“In a world without sin, two of God’s most glorious attributes—His justice<br />

<strong>and</strong> His mercy—would go undisplayed. This, obviously, would be horrible …<br />

In a world without sin <strong>and</strong> evil, at least two attributes of God would have gone<br />

unrevealed <strong>and</strong> unmanifested, those attributes being wrath <strong>and</strong> mercy. Since<br />

this is obviously intolerable, God determined to direct our affairs the way that<br />

He did.<br />

Jonathan Edwards expressed a similar idea when he wrote:<br />

“It is a proper <strong>and</strong> excellent thing for infinite glory to shine forth; <strong>and</strong> for the<br />

same reason, it is proper that the shining forth of God’s glory should be<br />

complete; that is, that all parts of his glory should shine forth, that every<br />

beauty should be proportionably effulgent, that the beholder may have a<br />

proper notion of God. It is not proper that one glory should be exceedingly<br />

manifested, <strong>and</strong> another not at all …<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority <strong>and</strong> dreadful<br />

greatness, justice, <strong>and</strong> holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be,<br />

unless sin <strong>and</strong> punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of<br />

God’s glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory<br />

would not shine forth as the others do, <strong>and</strong> also the glory of his goodness, love,<br />

<strong>and</strong> holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth<br />

at all. If it were not right that God should decree <strong>and</strong> permit <strong>and</strong> punish sin,<br />

there could be no manifestation of God’s holiness in hatred of sin, or in<br />

showing any preference, in his providence, of godliness before it. There would<br />

be no manifestation of God’s grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be<br />

pardoned, no misery to be saved from. How much happiness soever he<br />

bestowed, his goodness would not be so much prized <strong>and</strong> admired … So evil<br />

is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world;<br />

because the creature’s happiness consists in the knowledge of God, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of<br />

the creature must be proportionably imperfect.<br />

The same notion is present in the works of Saint Augustine:<br />

“…if all had remained condemned to the punishment entailed by just<br />

condemnation, then God’s merciful grace would not have been seen at work<br />

in anyone, on the other h<strong>and</strong>, if all had been transferred from darkness to light,<br />

the truth of God’s vengeance would not have been made evident.” —City of<br />

God 21.11<br />

Augustine defends this view by comparing it to the beauty of antithesis that we find in<br />

literature:<br />

“[Man’s] future evil state … enrich[es] the course of world history by the<br />

kind of antithesis which gives beauty to a poem. ‘Antithesis’ provides the<br />

most attractive figures in literary compositions … The opposition of such<br />

contraries gives an added beauty to speech; <strong>and</strong> in the same way there is a<br />

beauty in the composition of the world’s history arising from the antithesis of<br />

contraries—a kind of eloquence in events, instead of words.” —City of<br />

God 11.17<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Shocking Beliefs of John Calvin<br />

These actions from one who believed the correctness of a Sovereign is not surprising<br />

really. It is the natural outcome of the faith.<br />

This is the justice of God in Action in <strong>Calvinism</strong>.<br />

April 8, 2015 by Frank Viola<br />

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/shockingbeliefsofjohncalvin/<br />

1. Calvin believed that executing unrepentant heretics was justified.<br />

The best known example of this is when Calvin consented to the execution of Michael<br />

Servetus, a man who denied the Trinity <strong>and</strong> infant baptism. Servetus burned for one hour<br />

simply because of his theological views.<br />

In addition to Servetus, Jerome Bolsec was arrested <strong>and</strong> imprisoned for challenging Calvin<br />

during a lecture, then banished from the city. Calvin wrote privately about the matter<br />

saying that he wished Bolsec were “rotting in a ditch.”<br />

Jacques Gruet was also a man who disagreed with Calvin. He called Calvin an ambitious <strong>and</strong><br />

haughty hypocrite. The administrations of Geneva tortured Gruet twice daily until he<br />

confessed, <strong>and</strong> with Calvin’s concurrence, Gruet was tied to a stake, his feet were nailed to<br />

it, <strong>and</strong> his head was cut off for blasphemy <strong>and</strong> rebellion.<br />

Pierre Ameaux was charged with sl<strong>and</strong>ering Calvin at a private gathering. He was to pay a<br />

fine, but Calvin wasn’t satisfied with the penalty, so Ameaux spent two months in prison,<br />

lost his job, <strong>and</strong> was paraded through town kneeling to confess his libel, also paying for the<br />

trial expense.<br />

2. Calvin believed that the Eucharist provides an undoubted assurance of eternal life.<br />

3. Calvin believed that the Reformed Church (his church) was the true Church <strong>and</strong> there<br />

was no salvation outside of it.<br />

4. Calvin believed it was acceptable to lambast his opponents with vicious names.<br />

5. Calvin believed that the Old Testament capital offenses should be enforced today.<br />

The city of Geneva was ruled by the clergy, which was composed of five pastors <strong>and</strong> twelve<br />

lay elders chosen by Geneva’s Council. But Calvin’s voice was the most influential in the city.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Here are some laws <strong>and</strong> facts about Geneva under Calvin’s authority:<br />

* Each household had to attend Sunday morning services. If there was preaching on<br />

weekdays, all had to attend also. (There were only a few exceptions, <strong>and</strong> Calvin preached<br />

three to four times a week.)<br />

* If a person came to the service after the sermon had begun, he was warned. If he<br />

continued, he would have to pay a fine.<br />

* Heresy was regarded as an insult to God <strong>and</strong> treason to the state <strong>and</strong> was punished by<br />

death.<br />

* Witchcraft was a capital crime. In one year, 14 alleged witches were sent to the stake on<br />

the charge that they persuaded satan to afflict Geneva with the plague.<br />

* Clergy were to abstain from hunting, gambling, feasting, commerce, secular amusements,<br />

<strong>and</strong> had to accept annual visitations <strong>and</strong> moral scrutiny by church superiors.<br />

* Gambling, card-playing, frequenting taverns, dancing, indecent or irreligious songs,<br />

immodesty in dress were all prohibited.<br />

* The allowable color <strong>and</strong> quantity of clothing <strong>and</strong> the number of dishes permissible at a<br />

meal were specified by law.<br />

* A woman was jailed for arranging her hair to an “immoral height.”<br />

* Children were to be named after Old Testament characters. A rebellious father served<br />

four days in prison for insisting on naming his son Claude instead of Abraham.<br />

* To speak disrespectfully of Calvin or the clergy was a crime. A first violation was punished<br />

by a reprim<strong>and</strong>. Further violations with fines. Persistent violations were met with<br />

imprisonment or banishment.<br />

* Fornication was punished by exile or drowning.<br />

* Adultery, blasphemy, <strong>and</strong> idolatry was punished with death.<br />

* In the year 1558-1559, there were 414 prosecutions for moral offenses.<br />

* As everywhere in the 16th century, torture was often used to obtain confessions or<br />

evidence.<br />

* Between 1542-1564, there were 76 banishments. The total population of Geneva then<br />

was 20,000.<br />

* Calvin’s own step-daughter <strong>and</strong> son-in-law were among those condemned for adultery<br />

<strong>and</strong> executed.<br />

* In Geneva, there was little distinction between religion <strong>and</strong> morality. The existing records<br />

of the Council for this period reveal a high percentage of illegitimate children, ab<strong>and</strong>oned<br />

infants, forced marriages, <strong>and</strong> sentences of death.<br />

* In one case, a child was beheaded for striking his parents. (Following Old Testament<br />

Mosaic law, Calvin believed it was scriptural to execute rebellious children <strong>and</strong> those who<br />

commit adultery.)<br />

* During a period of 17 years when Calvin was leading Geneva, there were 139 recorded<br />

executions in the city.<br />

Sabastian Castellio, a friend of Calvin’s who urged him to repent of his intolerance, made<br />

the shocking remark,<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

“If Christ himself came to Geneva, he would be crucified. For Geneva is not a place of<br />

Christian liberty. It is ruled by a new pope [John Calvin], but one who burns men alive while<br />

the pope at Rome strangles them first.”<br />

Castellio also made this remark:<br />

“Can we imagine Christ ordering a man to be burned alive for advocating adult baptism?<br />

The Mosaic laws calling for the death of a heretic were superceded by the law of Christ,<br />

which is one of mercy not of despotism <strong>and</strong> terror.”<br />

6. Calvin believed that Jewish people were impious, dishonest, lacked common sense,<br />

were greedy, <strong>and</strong> should die without pity.<br />

7. Calvin believed that God did not create all humans on equal terms, but created some<br />

individuals for eternal damnation.<br />

This idea is known as “double predestination.” According to this view, God predestines<br />

some to salvation <strong>and</strong> others to destruction. While this idea will not be shocking to some<br />

Christians, particularly Calvinists, the idea that God would knowing create some<br />

individuals so as to destroy them eternally in the end is shocking to many believers.<br />

According to Calvin, “The predestination by which God adopts some to the hope of life, <strong>and</strong><br />

adjudges others to eternal death, no man who would be thought pious ventures simply to<br />

deny . . . By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined<br />

with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created<br />

on equal terms, but some<br />

are preordained to eternal<br />

life, others to eternal<br />

damnation; <strong>and</strong>, accordingly,<br />

as each has been created for<br />

one or other of these ends,<br />

we say that he has been<br />

predestinated to life or to<br />

death.”<br />

Chapter 21 of Book III of<br />

John Calvin’s Institutes of<br />

the Christian Religion is<br />

called “Of the eternal<br />

election, by which God has<br />

predestinated some to<br />

salvation, <strong>and</strong> others to<br />

destruction.”<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



Moses Amyraut (1596–1664)<br />

Amyraldism (sometimes Amyraldianism)<br />

is also known as<br />

the School of Saumur, post redemptionism, moderate <strong>Calvinism</strong>, four-point <strong>Calvinism</strong>,<br />

or<br />

hypothetical universalism<br />

It is the belief that God decreed Christ's atonement, prior to his decree of election, for all<br />

alike if they believe, but he then elected those whom he will bring to faith in Christ, seeing<br />

that none would believe on their own, <strong>and</strong> thereby preserving the Calvinist doctrine of<br />

unconditional election. The efficacy of the atonement remains limited to those who believe.<br />

This doctrine is named after its formulator Moses Amyraut, <strong>and</strong> is still viewed as a variety of<br />

<strong>Calvinism</strong> in that it maintains the particularity of sovereign grace in the application of the<br />

atonement.<br />

Hypothetical universalist teachings may be found in the writings of early Reformed<br />

theologians including Heinrich Bullinger, Wolfgang Musculus, Zacharias Ursinus, <strong>and</strong><br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Girolamo Zanchi. Several theologians who signed the Canons of Dort were hypothetical<br />

universalists.<br />

Amyraut maintained the Calvinistic premises of an eternal foreordination <strong>and</strong><br />

foreknowledge of God, whereby he caused all things to pass, the good efficiently, the bad<br />

permissively. He also admitted the double decree of election <strong>and</strong> reprobation, but his view<br />

on double predestination is modified slightly by his view of double election. He also taught<br />

that God foreordained a universal salvation through the universal sacrifice of Christ offered<br />

to all alike, on condition of faith, so that on the part of God's will <strong>and</strong> desire, the grace is<br />

universal, but as regards the condition it is particular, or only for those who do not reject it<br />

which would thereby make it ineffective.<br />

The friends of Amyraut urged the love, benevolence, <strong>and</strong> impartial justice of God as well as<br />

the numerous passages in Scripture which teach that God loves 'the whole world', that he<br />

will have 'all men to be saved', that Christ died 'not for our sins only, but also for the sins of<br />

the whole world', that 'he shut up all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all'. On the<br />

other h<strong>and</strong>, it was objected that God does not really will <strong>and</strong> intend what is never<br />

accomplished; that he could not purpose an end without providing adequate means; God<br />

did not actually offer salvation to all; <strong>and</strong> that a hypothetical universalism based on an<br />

unlikely condition is an unfruitful abstraction.<br />

The national Synods at Alençon, 1637; at Charenton, 1645; <strong>and</strong> at Loudun, 1659 (the last<br />

synod permitted by the French government), decided against the excommunication of<br />

Amyraut but delimited his views in order to avoid further variance with historic Reformed<br />

orthodoxy.<br />

Amyraldism has come under fire in recent years by contemporary Calvinist theologians who<br />

argue that one simply cannot accept that Christ died for all people in the world if not all are<br />

saved.<br />

That belief either requires<br />

a second payment for sin at the judgment, (a second cross?)<br />

or ab<strong>and</strong>onment of the penal substitution theory of the atonement.<br />

the adoption of a form of universal reconciliation,<br />

Actually it is not necessary that all should be saved if Christ died for all, if there is freewill<br />

ability which can resist grace <strong>and</strong> the call of the cross. Actually the substitution theory st<strong>and</strong><br />

to trial on:<br />

(Ezekiel 18:20)--"The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the<br />

father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's.<br />

>>>>>>>>>>>>>><br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531)<br />

Opposed baptismal regeneration<br />

Supported Double Predestination<br />

“Those individuals who end up damned forever in hell are also eternally determined by God<br />

for that fate.”<br />

HYPER CALVINSTS: 5 point Calvinists: TULIP<br />

Calvinist who believe in all 5 points are "5-point" Calvinist.<br />

AMYRALDIANISTS: 4 point Calvinists:TUIP<br />

Calvinist who don’t accept the controversial "L" of "TULIP"Limited Atonement<br />

-- who accept that God died for the sins of all humanity on the cross, not just<br />

"the elect," are "4-point" Calvinists (or Amyraldianists).>>>><br />

1 Point Calvinists<br />

Some Baptists modify all but the last point (Perseverance of the Saints) of the<br />

TULIP out of a desire tn maintain the role of the human free will to make a<br />

"personal decision“ for Christ, the human "personal decision" bringing G0d‘s<br />

saving faith. They sometimes call themselves "1-point" Calvinists.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



The year Jacob Arminius was born (in Oudewater, Holl<strong>and</strong>), John Calvin was busy<br />

establishing the Genevan Academy to propagate his ideas of predestination. About that<br />

same time, Guido de Brès wrote the first edition of the Belgic Confession, which became<br />

one of the basic doctrinal st<strong>and</strong>ards of Dutch <strong>Calvinism</strong>. As Arminius grew up, arguments<br />

over Calvin's teachings interrupted those over Spanish rule. By the time Arminius was 14,<br />

William the Silent, Holl<strong>and</strong>'s king, was a Calvinist.<br />

Arminius began to question <strong>Calvinism</strong> (especially its view of grace <strong>and</strong> predestination) in his<br />

early 20s, but rather than fight for his views at the Geneva Academy, where he had studied<br />

under Calvin's successor, Theodore Beza, he left quietly. When Genevan authorities became<br />

angry at Arminius's defense of French humanist Peter Ramus, Arminius left for Basel. He<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

was offered a doctorate there but turned it down on the grounds that his youth (he was<br />

only 24 or 25) would bring dishonor to the title.<br />

It was his study of the Epistle to the Romans as an Amsterdam minister that set Jacob<br />

Arminius firmly against <strong>Calvinism</strong>. Though he was accused of Pelagianism (an overemphasis<br />

on free will) <strong>and</strong> other heresies, his critics brought no proof of the charges.<br />

In 1606, while professor of theology at Leiden, Arminius delivered an address titled "On<br />

Reconciling Religious Dissensions among Christians":<br />

Still, he continued to be disturbed by the determinism of <strong>Calvinism</strong>, <strong>and</strong> he called for a<br />

national synod to resolve the conflicts <strong>and</strong> to look critically at two crucial Calvinist<br />

documents, the Belgic Confession <strong>and</strong> the Heidelberg Catechism. The synod finally met but<br />

not until nine years after Arminius died (in good st<strong>and</strong>ing with the Dutch Reformed Church),<br />

<strong>and</strong> eight years after the Remonstrance was issued, which developed <strong>and</strong> articulated the<br />

key themes of what is today called Arminian theology. <strong>Arminianism</strong> since has influenced<br />

key figures in church history, such as John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.<br />

But by the time Arminius died, the theological l<strong>and</strong>scape was shifting again, <strong>and</strong> Arminius's<br />

anti-Calvinist theology was spreading rapidly across Europe.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

<strong>Arminianism</strong> saw the function of grace only as a force that help to raise the insight to a<br />

new level of human underst<strong>and</strong>ing so that man can make a better choice in life.<br />

Whatever the case, it is man’s free will that is responsible for the choice <strong>and</strong> responsibility<br />

solely lie on man.<br />

Arminius said that the relationship between God <strong>and</strong> man is one of cooperative assistance<br />

as a father helping his son to make up their mind about his future. The Holy Spirit is not<br />

overcoming a hostile crying <strong>and</strong> yelling child to salvation, but as lovingly guiding <strong>and</strong><br />

assisting the person’s natural faculties to respond to God. Holy Spirit is persuasive not<br />

compulsive. Man can resist <strong>and</strong> prevent the Grace of God from providing help.<br />

<strong>Arminianism</strong><br />

was formally presented as a theological statement<br />

submitted by 45 ministers to the Dutch government.<br />

A Synod of Dort (1618-1619)<br />

was called <strong>and</strong> five Articles of Remonstrance were considered that stated the following:<br />

1. Conditional Election:<br />

“Salvation (<strong>and</strong> condemnation on the day of judgment) was conditioned by the<br />

graciously-enabled faith (or unbelief) of man;”<br />

(See: John 1:7; John 12:32, Acts 17:30-31; Romans 5:18; 2 Corinthians 4:1-7; 2 Peter<br />

3:9)<br />

2. Atonement for All<br />

“The Atonement is qualitatively adequate for all men,<br />

“yet that no one actually enjoys [experiences] this forgiveness of sins, except the<br />

believer …” <strong>and</strong> thus is limited to only those who trust in Christ;”<br />

(See: Joshua 24:14-25; John 3:16; Romans 3:19-Romans 5; Galatians 3:6-26;<br />

Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 Timothy 4:10)<br />

3. Saving Grace:Total Depravity<br />

“’That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will,’ <strong>and</strong><br />

unaided by the Holy Spirit, no person is able to respond to God’s will;”<br />

(See: Psalms 73:25-28; Isaiah 12:1-4; Isaiah 29:13; John 6:44-45; John 12:32; Romans<br />

10:17; Hebrews 10:38-39)<br />

4. Resistable Grace:<br />

“The (Christian) grace ‘of God is the beginning, continuance, <strong>and</strong> accomplishment of<br />

any good,’ yet man may resist the Holy Spirit; <strong>and</strong>”<br />

(See: Matthew 12:30-32; Romans 13:1-2; ; 1 Corinthians 13: Ephesians 4:30; 2<br />

Timothy 3:8; 1 Thessalonian 5:19)<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

5. Assurance in Christ: Conditional Security<br />

“Believers are able to resist sin through grace, <strong>and</strong> Christ will keep them from falling;<br />

but whether they are beyond the possibility of ultimately forsaking God or ‘becoming<br />

devoid of grace … must be more particularly determined from the Scriptures.’”<br />

The Synod of Dort was held in 1618-1619 on the issues raised by Arminius among the<br />

reformers.<br />

The decision reached was against those proposed by the remonstrants.<br />

continued to be held by many denominations over <strong>Calvinism</strong><br />

But <strong>Arminianism</strong><br />

<strong>Arminianism</strong> may be represented by the acronym<br />

FACTS:<br />

Freed by Grace (to Believe)<br />

Atonement for All<br />

Conditional Election<br />

Total Depravity<br />

Security in Christ<br />

These points broadly <strong>and</strong> roughly correspond to the historic Articles of Remonstrance<br />

(though they are not specifically a representation of them), which were composed in July<br />

1610 by early Arminians <strong>and</strong> constitute the first formal summary of Arminian theology.<br />

Article numbers have been indicated for each point for convenient comparison. The points<br />

are presented here by logical order rather than acronym order to facilitate explanation<br />

most helpfully.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Conditional Election (Article 1)<br />

• God has sovereignly decided to choose only those who have faith in His Son, Jesus<br />

Christ, for salvation <strong>and</strong> his eternal blessing.<br />

• God has foreknown from eternity which individuals would believe in Christ.<br />

• Among Arminians, there are two different views of election conditioned on faith:<br />

1. Individual election: The classic view in which God individually chose each<br />

believer based upon His foreknowledge of each one’s faith <strong>and</strong> so predestined<br />

each to eternal life<br />

2. Corporate election: Election to salvation is primarily of the Church as a people<br />

<strong>and</strong> embraces individuals only in faith-union with Christ the Chosen One <strong>and</strong> as<br />

members of his people. Since the election of the individual derives from the<br />

election of Christ <strong>and</strong> the corporate people of God, individuals become elect<br />

when they believe <strong>and</strong> remain elect only as long as they believe.<br />

(For more on corporate election, see here.)<br />

Atonement for All (Article 2)<br />

• God loves the world <strong>and</strong> desires all people to be saved <strong>and</strong> to come to the knowledge<br />

of the truth.<br />

• Therefore, God gave his only Son to die for the sins of the whole world so as to<br />

provide forgiveness <strong>and</strong> salvation for all people.<br />

• While God has provided for the salvation of all people by Christ’s sacrificial <strong>and</strong><br />

substitutionary death for all, the benefits of Christ’s death are received by grace<br />

through faith <strong>and</strong> are only effective for those who believe.<br />

Total Depravity (Article 3)<br />

• Humanity was created in the image of God, good <strong>and</strong> upright, but fell from its<br />

original sinless state through willful disobedience, leaving humanity sinful, separated<br />

from God, <strong>and</strong> under the sentence of divine condemnation.<br />

• Total depravity does not mean that human beings are as bad as they could be, but<br />

that sin impacts every part of a person’s being <strong>and</strong> that people now have a sinful<br />

nature with a natural inclination toward sin, making every human being<br />

fundamentally corrupt at heart.<br />

• Therefore, human beings are not able to think, will, nor do anything good in <strong>and</strong> of<br />

themselves, including merit favor from God, save ourselves from the judgment <strong>and</strong><br />

condemnation of God that we deserve for our sin, or even believe the gospel.<br />

• If anyone is to be saved, God must take the initiative.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Freed by Grace {to Believe} (Article 4)<br />

• Because of Total Depravity <strong>and</strong> Atonement for All (as described above), God calls all<br />

people everywhere to repent <strong>and</strong> believe the gospel, <strong>and</strong> graciously enables those<br />

who hear the gospel to respond to it positively in faith.<br />

• God regenerates those who believe in Christ (faith logically precedes regeneration).<br />

• God’s saving grace is resistible, which is to say that he dispenses his calling, drawing,<br />

<strong>and</strong> convicting grace (which would bring us to salvation if responded to with faith) in<br />

such a way that we may reject it. Those who hear the gospel may either accept it by<br />

grace or reject it to their own eternal destruction.<br />

• Apart from the realm of pleasing the Lord <strong>and</strong> doing spiritual good, people often<br />

have free will, which means that, with respect to an action, they can at least either<br />

do the action or refrain from doing it. People often have genuine choices <strong>and</strong> are<br />

therefore correspondingly able to make choices.<br />

• God has ultimate <strong>and</strong> absolute free will. His choice to supernaturally free the will of<br />

sinners by his grace to believe in Christ is a matter of the exercise of his own free will<br />

<strong>and</strong> sovereignty.<br />

Security in Christ (Article 5)<br />

• Since salvation comes through faith in Christ, the security of our salvation continues<br />

by faith in Christ.<br />

• Just as the Holy Spirit empowered us to believe in Christ, so he empowers us to<br />

continue believing in Christ.<br />

• God protects our faith relationship with him from any outside force irresistibly<br />

snatching us away from Christ or our faith, <strong>and</strong> he preserves us in salvation as long as<br />

we trust in Christ.<br />

• Arminians have differing views of whether Scripture teaches that believers can<br />

forsake faith in Christ <strong>and</strong> so perish (the traditional view, held by most Arminians), or<br />

whether God irresistibly keeps believers from forsaking their faith <strong>and</strong> therefore<br />

entering into eternal condemnation (as unbelievers).<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

The Works of James Arminius - Vol. 1<br />

A Declaration of the Sentiments of Arminius<br />

ON Predestination, Divine Providence, the freedom of the will, the grace of God, the<br />

Divinity of the Son of God, <strong>and</strong> the justification of man before God.<br />


The first <strong>and</strong> most important article in religion on which I have to offer my views, <strong>and</strong> which<br />

for many years past has engaged my attention, is the Predestination of God, that is, the<br />

Election of men to salvation, <strong>and</strong> the Reprobation of them to destruction. Commencing<br />

with this article, I will first explain what is taught concerning it, both in discourses <strong>and</strong><br />

writings, by certain persons in our Churches, <strong>and</strong> in the University of Leyden. I will<br />

afterwards declare my own views <strong>and</strong> thoughts on the same subject, while I shew my<br />

opinion on what they advance.<br />

On this article there is no uniform <strong>and</strong> simple opinion among the teachers of our Churches;<br />

but there is some variation in certain parts of it in which they differ from each other.<br />

1. The first opinion, which I reject, but which is espoused by those [Supralapsarians] who<br />

assume the very highest ground of this is Predestination.<br />

The opinion of those who take the highest ground on this point, as it is generally contained<br />

in their writings, is to this effect:<br />

"(1). God by an eternal <strong>and</strong> immutable decree has predestinated, from among men, (whom<br />

he did not consider as being then created, much less as being fallen,) certain individuals to<br />

everlasting life, <strong>and</strong> others to eternal destruction, without any regard whatever to<br />

righteousness or sin, to obedience or disobedience, but purely of his own good pleasure, to<br />

demonstrate the glory of his justice <strong>and</strong> mercy; or, (as others assert,) to demonstrate his<br />

saving grace, wisdom <strong>and</strong> free uncontrollable power.<br />

"2. In addition to this decree, God has pre-ordained certain determinate means which<br />

pertain to its execution, <strong>and</strong> this by an eternal <strong>and</strong> immutable decree. These means<br />

necessarily follow by virtue of the preceding decree, <strong>and</strong> necessarily bring him who has<br />

been predestinated, to the end which has been fore-ordained for him. Some of these<br />

means belong in common both to the decree of election <strong>and</strong> that of rejection, <strong>and</strong> others of<br />

them are specially restricted to the one decree or to the other.<br />

"3. The means common to both the decrees, are three: the first is, the creation of man in<br />

the upright [or erect] state of original righteousness, or after the image <strong>and</strong> likeness of God<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

in righteousness <strong>and</strong> true holiness. The second is, the permission of the fall of Adam, or the<br />

ordination of God that man should sin, <strong>and</strong> become corrupt or vitiated. The third is, the loss<br />

or the removal of original righteousness <strong>and</strong> of the image of God, <strong>and</strong> a being concluded<br />

under sin <strong>and</strong> condemnation.<br />

"4. For unless God had created some men, he would not have had any upon whom he<br />

might either bestow eternal life, or superinduce everlasting death. Unless he had created<br />

them in righteousness <strong>and</strong> true holiness, he would himself have been the author of sin, <strong>and</strong><br />

would by this means have possessed no right either to punish them to the praise of his<br />

justice, or to save them to the praise of his mercy. Unless they had themselves sinned, <strong>and</strong><br />

by the demerit of sin had rendered themselves guilty of death, there would have been no<br />

room for the demonstration either of justice or of mercy.<br />

"5. The means pre-ordained for the execution of the decree of election, are also these three.<br />

The first is, the pre-ordination, or the giving of Jesus Christ as a Mediator <strong>and</strong> a Savior, who<br />

might by his meet deserve, [or purchase,] for all the elect <strong>and</strong> for them only, the lost<br />

righteousness <strong>and</strong> life, <strong>and</strong> might communicate them by his own power [Or virtue]. The<br />

second is, the call [or vocation] to faith outwardly by the word, but inwardly by his Spirit, in<br />

the mind, affections <strong>and</strong> will; by an operation of such efficacy that the elect person of<br />

necessity yields assent <strong>and</strong> obedience to the vocation, in so much that it is not possible for<br />

him to do otherwise than believe <strong>and</strong> be obedient to this vocation. From hence arise<br />

justification <strong>and</strong> sanctification through the blood of Christ <strong>and</strong> his Spirit, <strong>and</strong> from them the<br />

existence of all good works. And all that, manifestly by means of the same force <strong>and</strong><br />

necessity. The third is, that which keeps <strong>and</strong> preserves the elect in faith, holiness, <strong>and</strong> a zeal<br />

for good works; or, it is the gift of perseverance; the virtue of which is such, that believing<br />

<strong>and</strong> elect persons not only do not sin with a full <strong>and</strong> entire will, or do not fall away totally<br />

from faith <strong>and</strong> grace, but it likewise is neither possible for them to sin with a full <strong>and</strong><br />

perfect will, nor to fall away totally or finally from faith <strong>and</strong> grace.<br />

"6. The two last of these means [vocation <strong>and</strong> perseverance,] belong only to the elect who<br />

are of adult age. But God employs a shorter way to salvation, by which he conducts those<br />

children of believers <strong>and</strong> saints who depart out of this life before they arrive at years of<br />

maturity; that is, provided they belong to the number of the elect, (who are known to God<br />

alone,) for God bestows on them Christ as their Savior, <strong>and</strong> gives them to Christ, to save<br />

them by his blood <strong>and</strong> Holy Spirit, without actual faith <strong>and</strong> perseverance in it [faith]; <strong>and</strong><br />

this he does according to the promise of the covenant of grace, I will be a God unto you,<br />

<strong>and</strong> unto your seed after you.<br />

"7. The means pertaining to the execution of the decree of reprobation to eternal death,<br />

are partly such as peculiarly belong to all those who are rejected <strong>and</strong> reprobate, whether<br />

they ever arrive at years of maturity or die before that period; <strong>and</strong> they are partly such as<br />

are proper only to some of them. The mean that is common to all the reprobate, is<br />

desertion in sin, by denying to them that saving grace which is sufficient <strong>and</strong> necessary to<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

the salvation of any one. This negation [or denial,] consists of two parts. For, in the first<br />

place, God did not will that Christ should die for them [the reprobate,] or become their<br />

Savior, <strong>and</strong> this neither in reference to the antecedent will of God, (as some persons call it,)<br />

nor in reference to his sufficient will, or the value of the price of reconciliation; because this<br />

price was not offered for reprobates, either with respect to the decree of God, or its virtue<br />

<strong>and</strong> efficacy.<br />

(1.) But the other part of this negation [or denial] is, that God is unwilling to communicate<br />

the Spirit of Christ to reprobates, yet without such communication they can neither be<br />

made partakers of Christ nor of his benefits.<br />

"8. The mean which belongs properly only to some of the reprobates, is obduration, [or the<br />

act of hardening,] which befalls those of them who have attained to years of maturity,<br />

either because they have very frequently <strong>and</strong> enormously sinned against the law of God, or<br />

because they have rejected the grace of the gospel.<br />

(1.) To the execution of the first species of induration, or hardening, belong the illumination<br />

of their conscience by means of knowledge, <strong>and</strong> its conviction of the righteousness of the<br />

law. For it is impossible that this law should not necessarily detain them in unrighteousness,<br />

to render them inexcusable.<br />

(2.) For the execution of the second species of induration, God employs a call by the<br />

preaching of his gospel, which call is inefficacious <strong>and</strong> insufficient both in respect to the<br />

decree of God, <strong>and</strong> to its issue or event. This calling is either only an external one, which it<br />

is neither in their desire nor in their power to obey. Or it is likewise an internal one, by<br />

which some of them may be excited in their underst<strong>and</strong>ings to accept <strong>and</strong> believe the<br />

things which they hear; but yet it is only with such a faith as that with which the devils are<br />

endowed when they believe <strong>and</strong> tremble. Others of them are excited <strong>and</strong> conducted still<br />

further, so as to desire in a certain measure to taste the heavenly gift. But the latter are, of<br />

all others, the most unhappy, because they are raised up on high, that they may be brought<br />

down with a heavier fall. And this fate it is impossible for them to escape, for they must of<br />

necessity return to their vomit, <strong>and</strong> depart or fall away from the faith.<br />

"9. From this decree of Divine election <strong>and</strong> reprobation, <strong>and</strong> from this administration of the<br />

means which pertain to the execution of both of them, it follows, that the elect are<br />

necessarily saved, it being impossible for them to perish — <strong>and</strong> that the reprobate are<br />

necessarily damned, it being impossible for them to be saved; <strong>and</strong> all this from the absolute<br />

purpose [or determination] of God, which is altogether antecedent to all things, <strong>and</strong> to all<br />

those causes which are either in things themselves or can possibly result from them."<br />

These opinions concerning predestination are considered, by some of those who advocate<br />

them, to be the foundation of Christianity, salvation <strong>and</strong> of its certainty. On these<br />

sentiments they suppose, "is founded the sure <strong>and</strong> undoubted consolation of all believers,<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

which is capable of rendering their consciences tranquil; <strong>and</strong> on them also depends the<br />

praise of the grace of God, so that if any contradiction be offered to this doctrine, God is<br />

necessarily deprived of the glory of his grace, <strong>and</strong> then the merit of salvation is attributed<br />

to the free will of man <strong>and</strong> to his own powers <strong>and</strong> strength, which ascription savors of<br />

Pelagianism."<br />

These then are the causes which are offered why the advocates of these sentiments labor<br />

with a common anxiety to retain the purity of such a doctrine in their churches <strong>and</strong> why<br />

they oppose themselves to all those innovations which are at variance with them.<br />


But, for my own part, to speak my sentiments with freedom, <strong>and</strong> yet with a salvo in favor of<br />

a better judgment, I am of opinion, that this doctrine of theirs contains many things that<br />

are both false <strong>and</strong> impertinent, <strong>and</strong> at an utter disagreement with each other; all the<br />

instances of which, the present time will not permit me to recount, but I will subject it to an<br />

examination only in those parts which are most prominent <strong>and</strong> extensive. I shall, therefore,<br />

propose to myself four principal heads, which are of the greatest importance in this<br />

doctrine; <strong>and</strong> when I have in the first place explained of what kind they are, I will<br />

afterwards declare more fully the judgment <strong>and</strong> sentiments which I have formed<br />

concerning them. They are the following:<br />

"1. That God has absolutely <strong>and</strong> precisely decreed to save certain particular men by his<br />

mercy or grace, but to condemn others by his justice: <strong>and</strong> to do all this without having any<br />

regard in such decree to righteousness or sin, obedience or disobedience, which could<br />

possibly exist on the part of one class of men or of the other.<br />

"2. That, for the execution of the preceding decree, God determined to create Adam, <strong>and</strong><br />

all men in him, in an upright state of original righteousness; besides which he also ordained<br />

them to commit sin, that they might thus become guilty of eternal condemnation <strong>and</strong> be<br />

deprived of original righteousness.<br />

"3. That those persons whom God has thus positively willed to save, he has decreed not<br />

only to salvation but also to the means which pertain to it; (that is, to conduct <strong>and</strong> bring<br />

them to faith in Christ Jesus, <strong>and</strong> to perseverance in that faith ;) <strong>and</strong> that He also in reality<br />

leads them to these results by a grace <strong>and</strong> power that are irresistible, so that it is not<br />

possible for them to do otherwise than believe, persevere in faith, <strong>and</strong> be saved.<br />

"4. That to those whom, by his absolute will, God has fore-ordained to perdition, he has<br />

also decreed to deny that grace which is necessary <strong>and</strong> sufficient for salvation, <strong>and</strong> does not<br />

in reality confer it upon them; so that they are neither placed in a possible condition nor in<br />

any capacity of believing or of being saved."<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

After a diligent contemplation <strong>and</strong> examination of these four heads, in the fear of the Lord,<br />

I make the following declaration respecting this doctrine of predestination.<br />


I. Because it is not the foundation of Christianity, of Salvation, or of its certainty.<br />

1. It is not the foundation of Christianity:<br />

(1.) For this Predestination is not that decree of God by which Christ is appointed by God to<br />

be the Savior, the Head, <strong>and</strong> the Foundation of those who will be made heirs of salvation.<br />

Yet that decree is the only foundation of Christianity.<br />

(2.) For the doctrine of this Predestination is not that doctrine by which, through faith, we<br />

as lively stones are built up into Christ, the only corner stone, <strong>and</strong> are inserted into him as<br />

the members of the body are joined to their head.<br />

2. It is not the foundation of Salvation:<br />

(1.) For this Predestination is not that decree of the good pleasure of God in Christ Jesus on<br />

which alone our salvation rests <strong>and</strong> depends.<br />

(2.) The doctrine of this Predestination is not the foundation of Salvation: for it is not "the<br />

power of God to salvation to every one that believeth :" because through it "the<br />

righteousness of God" is not "revealed from faith to faith."<br />

3. Nor is it the foundation of the certainty of salvation: For that is dependent upon this<br />

decree, "they who believe, shall be saved :" I believe, therefore, I shall be saved. But the<br />

doctrine of this Predestination embraces within itself neither the first nor the second<br />

member of the syllogism.<br />

This is likewise confessed by some persons in these words: "we do not wish to state that<br />

the knowledge of this [Predestination] is the foundation of Christianity or of salvation, or<br />

that it is necessary to salvation in the same manner as the doctrine of the Gospel," etc.<br />

II. This doctrine of Predestination comprises within it neither the whole nor any part of the<br />

Gospel. For, according to the tenor of the discourses delivered by John <strong>and</strong> Christ, as they<br />

are described to us by the Evangelist, <strong>and</strong> according to the doctrine of the Apostles <strong>and</strong><br />

Christ after his ascension, the Gospel consists partly of an injunction to repent <strong>and</strong> believe,<br />

<strong>and</strong> partly of a promise to bestow forgiveness of sins, the grace of the Spirit, <strong>and</strong> life eternal.<br />

But this Predestination belongs neither to the injunction to repent <strong>and</strong> believe, nor to the<br />

annexed promise. Nay, this doctrine does not even teach what kind of men in general God<br />

has predestinated, which is properly the doctrine of the Gospel; but it embraces within<br />

itself a certain mystery, which is known only to God, who is the Predestinater, <strong>and</strong> in which<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

mystery are comprehended what particular persons <strong>and</strong> how many he has decreed to save<br />

<strong>and</strong> to condemn. From these premises I draw a further conclusion, that this doctrine of<br />

Predestination is not necessary to salvation, either as an object of knowledge, belief, hope,<br />

or performance. A Confession to this effect has been made by a certain learned man, in the<br />

theses which he has proposed for discussion on this subject, in the following words:<br />

"Wherefore the gospel cannot be simply termed the book or the revelation of<br />

Predestination, but only in a relative sense. Because it does not absolutely denote either<br />

the matter of the number or the form; that is, it neither declares how many persons in<br />

particular, nor (with a few exceptions,) who they are, but only the description of them in<br />

general, whom God has predestinated."<br />

III. This doctrine was never admitted, decreed, or approved in any Council, either general or<br />

particular, for the first six hundred years after Christ.<br />

1. Not in the General Council of Nice, in which sentence was given against Arius <strong>and</strong> in favor<br />

of the Deity <strong>and</strong> Consubstantiality of the Son of God. Not in the first Council of<br />

Constantinople, in which a decree was passed against Macedonius, respecting the Deity of<br />

the Holy Spirit. Not in the Council of Ephesus, which determined against Nestorius, <strong>and</strong> in<br />

favor of the Unity of the Person of the Son of God. Not in that of Chalcedon, which<br />

condemned Eutyches, <strong>and</strong> determined, "that in one <strong>and</strong> the same person of our Lord Jesus<br />

Christ, there were two distinct natures, which differ from each other in their essence." Not<br />

in the second Council of Constantinople, in which Peter, Bishop of Antioch, <strong>and</strong> Anthymus,<br />

Bishop of Constantinople, with certain other persons, were condemned for having asserted<br />

"that the Father had likewise suffered," as well as the Son. Nor in the third Council of<br />

Constantinople, in which the Monothelites were condemned for having asserted "that<br />

there was only one will <strong>and</strong> operation in Jesus Christ."<br />

2. But this doctrine was not discussed or confirmed in particular Councils, such as that of<br />

Jerusalem, Orange, or even that of Mela in Africa, which was held against Pelagius <strong>and</strong> his<br />

errors, as is apparent from the articles of doctrine which were then decreed both against<br />

his person <strong>and</strong> his false opinions.<br />

But so far was Augustine’s doctrine of Predestination from being received in those councils,<br />

that when Celestinus, the Bishop of Rome, who was his contemporary, wrote to the Bishops<br />

of France, <strong>and</strong> condemned the doctrines of the Pelagians, he concluded his epistle in these<br />

words: "but as we dare not despise, so neither do we deem it necessary to defend the more<br />

profound <strong>and</strong> difficult parts of the questions which occur in this controversy, <strong>and</strong> which<br />

have been treated to a very great extent by those who opposed the heretics. Because we<br />

believe, that whatever the writings according to the forementioned rules of the Apostolic<br />

See have taught us, is amply sufficient for confessing the grace of God, from whose work,<br />

credit <strong>and</strong> authority not a little must be subtracted or withdrawn," etc. In reference to the<br />

rules which were laid down by Celestinus in that epistle, <strong>and</strong> which had been decreed in the<br />

three preceding particular Councils, we shall experience no difficulty in agreeing together<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

about them, especially in regard to those matters which are necessary to the establishment<br />

of grace in opposition to Pelagius <strong>and</strong> his errors.<br />

IV. None of those Doctors or Divines of the Church who held correct <strong>and</strong> orthodox<br />

sentiments for the first six hundred years after the birth of Christ, ever brought this<br />

doctrine forward or gave it their approval. Neither was it professed <strong>and</strong> approved by a<br />

single individual of those who shewed themselves the principal <strong>and</strong> keenest defenders of<br />

grace against Pelagius. Of this description, it is evident, were St. Jerome, Augustine, the<br />

author of the treatise entitled, De Vocatione Gentium, ["The calling of the Gentiles,"]<br />

Prosper of Aquitaine, Hilary, Fulgentius, <strong>and</strong> Orosius. This is very apparent from their<br />

writings.<br />

V. It neither agrees nor corresponds with the Harmony of those confessions which were<br />

printed <strong>and</strong> published together in one volume at Geneva, in the name of the Reformed <strong>and</strong><br />

Protestant Churches. If that harmony of Confessions be faithfully consulted, it will appear<br />

that many of them do not speak in the same manner concerning Predestination; that some<br />

of them only incidentally mention it; <strong>and</strong> that they evidently never once touch upon those<br />

heads of the doctrine, which are now in great repute <strong>and</strong> particularly urged in the<br />

preceding scheme of Predestination, <strong>and</strong> which I have already adduced. Nor does any single<br />

Confession deliver this doctrine in the same manner as it has just now been propounded by<br />

me. The Confessions of Bohemia, Engl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> Wirtemburgh, <strong>and</strong> the first Helvetian [Swiss]<br />

Confession, <strong>and</strong> that of the four cities of Strasburgh, Constance, Memmingen, <strong>and</strong> Lindau,<br />

make no mention of this Predestination. Those of Basle <strong>and</strong> Saxony, only take a very<br />

cursory notice of it in three words. The Augustan Confession speaks of it in such a manner<br />

as to induce the Genevan editors to think, that some annotation was necessary on their<br />

part, to give us a previous warning. The last of the Helvetian [Swiss] Confessions, to which a<br />

great portion of the Reformed Churches have expressed their assent <strong>and</strong> which they have<br />

subscribed, likewise speaks of it in such a strain as makes me very desirous to see what<br />

method can possibly be adopted to give it any accordance with that doctrine of<br />

Predestination which I have just now advanced. Yet this [Swiss] Confession is that which has<br />

obtained the approbation of the Churches of Geneva <strong>and</strong> Savoy.<br />

VI. Without the least contention or caviling, it may very properly be made a question of<br />

doubt, whether this doctrine agrees with the Belgic Confession <strong>and</strong> the Heidelberg<br />

Catechism; as I shall briefly demonstrate.<br />

1. In the 14th Article of the Dutch Confession, these expression occur: "Man knowingly <strong>and</strong><br />

willingly subjected himself to sin, <strong>and</strong>, consequently, to death <strong>and</strong> cursing, while he lent an<br />

ear to the deceiving words <strong>and</strong> impostures of the devil," etc. From this sentence I conclude,<br />

that man did not sin on account of any necessity through a preceding decree of<br />

Predestination: which inference is diametrically opposed to that doctrine of Predestination<br />

against which I now contend. Then, in the 16th Article, which treats of the eternal election<br />

of God, these words are contained: "God shewed himself Merciful, by delivering from<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

damnation, <strong>and</strong> by saving, those persons whom, in his eternal <strong>and</strong> immutable counsel <strong>and</strong><br />

cording to his gratuitous goodness, he chose in Christ Jesus our Lord, without any regard to<br />

their works. And he shewed himself just, in leaving others in that their fall <strong>and</strong> perdition<br />

into which they had precipitated themselves." It is not obvious to me, how these words are<br />

consistent with this doctrine of Predestination.<br />

2. In the 20th question of the Heidelberg Catechism, we read: "salvation through Christ is<br />

not given [restored] to all them who had perished in Adam, but to those only who are<br />

engrafted into Christ by the faith, <strong>and</strong> who embrace his benefits." From this sentence I infer,<br />

that God has not absolutely Predestinated any men to salvation; but that he has in his<br />

decree considered [or looked upon] them as believers. This deduction is at open conflict<br />

with the first <strong>and</strong> third points of this Predestination. In the 54th question of the same<br />

Catechism, it is said: "I believe that, from the beginning to the end of the world, the Son of<br />

God out of the entire race of mankind doth by his word <strong>and</strong> Spirit gather or collect unto<br />

himself a company chosen unto eternal life <strong>and</strong> agreeing together in the true faith." In this<br />

sentence "election to eternal life," <strong>and</strong> "agreement in the faith," st<strong>and</strong> in mutual<br />

juxtaposition; <strong>and</strong> in such a manner, that the latter is not rendered subordinate to the<br />

former, which, according to these sentiments on Predestination ought to have been done.<br />

In that case the words should have been placed in the following order: "the son of God calls<br />

<strong>and</strong> gathers to himself, by his word <strong>and</strong> Spirit, a company chosen to eternal life, that they<br />

may believe <strong>and</strong> agree together in the true faith."<br />

Since such are the statements of our Confession <strong>and</strong> Catechism, no reason whatever exists,<br />

why those who embrace <strong>and</strong> defend these sentiments on Predestination, should either<br />

violently endeavor to obtrude them on their colleagues <strong>and</strong> on the Church of Christ; or why<br />

they should take it amiss, <strong>and</strong> put the worst construction upon it, when any thing is taught<br />

in the Church or University that is not exactly accordant with their doctrine, or that is<br />

opposed to it.<br />

VII. I affirm, that this doctrine is repugnant to the Nature of God, but particularly to those<br />

Attributes of his nature by which he performs <strong>and</strong> manages all things, his wisdom, justice,<br />

<strong>and</strong> goodness.<br />

1. It is repugnant to his wisdom in three ways.<br />

(1.) Because it represents God as decreeing something for a particular end [or purpose]<br />

which neither is nor can be good: which is, that God created something for eternal<br />

perdition to the praise of his justice.<br />

(2.) Because it states, that the object which God proposed to himself by this Predestination,<br />

was, to demonstrate the glory of his mercy <strong>and</strong> justice: But this glory he cannot<br />

demonstrate, except by an act that is contrary at once to his mercy <strong>and</strong> his justice, of which<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

description is that decree of God in which he determined that man should sin <strong>and</strong> be<br />

rendered miserable.<br />

(3.) Because it changes <strong>and</strong> inverts the order of the two-fold wisdom of God, as it is<br />

displayed to us in the Scriptures. For it asserts, that God has absolutely predetermined to<br />

save men by the mercy <strong>and</strong> wisdom that are comprehended in the doctrine of the cross of<br />

Christ, without having foreseen this circumstance, that it was impossible for man (<strong>and</strong> that,<br />

truly, through his own fault,) to be saved by the wisdom which was revealed in the law <strong>and</strong><br />

which was infused into him at the period of his creation: When the scripture asserts, on the<br />

contrary, that "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe;"<br />

that is,<br />

"by the doctrine of the cross, after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew<br />

not God." (1 Corinthians 1:21.)<br />

2. It is repugnant to the justice of God, not only in reference to that attribute denoting in<br />

God a love of righteousness <strong>and</strong> a hatred of iniquity, but also in reference to its being a<br />

perpetual <strong>and</strong> constant desire in him to render to every one that which is his due.<br />

(1.) It is at variance with the first of these ideas of justice in the following manner: Because<br />

it affirms, that God has absolutely willed to save certain individual men, <strong>and</strong> has decreed<br />

their salvation without having the least regard to righteousness or obedience: The proper<br />

inference from which, is, that God loves such men far more than his own justice [or<br />

righteousness.]<br />

(2.) It is opposed to the second idea of his justice: Because it affirms, that God wishes to<br />

subject his creature to misery, (which cannot possibly have any existence except as the<br />

punishment of sin,) although, at the same time, he does not look upon [or consider] the<br />

creature as a sinner, <strong>and</strong> therefore as not obnoxious either to wrath or to punishment. This<br />

is the manner in which it lays down the position, that God has willed to give to the creature<br />

not only something which does not belong to it, but which is connected with its greatest<br />

injury. Which is another act directly opposed to his justice. In accordance, therefore, with<br />

this doctrine, God, in the first place, detracts from himself that which is his own, [or his<br />

right,] <strong>and</strong> then imparts to the creature what does not belong to it, to its great misery <strong>and</strong><br />

unhappiness.<br />

3. It is also repugnant to the Goodness of God. Goodness is an affection [or disposition] in<br />

God to communicate his own good so far as his justice considers <strong>and</strong> admits to be fitting<br />

<strong>and</strong> proper. But in this doctrine the following act is attributed to God, that, of himself, <strong>and</strong><br />

induced to it by nothing external, he wills the greatest evil to his creatures; <strong>and</strong> that from<br />

all eternity he has pre-ordained that evil for them, or pre-determined to impart it to them,<br />

even before he resolved to bestow upon them any portion of good. For this doctrine states,<br />

that God willed to damn; <strong>and</strong>, that he might be able to do this, be willed to create; although<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

creation is the first egress [or going forth] of God’s goodness towards his creatures. How<br />

vastly different are such statements as these from that expansive goodness of God by<br />

which he confers benefits not only on the unworthy, but also on the evil, the unjust <strong>and</strong> on<br />

those who are deserving of punishment, which trait of Divine beneficence in our Father<br />

who is in heaven, we are comm<strong>and</strong>ed to imitate. (Matthew 5:45.)<br />

VIII. Such a doctrine of Predestination is contrary to the nature of man, in regard to his<br />

having been created after the Divine image in the knowledge of God <strong>and</strong> in righteousness,<br />

in regard to his having been created with freedom of will, <strong>and</strong> in regard to his having been<br />

created with a disposition <strong>and</strong> aptitude for the enjoyment of life eternal. These three<br />

circumstance, respecting him, may be deduced from the following brief expressions: "Do<br />

this, <strong>and</strong> live :" (Romans 10:5 .) "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."<br />

(Genesis 2:17.) If man be deprived of any of these qualifications, such admonitions as these<br />

cannot possibly be effective in exciting him to obedience.<br />

1. This doctrine is inconsistent with the Divine image, which consists of the knowledge of<br />

God <strong>and</strong> holiness. For according to this knowledge <strong>and</strong> righteousness man was qualified<br />

<strong>and</strong> empowered, he was also laid under an obligation to know God, to love, worship, <strong>and</strong><br />

serve him. But by the intervention, or rather by the prevention, of this Predestination, it<br />

was pre-ordained that man should be formed vicious <strong>and</strong> should commit sin, that is, that he<br />

should neither know God, love, worship, nor serve him; <strong>and</strong> that he should not perform<br />

that which by the image of God, he was well qualified <strong>and</strong> empowered to do, <strong>and</strong> which he<br />

was bound to perform. This is tantamount to such a declaration as the following, which any<br />

one might make: "God did undoubtedly create man after his own image, in righteousness<br />

<strong>and</strong> true holiness; but, notwithst<strong>and</strong>ing this, he fore-ordained <strong>and</strong> decreed, that man<br />

should become impure <strong>and</strong> unrighteous, that is, should be made conformable to the image<br />

of Satan."<br />

2. This doctrine is inconsistent with the freedom of the will, in which <strong>and</strong> with which man<br />

was created by God. For it prevents the exercise of this liberty, by binding or determining<br />

the will absolutely to one object, that is, to do this thing precisely, or to do that. God,<br />

therefore, according to this statement, may be blamed for the one or the other of these<br />

two things, (with which let no man charge his Maker!) either for creating man with freedom<br />

of will, or for hindering him in the use of his own liberty after he had formed him a free<br />

agent. In the former of these two cases, God is chargeable with a want of consideration, in<br />

the latter with mutability. And in both, with being injurious to man as well as to himself.<br />

3. This Predestination is prejudicial to man in regard to the inclination <strong>and</strong> capacity for the<br />

eternal fruition of salvation, with which he was endowed at the period of his creation. For,<br />

since by this Predestination it has been pre-determined, that the greater part of mankind<br />

shall not be made partakers of salvation, but shall fall into everlasting condemnation, <strong>and</strong><br />

since this predetermination took place even before the decree had passed for creating man,<br />

such persons are deprived of something, for the desire of which they have been endowed<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

by God with a natural inclination. This great privation they suffer, not in consequence of<br />

any preceding sin or demerit of their own, but simply <strong>and</strong> solely through this sort of<br />

Predestination.<br />

IX. This Predestination is diametrically opposed to the Act of Creation.<br />

1. For creation is a communication of good according to the intrinsic property of its nature.<br />

But, creation of this description, whose intent or design is, to make a way through itself by<br />

which the reprobation that had been previously determined may obtain its object, is not a<br />

communication of good. For we ought to form our estimate <strong>and</strong> judgment of every good,<br />

from the mind <strong>and</strong> intention of Him who is the Donor, <strong>and</strong> from the end to which or on<br />

account of which it is bestowed. In the present instance, the intention of the Donor would<br />

have been, to condemn, which is an act that could not possibly affect any one except a<br />

creature; <strong>and</strong> the end or event of creation would have been the eternal perdition of the<br />

creature. In that case creation would not have been a communication of any good, but a<br />

preparation for the greatest evil both according to the very intention of the Creator <strong>and</strong> the<br />

actual issue of the matter; <strong>and</strong> according to the words of Christ, "it had seen good for that<br />

man, if he had never been born!" (Matthew 26:24.)<br />

2. Reprobation is an act of hatred, <strong>and</strong> from hatred derives its origin. But creation does not<br />

proceed from hatred; it is not therefore a way or means, which belongs to the execution of<br />

the decree of reprobation.<br />

3. Creation is a perfect act of God, by which he has manifested his wisdom, goodness <strong>and</strong><br />

omnipotence: It is not therefore subordinate to the end of any other preceding work or<br />

action of God. But it is rather to be viewed as that act of God, which necessarily precedes<br />

<strong>and</strong> is antecedent to all other acts that he can possibly either decree or undertake. Unless<br />

God had formed a previous conception of the work of creation, he could not have decreed<br />

actually to undertake any other act; <strong>and</strong> until he had executed the work of creation, he<br />

could by no means have completed any other operation.<br />

4. All the actions of God which tend to the condemnation of his creatures, are strange work<br />

or foreign to him; because God consents to them, for some other cause that is quite<br />

extraneous. But creation is not an action that is foreign to God, but it is proper to him. It is<br />

eminently an action most appropriate to Him, <strong>and</strong> to which he could be moved by no other<br />

external cause, because it is the very first of the Divine acts, <strong>and</strong>, till it was done, nothing<br />

could have any actual existence, except God himself; for every thing else that has a being,<br />

came into existence through this action.<br />

5. If creation be the way <strong>and</strong> means through which God willed the execution of the decree<br />

of his reprobation, he was more inclined to will the act of reprobation than that of creation;<br />

<strong>and</strong> he consequently derived greater satisfaction from the act of condemning certain of his<br />

innocent creatures, than in the act of their creation.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

6. Lastly. Creation cannot be a way or means of reprobation according to the absolute<br />

purpose of God: because, after the creation was completed, it was in the power of man still<br />

to have remained obedient to the divine comm<strong>and</strong>s, <strong>and</strong> not to commit sin; to render this<br />

possible, while God had on one part bestowed on him sufficient strength <strong>and</strong> power, he<br />

had also on the other placed sufficient impediments; a circumstance most diametrically<br />

opposed to a Predestination of this description.<br />

X. This doctrine is at open hostility with the Nature of Eternal Life, <strong>and</strong> the titles by which it<br />

is signally distinguished in the Scriptures. For it is called "the inheritance of the sons of<br />

God ;" (Titus 3:7,) but those alone are the sons of God, according to the doctrine of the<br />

Gospel, "who believe in the name of Jesus Christ." (John 1:12.) It is also called, "the reward<br />

of obedience," (Matthew 5:12,) <strong>and</strong> of "the labor of love;" (Hebrews 6:10,)<br />

"the recompense of those who fight the good fight <strong>and</strong> who run well, a crown of<br />

righteousness," etc. (Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.) God therefore has not, from his<br />

own absolute decree, without any consideration or regard whatever to faith <strong>and</strong> obedience,<br />

appointed to any man, or determined to appoint to him, life eternal.<br />

XI This Predestination is also opposed to the Nature of Eternal Death, <strong>and</strong> to those<br />

appellations by which it is described in Scripture. For it is called "the wages of sin; (Romans<br />

6:23,) the punishment of everlasting destruction, which shall be recompensed to them that<br />

know not God, <strong>and</strong> that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; (2 Thessalonians 1:8,<br />

9,) the everlasting fire prepared for the devil <strong>and</strong> his angels, (Matthew 25:41,) a fire which<br />

shall devour the enemies <strong>and</strong> adversaries of God." (Hebrews 10:27.) God, therefore, has<br />

not, by any absolute decree without respect to sin <strong>and</strong> disobedience, prepared eternal<br />

death for any person.<br />

XII This Predestination is inconsistent with the Nature <strong>and</strong> Properties of Sin in two ways:<br />

1. Because sin is called "disobedience" <strong>and</strong> "rebellion," neither of which terms can possibly<br />

apply to any person who by a preceding divine decree is placed under an unavoidable<br />

necessity of sinning.<br />

2. Because sin is the meritorious cause of damnation. But the meritorious cause which<br />

moves the Divine will to reprobate, is according to justice; <strong>and</strong> it induces God, who holds<br />

sin in abhorrence, to will reprobation. Sin, therefore, which is a cause, cannot be placed<br />

among the means, by which God executes the decree or will of reprobation.<br />

XIII. This doctrine is likewise repugnant to the Nature of Divine Grace, <strong>and</strong> as far as its<br />

powers permit, it effects its destruction. Under whatever specious pretenses it may be<br />

asserted, that "this kind of Predestination is most admirably adapted <strong>and</strong> quite necessary<br />

for the establishment of grace," yet it destroys it in three ways:<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

1. Because grace is so attempered <strong>and</strong> commingled with the nature of man, as not to<br />

destroy within him the liberty of his will, but to give it a right direction, to correct its<br />

depravity, <strong>and</strong> to allow man to possess his own proper notions. While, on the contrary, this<br />

Predestination introduces such a species of grace, as takes away free will <strong>and</strong> hinders its<br />

exercise.<br />

2. Because the representations of grace which the scriptures contain, are such as describe it<br />

capable of "being resisted, (Acts, 7:51,) <strong>and</strong> received in vain;" (2 Corinthians 6:1,) <strong>and</strong> that it<br />

is possible for man to avoid yielding his assent to it; <strong>and</strong> to refuse all co-operation with it.<br />

(Hebrews 12:15; Matthew 23:37; Luke 7:30.) While, on the contrary, this Predestination<br />

affirms, that grace is a certain irresistible force <strong>and</strong> operation.<br />

3. Because, according to the primary intention <strong>and</strong> chief design of God, grace conduces to<br />

the good of those persons to whom it is offered <strong>and</strong> by whom it is received: while, on the<br />

contrary, this doctrine drags along with it the assertion, that grace is offered even to certain<br />

reprobates, <strong>and</strong> is so far communicated to them as to illuminate their underst<strong>and</strong>ings <strong>and</strong><br />

to excite within them a taste for the heavenly gifts, only for this end <strong>and</strong> purpose, that, in<br />

proportion to the height to which they are elevated, the abyss into which they are<br />

precipitated may be the deeper, <strong>and</strong> their fall the heavier; <strong>and</strong> that they may both merit<br />

<strong>and</strong> receive the greater perdition.<br />

XIV. The doctrine of this Predestination is Injurious to the Glory of God, which does not<br />

consist of a declaration of liberty or authority, nor of a demonstration of anger <strong>and</strong> power,<br />

except to such an extent as that declaration <strong>and</strong> demonstration may be consistent with<br />

justice, <strong>and</strong> with a perpetual reservation in behalf of the honor of God’s goodness. But,<br />

according to this doctrine, it follows that God is the author of sin, which may be proved by<br />

four arguments:<br />

1. One of its positions is, that God has absolutely decreed to demonstrate his glory by<br />

punitive justice <strong>and</strong> mercy, in the salvation of some men, <strong>and</strong> in the damnation of others,<br />

which neither was done, nor could have possibly been done, unless sin had entered into the<br />

world.<br />

2. This doctrine affirms, that, in order to obtain his object, God ordained that man should<br />

commit sin, <strong>and</strong> be rendered vitiated; <strong>and</strong>, from this Divine ordination or appointment, the<br />

fall of man necessarily followed.<br />

3. It asserts that God has denied to man, or has withdrawn from him, such a portion of<br />

grace as is sufficient <strong>and</strong> necessary to enable him to avoid sin, <strong>and</strong> that this was done<br />

before man had sinned: which is an act that amounts to the same as if God had prescribed<br />

a law to man, which it would be utterly impossible for him to fulfill, when the nature in<br />

which he had been created was taken into consideration.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

4. It ascribes to God certain operations with regard to man, both external <strong>and</strong> internal, both<br />

mediate (by means of the intervention of other creatures) <strong>and</strong> immediate — which Divine<br />

operations being once admitted, man must necessarily commit sin, by that necessity which<br />

the schoolmen call "a consequential necessity antecedent to the thing itself," <strong>and</strong> which<br />

totally destroys the freedom of the will. Such an act does this doctrine attribute to God, <strong>and</strong><br />

represents it to proceed from his primary <strong>and</strong> chief intention, without any foreknowledge<br />

of an inclination, will, or action on the part of man.<br />

From these premises, we deduce, as a further conclusion, that God really sins. Because,<br />

according to this doctrine, he moves to sin by an act that is unavoidable, <strong>and</strong> according to<br />

his own purpose <strong>and</strong> primary intention, without having received any previous inducement<br />

to such an act from any preceding sin or demerit in man.<br />

From the same position we might also infer, that God is the only sinner. For man, who is<br />

impelled by an irresistible force to commit sin, (that is, to perpetrate some deed that has<br />

been prohibited,) cannot be said to sin himself.<br />

As a legitimate consequence it also follows, that sin is not sin, since whatever that be which<br />

God does, it neither can be sin, nor ought any of his acts to receive that appellation.<br />

Besides the instances which I have already recounted, there is another method by which<br />

this doctrine inflicts a deep wound on the honor of God — but these, it is probable, will be<br />

considered at present to be amply sufficient.<br />

XV. This doctrine is highly dishonorable to Jesus Christ our Savior. For,<br />

1. It entirely excludes him from that decree of Predestination which predestinates the end:<br />

<strong>and</strong> it affirms, that men were predestinated to be saved, before Christ was predestinated to<br />

save them; <strong>and</strong> thus it argues, that he is not the foundation of election.<br />

2. It denies, that Christ is the meritorious cause, that again obtained for us the salvation<br />

which we had lost, by placing him as only a subordinate cause of that salvation which had<br />

been already foreordained, <strong>and</strong> thus only a minister <strong>and</strong> instrument to apply that salvation<br />

unto us. This indeed is in evident congruity with the opinion which states "that God has<br />

absolutely willed the salvation of certain men, by the first <strong>and</strong> supreme decree which he<br />

passed, <strong>and</strong> on which all his other decrees depend <strong>and</strong> are consequent." If this be true, it<br />

was therefore impossible for the salvation of such men to have been lost, <strong>and</strong> therefore<br />

unnecessary for it to be repaired <strong>and</strong> in some sort regained afresh, <strong>and</strong> discovered, by the<br />

merit of Christ, who was fore-ordained a Savior for them alone.<br />

XVI. This doctrine is also hurtful to the salvation of men.<br />

1. Because it prevents that saving <strong>and</strong> godly sorrow for sins that have been committed,<br />

which cannot exist in those who have no consciousness of sin. But it is obvious, that the<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

man who has committed sin through the unavoidable necessity of the decree of God,<br />

cannot possibly have this kind of consciousness of sin. (2 Corinthians 7:10.)<br />

2. Because it removes all pious solicitude about being converted from sin unto God. For he<br />

can feel no such concern who is entirely passive <strong>and</strong> conducts himself like a dead man, with<br />

respect not only to his discernment <strong>and</strong> perception of the grace of God that is exciting <strong>and</strong><br />

assisting, but also to his assent <strong>and</strong> obedience to it; <strong>and</strong> who is converted by such an<br />

irresistible impulse, that he not only cannot avoid being sensible of the grace of God which<br />

knocks within him, but he must likewise of necessity yield his assent to it, <strong>and</strong> thus convert<br />

himself, or rather be converted. Such a person it is evident, cannot produce within his heart<br />

or conceive in his mind this solicitude, except he have previously felt the same irresistible<br />

motion. And if he should produce within his heart any such concern, it would be in vain <strong>and</strong><br />

without the least advantage. For that cannot be a true solicitude, which is not produced in<br />

the heart by any other means except by an irresistible force according to the absolute<br />

purpose <strong>and</strong> intention of God to effect his salvation. (Revelation 2:3; 3:2.)<br />

3. Because it restrains, in persons that are converted, all zeal <strong>and</strong> studious regard for good<br />

works, since it declares "that the regenerate cannot perform either more or less good than<br />

they do." For he that is actuated or impelled by saving grace, must work, <strong>and</strong> cannot<br />

discontinue his labor; but he that is not actuated by the same grace, can do nothing, <strong>and</strong><br />

finds it necessary to cease from all attempts. (Titus 3:14.)<br />

4. Because it extinguishes the zeal for prayer, which yet is an efficacious means instituted<br />

by God for asking <strong>and</strong> obtaining all kinds of blessings from him, but principally the great one<br />

of salvation. (Luke 11:1-13.) But from the circumstance of it having been before determined<br />

by an immutable <strong>and</strong> inevitable decree, that this description of men [the elect] should<br />

obtain salvation, prayer cannot on any account be a means for asking <strong>and</strong> obtaining that<br />

salvation. It can only be a mode of worshipping God; because according to the absolute<br />

decree of his Predestination he has determined that such men shall be saved.<br />

5. It takes away all that most salutary fear <strong>and</strong> trembling with which we are comm<strong>and</strong>ed to<br />

work out our own salvation. (Philippians 2:12) for it states "that he who is elected <strong>and</strong><br />

believes, cannot sin with that full <strong>and</strong> entire willingness with which sin is committed by the<br />

ungodly; <strong>and</strong> that they cannot either totally or finally fall away from faith or grace."<br />

6. Because it produces within men a despair both of performing that which their duty<br />

requires <strong>and</strong> of obtaining that towards which their desires are directed. For when they are<br />

taught that the grace of God (which is really necessary to the performance of the least<br />

portion of good) is denied to the majority of mankind, according to an absolute <strong>and</strong><br />

peremptory decree of God — — <strong>and</strong> that such grace is denied because, by a preceding<br />

decree equally absolute, God has determined not to confer salvation on them but<br />

damnation; when they are thus taught, it is scarcely possible for any other result to ensue,<br />

than that the individual who cannot even with great difficulty work a persuasion within<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

himself of his being elected, should soon consider himself included in the number of the<br />

reprobate. From such an apprehension as this, must arise a certain despair of performing<br />

righteousness <strong>and</strong> obtaining salvation.<br />

XVII. This doctrine inverts the order of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For in the Gospel God<br />

requires repentance <strong>and</strong> faith on the part of man, by promising to him life everlasting, if he<br />

consent to become a convert <strong>and</strong> a believer. (Mark 1:15; 16:16.) But it is stated in this<br />

[Supralapsarian] decree of Predestination, that it is God’s absolute will, to bestow salvation<br />

on certain particular men, <strong>and</strong> that he willed at the same time absolutely to give those very<br />

individuals repentance <strong>and</strong> faith, by means of an irresistible force, because it was his will<br />

<strong>and</strong> pleasure to save them. In the Gospel, God denounces eternal death on the impenitent<br />

<strong>and</strong> unbelieving. (John 3:36.) And those threats contribute to the purpose which he has in<br />

view, that he may by such means deter them from unbelief <strong>and</strong> thus may save them. But by<br />

this decree of Predestination it is taught, that God wills not to confer on certain individual<br />

men that grace which is necessary for conversion <strong>and</strong> faith because he has absolutely<br />

decreed their condemnation.<br />

The Gospel says,<br />

"God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son, that whosoever believeth in<br />

him should have everlasting life." (John 3:16.) But this doctrine declares; "that God so loved<br />

those whom he had absolutely elected to eternal life, as to give his son to them alone, <strong>and</strong><br />

by an irresistible force to produce within them faith on him." To embrace the whole in few<br />

words, the Gospel says, "fulfill the comm<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> thou shalt obtain the promise; believe,<br />

<strong>and</strong> thou shalt live." But this [supralapsarian] doctrine says, "since it is my will to give thee<br />

life, it is therefore my will to give thee faith:" which is a real <strong>and</strong> most manifest inversion of<br />

the Gospel.<br />

XVIII. This Predestination is in open hostility to the ministry of the Gospel.<br />

1. For if God by an irresistible power quicken him who is dead in trespasses <strong>and</strong> sins, no<br />

man can be a minister <strong>and</strong> "a laborer together with God," (1 Corinthians 3:9,) nor can the<br />

word preached by man be the instrument of grace <strong>and</strong> of the Spirit, any more than a<br />

creature could have been an instrument of grace in the first creation, or a dispenser of that<br />

grace in the resurrection of the body from the dead.<br />

2. Because by this Predestination the ministry of the gospel is made "the savor of death<br />

unto death" in the case of the majority of those who hear it, (2 Corinthians 2:14-16,) as well<br />

as an instrument of condemnation, according to the primary design <strong>and</strong> absolute intention<br />

of God, without any consideration of previous rebellion.<br />

3. Because, according to this doctrine, baptism, when administered to many reprobate<br />

children, (who yet are the offspring of parents that believe <strong>and</strong> are God’s covenant people,)<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

is evidently a seal [or ratification] of nothing, <strong>and</strong> thus becomes entirely useless, in<br />

accordance with the primary <strong>and</strong> absolute intention of God, without any fault [or culpability]<br />

on the part of the infants themselves, to whom it is administered in obedience to the Divine<br />

comm<strong>and</strong>.<br />

4. Because it hinders public prayers from being offered to God in a becoming <strong>and</strong> suitable<br />

manner, that is, with faith, <strong>and</strong> in confidence that they will be profitable to all the hearers<br />

of the word; when there are many among them, whom God is not only unwilling to save,<br />

but whom by his absolute, eternal, <strong>and</strong> immutable will, (which is antecedent to all things<br />

<strong>and</strong> causes whatever,) it is his will <strong>and</strong> pleasure to damn: In the mean time, when the<br />

apostle comm<strong>and</strong>s prayers <strong>and</strong> supplications to be made for all men, he adds this reason,<br />

"for this is good <strong>and</strong> acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be<br />

saved,<br />

<strong>and</strong> to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1-4.)<br />

5. The constitution of this doctrine is such, as very easily to render pastors <strong>and</strong> teachers<br />

slothful <strong>and</strong> negligent in the exercise of their ministry: Because, from this doctrine it<br />

appears to them as though it were impossible for all their diligence to be useful to any<br />

persons, except to those only whom God absolutely <strong>and</strong> precisely wills to save, <strong>and</strong> who<br />

cannot possibly perish; <strong>and</strong> as though all their negligence could be hurtful to none, except<br />

to those alone whom God absolutely wills to destroy, who must of necessity perish, <strong>and</strong> to<br />

whom a contrary fate is impossible.<br />

XIX. This doctrine completely subverts the foundation of religion in general, <strong>and</strong> of the<br />

Christian Religion in particular.<br />

1. The foundation of religion considered in general, is a two-fold love of God; without which<br />

there neither is nor can be any religion: The first of them is a love for righteousness [or<br />

justice] which gives existence to his hatred of sin. The second is a love for the creature who<br />

is endowed with reason, <strong>and</strong> (in the matter now before us,) it is a love for man, according<br />

to the expression of the Apostle to the Hebrews. "for he that cometh to God must believe<br />

that he is, <strong>and</strong> that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." (11:6.) God’s love of<br />

righteousness is manifested by this circumstance, that it is not his will <strong>and</strong> pleasure to<br />

bestow eternal life on any except on "those who seek him." God’s love of man consists in<br />

his being willing to give him eternal life, if he seek Him.<br />

A mutual relation subsists between these two kinds of love, which is this. The latter species<br />

of love, which extends itself to the creatures, cannot come into exercise, except so far as it<br />

is permitted by the former, [the love of righteousness]: The former love, therefore, is by far<br />

the most excellent species; but in every direction there is abundant scope for the<br />

emanations of the latter, [the love of the creature,] except where the former [the love of<br />

righteousness] has placed some impediment in the range of its exercise. The first of these<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

consequences is most evidently proved from the circumstance of God’s condemning man<br />

on account of sin, although he loves him in the relation in which he st<strong>and</strong>s as his creature;<br />

which would by no means have been done, had he loved man more than righteousness, [or<br />

justice,] <strong>and</strong> had he evinced a stronger aversion to the eternal misery of man than to his<br />

disobedience. But the second consequence is proved by this argument, that God condemns<br />

no person, except on account of sin; <strong>and</strong> that he saves such a multitude of men who turn<br />

themselves away [or are converted] from sin; which he could not do, unless it was his will<br />

to allow as abundant scope to his love for the creatures, as is permitted by righteousness<br />

[or justice] under the regulation of the Divine judgment.<br />

But this [Supralapsarian] doctrine inverts this order <strong>and</strong> mutual relation in two ways:<br />

(1.) The one is when it states, that God wills absolutely to save certain particular men,<br />

without having had in that his intention the least reference or regard to their obedience.<br />

This is the manner in which it places the love of God to man before his love of<br />

righteousness, <strong>and</strong> lays down the position — that God loves men (as such) more than<br />

righteousness, <strong>and</strong> evinces a stronger aversion to their misery than to their sin <strong>and</strong><br />

disobedience.<br />

(2.) The other is when it asserts, on the contrary, that God wills absolutely to damn certain<br />

particular men without manifesting in his decree any consideration of their disobedience. In<br />

this manner it detracts from his love to the creature that which belongs to it; while it<br />

teaches, that God hates the creature, without any cause or necessity derived from his love<br />

of righteousness <strong>and</strong> his hatred of iniquity. In which case, it is not true, "that sin is the<br />

primary object of God’s hatred, <strong>and</strong> its only meritorious cause." The great influence <strong>and</strong><br />

potency which this consideration possesses in subverting the foundation of religion, may be<br />

appropriately described by the following simile: Suppose a son to say, "My father is such a<br />

great lover of righteousness <strong>and</strong> equity, that, notwithst<strong>and</strong>ing I am his beloved son, he<br />

would disinherit me if I were found disobedient to him. Obedience, therefore, is a duty<br />

which I must sedulously cultivate, <strong>and</strong> which is highly incumbent upon me, if I wish to be his<br />

heir." Suppose another son to say: "My father’s love for me is so great, that he is absolutely<br />

resolved to make me his heir. There is, therefore, no necessity for my earnestly striving to<br />

yield him obedience; for, according to his unchangeable will, I shall become his heir. Nay, he<br />

will by an irresistible force draw me to obey him, rather than not suffer me to be made his<br />

heir." But such reasoning as the latter is diametrically opposed to the doctrine contained in<br />

the following words of John the Baptist:<br />

"And think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: For I say unto you,<br />

that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." (Matthew 3:9.)<br />

2. But the Christian religion also has its superstructure built upon this two-fold love as a<br />

foundation. This love, however, is to be considered in a manner somewhat different, in<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

consequence of the change in the condition of man, who, when he had been created after<br />

the image of God <strong>and</strong> in his favor, became by his own fault a sinner <strong>and</strong> an enemy to God.<br />

(1.) God’s love of righteousness [or justice] on which the Christian religion rests, is, first,<br />

that righteousness which he declared only once, which was in Christ; because it was his will<br />

that sin should not be expiated in any other way than by the blood <strong>and</strong> death of his Son,<br />

<strong>and</strong> that Christ should not be admitted before him as an Advocate, Deprecator <strong>and</strong><br />

Intercessor, except when sprinkled by his own blood. But this love of righteousness is,<br />

secondly, that which he daily manifests in the preaching of the gospel, in which he declares<br />

it to be his will to grant a communication of Christ <strong>and</strong> his benefits to no man, except to<br />

him who becomes converted <strong>and</strong> believes in Christ.<br />

(2.) God’s love of miserable sinners, on which likewise the Christian religion is founded, is,<br />

first, that love by which he gave his Son for them, <strong>and</strong> constituted him a Savior of those<br />

who obey him. But this love of sinners is, secondly, that by which he hath required<br />

obedience, not according to the rigor <strong>and</strong> severity to which he was entitled by his own<br />

supreme right, but according to his grace <strong>and</strong> clemency, <strong>and</strong> with the addition of a promise<br />

of the remission of sins, provided fallen man repent. The [supralapsarian] doctrine of<br />

Predestination is, in two ways, opposed to this two-fold foundation: first, by stating, "that<br />

God has such a great love for certain sinners, that it was his will absolutely to save them<br />

before he had given satisfaction, through Christ Jesus, to his love of righteousness, [or<br />

justice,] <strong>and</strong> that he thus willed their salvation even in his own fore-knowledge <strong>and</strong><br />

according to his determinate purpose."<br />

Besides, it totally <strong>and</strong> most completely overturns this foundation, by teaching it to be<br />

"God’s pleasure, that satisfaction should be paid to his justice, [or righteousness,] because<br />

he willed absolutely to save such persons:" which is nothing less, than to make his love for<br />

justice, manifested in Christ, subordinate to his love for sinful man whom it is his will<br />

absolutely to save. Secondly. It opposes itself to this foundation, by teaching, "that it is the<br />

will of God absolutely to damn certain sinners without any consideration of their<br />

impenitency;" when at the same time a most plenary <strong>and</strong> complete satisfaction had been<br />

rendered, in Christ Jesus, to God’s love of righteousness [or justice] <strong>and</strong> to his hatred of sin.<br />

So that nothing now can hinder the possibility of his extending mercy to the sinner,<br />

whosoever he may be, except the condition of repentance. Unless some person should<br />

choose to assert, what is stated in this doctrine, "that it has been God’s will to act towards<br />

the greater part of mankind with the same severity as he exercised towards the devil <strong>and</strong><br />

his angels, or even with greater, since it was his pleasure that neither Christ nor his gospel<br />

should be productive of greater blessings to them than to the devils, <strong>and</strong> since, according to<br />

the first offense, the door of grace is as much closed against them as it is against the evil<br />

angels." Yet each of those angels sinned, by himself in his own proper person, through his<br />

individual maliciousness, <strong>and</strong> by his voluntary act; while men sinned, only in Adam their<br />

parent, before they had been brought into existence.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

But, that we may more clearly underst<strong>and</strong> the fact of this two-fold love being the<br />

foundation of all religion <strong>and</strong> the manner in which it is so, with the mutual correspondence<br />

that subsists between each other, as we have already described them, it will be profitable<br />

for us to contemplate with greater attention the following words of the Apostle to the<br />

Hebrews: "He that cometh to God, must believe that He is <strong>and</strong> that He is a rewarder of<br />

them that diligently seek Him." In these words two things are laid down as foundations to<br />

religion, in opposition to two fiery darts of Satan, which are the most pernicious pests to it,<br />

<strong>and</strong> each of which is able by itself to overturn <strong>and</strong> extirpate all religion. One of them is<br />

security, the other despair. Security operates, when a man permits himself, that, how<br />

inattentive soever he may be to the worship of God, he will not be damned, but will obtain<br />

salvation. Despair is in operation, when a person entertains a persuasion, that, whatever<br />

degree of reverence he may evince towards God, he will not receive any remuneration. In<br />

what human mind soever either of these pests is fostered, it is impossible that any true <strong>and</strong><br />

proper worship of God can there reside. Now both of them are overturned by the words of<br />

the Apostle: For if a man firmly believes, "that God will bestow eternal life on those alone<br />

who seek Him, but that He will inflict on the rest death eternal," he can on no account<br />

indulge himself in security. And if he likewise believes, that "God is truly a rewarder of<br />

those who diligently seek Him," by applying himself to the search he will not be in danger of<br />

falling into despair. The foundation of the former kind of faith by which a man firmly<br />

believes, "that God will bestow eternal life on none except on those who seek Him," is that<br />

love which God bears to his own righteousness, [or justice,] <strong>and</strong> which is greater than that<br />

which he entertains for man. And, by this alone, all cause of security is removed. But the<br />

foundation of the latter kind of faith, "that God will undoubtedly be a rewarder of those<br />

who diligently seek Him," is that great love for man which neither will nor can prevent God<br />

from effecting salvation for him, except he be hindered by his still greater love for<br />

righteousness or justice. Yet the latter kind of love is so far from operating as a hindrance to<br />

God from becoming a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, that on the contrary, it<br />

promotes in every possible way the bestowment of that reward. Those persons, therefore,<br />

who seek God, can by no means indulge in a single doubt concerning his readiness to<br />

remunerate. And it is this which acts as a preservative against despair or distrust. Since this<br />

is the actual state of the case, this two-fold love, <strong>and</strong> the mutual relation which each part of<br />

it bears to the other <strong>and</strong> which we have just unfolded, are the foundations of religion,<br />

without which no religion can possibly exist. That doctrine, therefore, which is in open<br />

hostility to this mutual love <strong>and</strong> to the relation that mutually subsists between them, is, at<br />

the same time, subversive of the foundation of all religion.<br />

XX. Lastly. This doctrine of Predestination has been rejected both in former times <strong>and</strong> in our<br />

own days, by the greater part of the professors of Christianity.<br />

1. But, omitting all mention of the periods that occurred in former ages, facts themselves<br />

declare, that the Lutheran <strong>and</strong> Anabaptist Churches, as well as that of Rome, account this<br />

to be an erroneous doctrine.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

2. However highly Luther <strong>and</strong> Melancthon might at the very commencement of the<br />

reformation, have approved of this doctrine, they afterwards deserted it. This change in<br />

Melancthon is quite apparent from his latter writings: And those who style themselves<br />

"Luther’s disciples," make the same statement respecting their master, while they contend<br />

that on this subject he made a more distinct <strong>and</strong> copious declaration of his sentiments,<br />

instead of entirely ab<strong>and</strong>oning those which he formerly entertained. But Philip Melancthon<br />

believed that this doctrine did not differ greatly from the fate of the Stoics: This appears<br />

from many of his writings, but more particularly in a certain letter which he addressed to<br />

Gasper Peucer, <strong>and</strong> in which, among other things, he states: "Laelius writes to me <strong>and</strong> says,<br />

that the controversy respecting the Stoical Fate is agitated with such uncommon fervor at<br />

Geneva, that one individual is cast into prison because he happened to differ from Zeno. O<br />

unhappy times! When the doctrine of salvation is thus obscured by certain strange<br />

disputes!"<br />

3. All the Danish Churches embrace a doctrine quite opposed to this, as is obvious from the<br />

writings of Nicholas Hemmingius in his treatise on Universal Grace, in which he declares<br />

that the contest between him <strong>and</strong> his adversaries consisted in the determination of these<br />

two points: "do the Elect believe ," or, "are believers the true elect?" He considers "those<br />

persons who maintain the former position, to hold sentiments agreeable to the doctrine of<br />

the Manichees <strong>and</strong> Stoics; <strong>and</strong> those who maintain the latter point, are in obvious<br />

agreement with Moses <strong>and</strong> the Prophets, with Christ <strong>and</strong> his Apostles."<br />

4. Besides, by many of the inhabitants of these our own provinces, this doctrine is<br />

accounted a grievance of such a nature, as to cause several of them to affirm, that on<br />

account of it, they neither can nor will have any communion with our Church. Others of<br />

them have united themselves with our Churches, but not without entering a protest, "that<br />

they cannot possibly give their consent to this doctrine." But, on account of this kind of<br />

Predestination, our Churches have been deserted by not a few individuals, who formerly<br />

held the same opinions as ourselves: Others, also, have threatened to depart from us,<br />

unless they be fully assured that the Church holds no opinion of this description.<br />

5. There is likewise no point of doctrine which the Papists, Anabaptists, <strong>and</strong> Lutherans<br />

oppose with greater vehemence than this, <strong>and</strong> through whose sides they create a worse<br />

opinion of our Churches or procure for them a greater portion of hatred, <strong>and</strong> thus bring<br />

into disrepute all the doctrines which we profess. They likewise affirm "that of all the<br />

blasphemies against God which the mind of man can conceive or his tongue can express,<br />

there is none so foul as not to be deduced by fair consequence from this opinion of our<br />

doctors."<br />

6. Lastly. Of all the difficulties <strong>and</strong> controversies which have arisen in these our Churches<br />

since the time of the Reformation, there is none that has not had its origin in this doctrine,<br />

or that has not, at least, been mixed with it. What I have here said will be found true, if we<br />

bring to our recollection the controversies which existed at Leyden in the affair of Koolhaes,<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

at Gouda in that of Herman Herberts, at Horn with respect to Cornelius Wiggerston, <strong>and</strong> at<br />

Mendenblich in the affair of Tako Sybrants. This consideration was not among the last of<br />

those motives which induced me to give my most diligent attention to this head of doctrine,<br />

<strong>and</strong> endeavor to prevent our Churches from suffering any detriment from it; because, from<br />

it, the Papists have derived much of their increase. While all pious teachers ought most<br />

heartily to desire the destruction of Popery, as they would that of the kingdom of Antichrist,<br />

they ought with the greatest zeal, to engage in the attempt, <strong>and</strong> as far as it is within their<br />

power, to make the most efficient preparations for its overthrow.<br />

The preceding views are, in brief, those which I hold respecting this novel doctrine of<br />

Predestination. I have propounded it with all good faith from the very expressions of the<br />

authors themselves, that I might not seem to invent <strong>and</strong> attribute to them any thing which I<br />

was not able clearly to prove from their writings.<br />


But some other of our doctors state the subject of God’s Predestination in a manner<br />

somewhat different. We will cursorily touch upon the two modes which they employ.<br />

Among some of them the following opinion is prevalent:<br />

1. God determined within himself, by an eternal <strong>and</strong> immutable decree, to make (according<br />

to his own good pleasure,) the smaller portion out of the general mass of mankind<br />

partakers of his grace <strong>and</strong> glory, to the praise of his own glorious grace. But according to his<br />

pleasure he also passed by the greater portion of men, <strong>and</strong> left them in their own nature,<br />

which is incapable of every thing supernatural, [or beyond itself,] <strong>and</strong> did not communicate<br />

to them that saving <strong>and</strong> supernatural grace by which their nature, (if it still retained its<br />

integrity,) might be strengthened, or by which, if it were corrupted, it might be restored —<br />

for a demonstration of his own liberty. Yet after God had made these men sinners <strong>and</strong><br />

guilty of death, he punished them with death eternal — for a demonstration of his own<br />

justice.<br />

2. Predestination is to be considered in respect to its end <strong>and</strong> to the means which tend to it.<br />

But these persons employ the word "Predestination" in its special acceptation for election<br />

<strong>and</strong> oppose it to reprobation.<br />

(1.) In respect to its end, (which is salvation, <strong>and</strong> an illustration of the glorious grace of God,)<br />

man is considered in common <strong>and</strong> absolutely, such as he is in his own nature.<br />

(2.) But in respect to the means, man is considered as perishing from himself <strong>and</strong> in himself,<br />

<strong>and</strong> as guilty in Adam.<br />

3. In the decree concerning the end, the following gradations are to be regarded.<br />

(1.) The prescience of God, by which he foreknew those whom he had predestinated. Then<br />

(2.) The Divine prefinition, [or predetermination,] by which he foreordained the salvation of<br />

those persons by whom he had foreknown.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

First, by electing them from all eternity: <strong>and</strong> secondly, by preparing for them grace in this<br />

life, <strong>and</strong> glory in the world to come.<br />

4. The means which belong to the execution of this Predestination, are<br />

(1.) Christ himself:<br />

(2.) An efficacious call to faith in Christ, from which justification takes its origin:<br />

(3.) The gift of perseverance unto the end.<br />

5. As far as we are capable of comprehending their scheme of reprobation it consists of two<br />

acts, that of preterition <strong>and</strong> that of predamnatian. It is antecedent to all things, <strong>and</strong> to all<br />

causes which are either in the things themselves or which arise out of them; that is, it has<br />

no regard whatever to any sin, <strong>and</strong> only views man in an absolute <strong>and</strong> general aspect.<br />

6. Two means are fore-ordained for the execution of the act of preterition:<br />

(1.) Dereliction [or ab<strong>and</strong>oning] in a state of nature, which by itself is incapable of every<br />

thing supernatural: <strong>and</strong><br />

(2.) Non-communication [or a negation] of supernatural grace, by which their nature (if in a<br />

state of integrity,) might be strengthened, <strong>and</strong> (if in a state of corruption,) might be<br />

restored.<br />

7. Predamnation is antecedent to all things, yet it does by no means exist without a<br />

fore-knowledge of the causes of damnation. It views man as a sinner, obnoxious to<br />

damnation in Adam, <strong>and</strong> as on this account perishing through the necessity of Divine<br />

justice.<br />

8. The means ordained for the execution of this predamnation, are<br />

(1.) Just desertion, which is either that of exploration, [or examination,] in which God does<br />

not confer his grace, or that of punishment when God takes away from a man all his saving<br />

gifts, <strong>and</strong> delivers him over to the power of Satan.<br />

(2.) The second means are induration or hardening, <strong>and</strong> those consequences which usually<br />

follow even to the real damnation of the person reprobated.<br />


But others among our doctors state their sentiments on this subject in the following<br />

manner:<br />

1. Because God willed within himself from all eternity to make a decree by which he might<br />

elect certain men <strong>and</strong> reprobate the rest, he viewed <strong>and</strong> considered the human race not<br />

only as created but likewise as fallen or corrupt, <strong>and</strong> on that account obnoxious to cursing<br />

<strong>and</strong> malediction. Out of this lapsed <strong>and</strong> accursed state God determined to liberate certain<br />

individuals <strong>and</strong> freely to save them by his grace, for a declaration of his mercy; but he<br />

resolved in his own just judgment to leave the rest under the curse [or malediction] for a<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

declaration of his justice. In both these cases God acts without the least consideration of<br />

repentance <strong>and</strong> faith in those whom he elects, or of impenitence <strong>and</strong> unbelief in those<br />

whom he reprobates.<br />

2. The special means which relate particularly to the execution both of election <strong>and</strong><br />

reprobation, are the very same as those which we have already expounded in the first of<br />

these kinds of Predestination, with the exception of those means which are common both<br />

to election <strong>and</strong> reprobation; because this [third] opinion places the fall of man, not as a<br />

means fore-ordained for the execution of the preceding decree of Predestination, but as<br />

something that might furnish a fixed purpose or occasion for making this decree of<br />

Predestination.<br />


Both these opinions, as they outwardly pretend, differ from the first in this point — that<br />

neither of them lays down the creation or the fall as a mediate cause fore-ordained by God<br />

for the execution of the preceding decree of Predestination. Yet, with regard to the fall,<br />

some diversity may be perceived in the two latter opinions. For the second kind of<br />

Predestination places election, with regard to the end, before the fall; it also places before<br />

that event preterition, [or passing by,] which is the first part of reprobation. While the third<br />

kind does not allow any part of election <strong>and</strong> reprobation to commence till after the fall of<br />

man. But, among the causes which seem to have induced the inventors of the two latter<br />

schemes to deliver the doctrine of Predestination in this manner, <strong>and</strong> not to ascend to such<br />

a great height as the inventors of the first scheme have done, this is not the least — that<br />

they have been desirous of using the greatest precaution, lest it might be concluded from<br />

their doctrine that God is the author of sin, with as much show of probability as, (according<br />

to the intimation of some of those who yield their assent to both the latter kinds,) it is<br />

deducible from the first description of Predestination.<br />

Yet if we be willing to inspect these two latter opinions a little more closely, <strong>and</strong> in<br />

particular if we accurately examine the second <strong>and</strong> third kind <strong>and</strong> compare them with other<br />

sentiments of the same author concerning some subjects of our religion, we shall discover,<br />

that the fall of Adam cannot possibly, according to their views, be considered in any other<br />

manner than as a necessary means for the execution of the preceding decree of<br />

Predestination.<br />

1. In reference to the second of the three, this is apparent from two reasons comprised in<br />

it:<br />

The first of these reasons is that which states God to have determined by the decree of<br />

reprobation to deny to man that grace which was necessary for the confirmation <strong>and</strong><br />

strengthening of his nature, that it might not be corrupted by sin; which amounts to this,<br />

that God decreed not to bestow that grace which was necessary to avoid sin; <strong>and</strong> from this<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

must necessarily follow the transgression of man, as proceeding from a law imposed on him.<br />

The fall of man is therefore a means ordained for the execution of the decree of<br />

reprobation.<br />

The second of these reasons is that which states the two parts of reprobation to be<br />

preterition <strong>and</strong> predamnation. These two parts, according to that decree, are connected<br />

together by a necessary <strong>and</strong> mutual bond, <strong>and</strong> are equally extensive. For, all those whom<br />

God passed by in conferring Divine grace, are likewise damned. Indeed no others are<br />

damned, except those who are the subjects of this act of preterition. From this therefore it<br />

may be concluded, that "sin must necessarily follow from the decree of reprobation or<br />

preterition, because, if it were otherwise, it might possibly happen, that a person who had<br />

been passed by, might not commit sin, <strong>and</strong> from that circumstance might not become liable<br />

to damnation; since sin is the sole meritorious cause of damnation: <strong>and</strong> thus certain of<br />

those individuals who had been passed by, might neither be saved nor damned — which is<br />

great absurdity.<br />

This second opinion on Predestination, therefore, falls into the same inconvenience as the<br />

first. For it not only does not avoid that [conclusion of making God the author of sin,] but<br />

while those who profess it make the attempt, they fall into a palpable <strong>and</strong> absurd<br />

self-contradiction — while, in reference to this point, the first of these opinions is alike<br />

throughout <strong>and</strong> consistent with itself.<br />

2. The third of these schemes of Predestination would escape this rock to much better<br />

effect, did not the patrons of it, while declaring their sentiments on Predestination <strong>and</strong><br />

providence, employ certain expressions, from which the necessity of the fall might be<br />

deduced. Yet this necessity cannot possibly have any other origin than some degree of<br />

Predestination.<br />

(1.) One of these explanatory expressions is their description of the Divine permission, by<br />

which God permits sin. Some of them describe it thus: "permission is the withdrawing of<br />

that Divine grace, by which, when God executes the decrees of his will through rational<br />

creatures, he either does not reveal to the creature that divine will of his own by which he<br />

wills that action to be performed, or does not bend the will of the creature to yield<br />

obedience in that act to the Divine will." To these expressions, the following are<br />

immediately subjoined: "if this be a correct statement, the creature commits sin through<br />

necessity, yet voluntarily <strong>and</strong> without restraint." If it be objected that "this description does<br />

not comport with that permission by which God permitted the sin of Adam:" We also<br />

entertain the same opinion about it. Yet it follows, as a consequence, from this very<br />

description, that "other sins are committed through necessity."<br />

(2.) Of a similar tendency are the expressions which some of them use, when they contend,<br />

that the declaration of the glory of God, which must necessarily be illustrated, is placed in<br />

"the demonstration of mercy <strong>and</strong> of punitive justice." But such a demonstration could not<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

have been made, unless sin, <strong>and</strong> misery through sin, had entered into the world, to form at<br />

least some degree of misery for the least sin. And in this manner is sin also necessarily<br />

introduced, through the necessity of such a demonstration of the Divine glory. Since the fall<br />

of Adam is already laid down to be necessary, <strong>and</strong>, on that account, to be a means for<br />

executing the preceding decree of Predestination; creation itself is likewise at the same<br />

time laid down as a means subservient to the execution of the same decree. For the fall<br />

cannot be necessarily consequent upon the creation, except through the decree of<br />

Predestination, which cannot be placed between the creation <strong>and</strong> the fall, but is prefixed to<br />

both of them, as having the precedence, <strong>and</strong> ordaining creation for the fall, <strong>and</strong> both of<br />

them for executing one <strong>and</strong> the same decree — to demonstrate the justice of God in the<br />

punishment of sin, <strong>and</strong> his mercy in its remission. Because, if this were not the case, that<br />

which must necessarily ensue from the act of creation had not seen intended by God when<br />

he created, which is to suppose an impossibility. But let it be granted, that the necessity of<br />

the fall of Adam cannot be deduced from either of the two latter opinions, yet all the<br />

preceding arguments which have been produced against the first opinion, are, after a<br />

trifling modification to suit the varied purpose, equally valid against the two latter. This<br />

would be very apparent, if, to demonstrate it, a conference were to be instituted.<br />


I have hitherto been stating those opinions concerning the article of Predestination which<br />

are inculcated in our Churches <strong>and</strong> in the University of Leyden, <strong>and</strong> of which I disapprove. I<br />

have at the same time produced my own reasons, why I form such an unfavorable<br />

judgment concerning them; <strong>and</strong> I will now declare my own opinions on this subject, which<br />

are of such a description as, according to my views, appear most conformable to the word<br />

of God.<br />

1. The first absolute decree of God concerning the salvation of sinful man, is that by which<br />

he decreed to appoint his Son, Jesus Christ, for a Mediator, Redeemer, Savior, Priest <strong>and</strong><br />

King, who might destroy sin by his own death, might by his obedience obtain the salvation<br />

which had been lost, <strong>and</strong> might communicate it by his own virtue.<br />

2. The second precise <strong>and</strong> absolute decree of God, is that in which he decreed to receive<br />

into favor those who repent <strong>and</strong> believe, <strong>and</strong>, in Christ, for his sake <strong>and</strong> through Him, to<br />

effect the salvation of such penitents <strong>and</strong> believers as persevered to the end; but to leave<br />

in sin, <strong>and</strong> under wrath, all impenitent persons <strong>and</strong> unbelievers, <strong>and</strong> to damn them as<br />

aliens from Christ.<br />

3. The third Divine decree is that by which God decreed to administer in a sufficient <strong>and</strong><br />

efficacious manner the means which were necessary for repentance <strong>and</strong> faith; <strong>and</strong> to have<br />

such administration instituted<br />

(1.) according to the Divine Wisdom, by which God knows what is proper <strong>and</strong> becoming<br />

both to his mercy <strong>and</strong> his severity, <strong>and</strong><br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

(2.) according to Divine Justice, by which He is prepared to adopt whatever his wisdom may<br />

prescribe <strong>and</strong> put it in execution.<br />

4. To these succeeds the fourth decree, by which God decreed to save <strong>and</strong> damn certain<br />

particular persons. This decree has its foundation in the foreknowledge of God, by which he<br />

knew from all eternity those individuals who would, through his preventing grace, believe,<br />

<strong>and</strong>, through his subsequent grace would persevere, according to the before described<br />

administration of those means which are suitable <strong>and</strong> proper for conversion <strong>and</strong> faith; <strong>and</strong>,<br />

by which foreknowledge, he likewise knew those who would not believe <strong>and</strong> persevere.<br />

Predestination, when thus explained, is<br />

1. The foundation of Christianity, <strong>and</strong> of salvation <strong>and</strong> its certainty.<br />

2. It is the sum <strong>and</strong> the matter of the gospel; nay, it is the gospel itself, <strong>and</strong> on that account<br />

necessary to be believed in order to salvation, as far as the two first articles are concerned.<br />

3. It has had no need of being examined or determined by any council, either general or<br />

particular, since it is contained in the scriptures clearly <strong>and</strong> expressly in so many words; <strong>and</strong><br />

no contradiction has ever yet been offered to it by any orthodox Divine.<br />

4. It has constantly been acknowledged <strong>and</strong> taught by all Christian teachers who held<br />

correct <strong>and</strong> orthodox sentiments.<br />

5. It agrees with that harmony of all confessions, which has been published by the<br />

protestant Churches.<br />

6. It likewise agrees most excellently with the Dutch Confession <strong>and</strong> Catechism. This<br />

concord is such, that if in the Sixteenth article these two expressions "those persons whom"<br />

<strong>and</strong> "others," be explained by the words "believers" <strong>and</strong> "unbelievers" these opinions of<br />

mine on Predestination will be comprehended in that article with the greatest clearness.<br />

This is the reason why I directed the thesis to be composed in the very words of the<br />

Confession, when, on one occasion, I had to hold a public disputation before my private<br />

class in the University. This kind of Predestination also agrees with the reasoning contained<br />

in the twentieth <strong>and</strong> the fifty-fourth question of the Catechism.<br />

7. It is also in excellent accordance with the nature of God — with his wisdom, goodness,<br />

<strong>and</strong> righteousness; because it contains the principal matter of all of them, <strong>and</strong> is the<br />

clearest demonstration of the Divine wisdom, goodness, <strong>and</strong> righteousness [or justice]<br />

8. It is agreeable in every point with the nature of man — in what form soever that nature<br />

may be contemplated, whether in the primitive state of creation, in that of the fall, or in<br />

that of restoration.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

9. It is in complete concert with the act of creation, by affirming that the creation itself is a<br />

real communication of good, both from the intention of God, <strong>and</strong> with regard to the very<br />

end or event; that it had its origin in the goodness of God; that whatever has a reference to<br />

its continuance <strong>and</strong> preservation, proceeds from Divine love; <strong>and</strong> that this act of creation is<br />

a perfect <strong>and</strong> appropriate work of God, in which he is at complaisance with himself, <strong>and</strong> by<br />

which he obtained all things necessary for an unsinning state.<br />

10. It agrees with the nature of life eternal, <strong>and</strong> with the honorable titles by which that life<br />

is designated in the scriptures.<br />

11. It also agrees with the nature of death eternal, <strong>and</strong> with the names by which that death<br />

is distinguished in scripture.<br />

12. It states sin to be a real disobedience, <strong>and</strong> the meritorious cause of condemnation; <strong>and</strong><br />

on this account, it is in the most perfect agreement with the fall <strong>and</strong> with sin.<br />

13. In every particular, it harmonizes with the nature of grace, by ascribing to it all those<br />

things which agree with it, [or adapted to it,] <strong>and</strong> by reconciling it most completely to the<br />

righteousness of God <strong>and</strong> to the nature <strong>and</strong> liberty of the human will.<br />

14. It conduces most conspicuously to declare the glory of God, his justice <strong>and</strong> his mercy. It<br />

also represents God as the cause of all good <strong>and</strong> of our salvation, <strong>and</strong> man as the cause of<br />

sin <strong>and</strong> of his own damnation.<br />

15. It contributes to the honor of Jesus Christ, by placing him for the foundation of<br />

Predestination <strong>and</strong> the meritorious as well as communicative cause of salvation.<br />

16. It greatly promotes the salvation of men: It is also the power, <strong>and</strong> the very means which<br />

lead to salvation — by exciting <strong>and</strong> creating within the mind of man sorrow on account of<br />

sin, a solicitude about his conversion, faith in Jesus Christ, a studious desire to perform<br />

good works, <strong>and</strong> zeal in prayer — <strong>and</strong> by causing men to work out their salvation with fear<br />

<strong>and</strong> trembling. It likewise prevents despair, as far as such prevention is necessary.<br />

17. It confirms <strong>and</strong> establishes that order according to which the gospel ought to be<br />

preached,<br />

(1.) By requiring repentance <strong>and</strong> faith —<br />

(2.) And then by promising remission of sins, the grace of the spirit, <strong>and</strong> life eternal.<br />

18. It strengthens the ministry of the gospel, <strong>and</strong> renders it profitable with respect to<br />

preaching, the administration of the sacraments <strong>and</strong> public prayers.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

19. It is the foundation of the Christian religion; because in it, the two-fold love of God may<br />

be united together — God’s love of righteousness [or justice], <strong>and</strong> his love of men, may,<br />

with the greatest consistency, be reconciled to each other.<br />

20. Lastly. This doctrine of Predestination, has always been approved by the great majority<br />

of professing Christians, <strong>and</strong> even now, in these days, it enjoys the same extensive<br />

patronage. It cannot afford any person just cause for expressing his aversion to it; nor can it<br />

give any pretext for contention in the Christian Church.<br />

It is therefore much to be desired, that men would proceed no further in this matter, <strong>and</strong><br />

would not attempt to investigate the unsearchable judgments of God — at least that they<br />

would not proceed beyond the point at which those judgments have been clearly revealed<br />

in the scriptures.<br />

This, my most potent Lords, is all that I intend now to declare to your mightinesses,<br />

respecting the doctrine of Predestination, about which there exists such a great controversy<br />

in the Church of Christ. If it would not prove too tedious to your Lordships, I have some<br />

other propositions which I could wish to state, because they contribute to a full declaration<br />

of my sentiments, <strong>and</strong> tend to the same purpose as that for which I have been ordered to<br />

attend in this place by your mightinesses.<br />

There are certain other articles of the Christian religion, which possess a close affinity to the<br />

doctrine of Predestination, <strong>and</strong> which are in a great measure dependent on it: Of this<br />

description are the providence of God, the free-will of man, the perseverance of saints, <strong>and</strong><br />

the certainty of salvation. On these topics, if not disagreeable to your mightinesses, I will in<br />

a brief manner relate my opinion. ……………….<br />


This is my opinion concerning the free-will of man: In his primitive condition as he came out<br />

of the h<strong>and</strong>s of his creator, man was endowed with such a portion of knowledge, holiness<br />

<strong>and</strong> power, as enabled him to underst<strong>and</strong>, esteem, consider, will, <strong>and</strong> to perform the true<br />

good, according to the comm<strong>and</strong>ment delivered to him. Yet none of these acts could he do,<br />

except through the assistance of Divine Grace. But in his lapsed <strong>and</strong> sinful state, man is not<br />

capable, of <strong>and</strong> by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good; but it is<br />

necessary for him to be regenerated <strong>and</strong> renewed in his intellect, affections or will, <strong>and</strong> in<br />

all his powers, by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>, esteem, consider, will, <strong>and</strong> perform whatever is truly good. When he is made a<br />

partaker of this regeneration or renovation, I consider that, since he is delivered from sin,<br />

he is capable of thinking, willing <strong>and</strong> doing that which is good, but yet not without the<br />

continued aids of Divine Grace.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />


In reference to Divine Grace, I believe,<br />

1. It is a gratuitous affection by which God is kindly affected towards a miserable sinner,<br />

<strong>and</strong> according to which he, in the first place, gives his Son, "that whosoever believers in him<br />

might have eternal life," <strong>and</strong>, afterwards, he justifies him in Christ Jesus <strong>and</strong> for his sake,<br />

<strong>and</strong> adopts him into the right of sons, unto salvation.<br />

2. It is an infusion (both into the human underst<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> into the will <strong>and</strong> affections,) of<br />

all those gifts of the Holy Spirit which appertain to the regeneration <strong>and</strong> renewing of man<br />

— such as faith, hope, charity, etc.; for, without these gracious gifts, man is not sufficient to<br />

think, will, or do any thing that is good.<br />

3. It is that perpetual assistance <strong>and</strong> continued aid of the Holy Spirit, according to which He<br />

acts upon <strong>and</strong> excites to good the man who has been already renewed, by infusing into him<br />

salutary cogitations, <strong>and</strong> by inspiring him with good desires, that he may thus actually will<br />

whatever is good; <strong>and</strong> according to which God may then will <strong>and</strong> work together with man,<br />

that man may perform whatever he wills.<br />

In this manner, I ascribe to grace the commencement, the continuance <strong>and</strong> the<br />

consummation of all good, <strong>and</strong> to such an extent do I carry its influence, that a man, though<br />

already regenerate, can neither conceive, will, nor do any good at all, nor resist any evil<br />

temptation, without this preventing <strong>and</strong> exciting, this following <strong>and</strong> co-operating grace.<br />

From this statement it will clearly appear, that I by no means do injustice to grace, by<br />

attributing, as it is reported of me, too much to man’s free-will. For the whole controversy<br />

reduces itself to the solution of this question, "is the grace of God a certain irresistible<br />

force?" That is, the controversy does not relate to those actions or operations which may<br />

be ascribed to grace, (for I acknowledge <strong>and</strong> inculcate as many of these actions or<br />

operations as any man ever did,) but it relates solely to the mode of operation, whether it<br />

be irresistible or not. With respect to which, I believe, according to the scriptures, that<br />

many persons resist the Holy Spirit <strong>and</strong> reject the grace that is offered.<br />


My sentiments respecting the perseverance of the saints are, that those persons who have<br />

been grafted into Christ by true faith, <strong>and</strong> have thus been made partakers of his life-giving<br />

Spirit, possess sufficient powers [or strength] to fight against Satan, sin, the world <strong>and</strong> their<br />

own flesh, <strong>and</strong> to gain the victory over these enemies — yet not without the assistance of<br />

the grace of the same Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ also by his Spirit assists them in all their<br />

temptations, <strong>and</strong> affords them the ready aid of his h<strong>and</strong>; <strong>and</strong>, provided they st<strong>and</strong><br />

prepared for the battle, implore his help, <strong>and</strong> be not wanting to themselves, Christ<br />

preserves them from falling. So that it is not possible for them, by any of the cunning<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

craftiness or power of Satan, to be either seduced or dragged out of the h<strong>and</strong>s of Christ.<br />

But I think it is useful <strong>and</strong> will be quite necessary in our first convention, [or Synod] to<br />

institute a diligent inquiry from the Scriptures, whether it is not possible for some<br />

individuals through negligence to desert the commencement of their existence in Christ, to<br />

cleave again to the present evil world, to decline from the sound doctrine which was once<br />

delivered to them, to lose a good conscience, <strong>and</strong> to cause Divine grace to be ineffectual.<br />

Though I here openly <strong>and</strong> ingenuously affirm, I never taught that a true believer can, either<br />

totally or finally fall away from the faith, <strong>and</strong> perish; yet I will not conceal, that there are<br />

passages of scripture which seem to me to wear this aspect; <strong>and</strong> those answers to them<br />

which I have been permitted to see, are not of such a kind as to approve themselves on all<br />

points to my underst<strong>and</strong>ing. On the other h<strong>and</strong>, certain passages are produced for the<br />

contrary doctrine [of unconditional perseverance] which are worthy of much consideration.<br />


With regard to the certainty [or assurance] of salvation, my opinion is, that it is possible for<br />

him who believes in Jesus Christ to be certain <strong>and</strong> persuaded, <strong>and</strong>, if his heart condemn him<br />

not, he is now in reality assured, that he is a son of God, <strong>and</strong> st<strong>and</strong>s in the grace of Jesus<br />

Christ. Such a certainty is wrought in the mind, as well by the action of the Holy Spirit<br />

inwardly actuating the believer <strong>and</strong> by the fruits of faith, as from his own conscience, <strong>and</strong><br />

the testimony of God’s Spirit witnessing together with his conscience. I also believe, that it<br />

is possible for such a person, with an assured confidence in the grace of God <strong>and</strong> his mercy<br />

in Christ, to depart out of this life, <strong>and</strong> to appear before the throne of grace, without any<br />

anxious fear or terrific dread: <strong>and</strong> yet this person should constantly pray,<br />

"O lord, enter not into judgment with thy servant!"<br />

But, since "God is greater than our hearts, <strong>and</strong> knoweth all things," <strong>and</strong> since a man judges<br />

not his own self — yea, though a man know nothing by himself, yet is he not thereby<br />

justified, but he who judgeth him is the Lord, (1 John 3:19; 1 Corinthians 4:3,) I dare not [on<br />

this account] place this assurance [or certainty] on an equality with that by which we know<br />

there is a God, <strong>and</strong> that Christ is the Savior of the world. Yet it will be proper to make the<br />

extent of the boundaries of this assurance, a subject of inquiry in our convention.<br />


Beside those doctrines on which I have treated, there is now much discussion among us<br />

respecting the perfection of believers, or regenerated persons, in this life; <strong>and</strong> it is reported,<br />

that I entertain sentiments on this subject, which are very improper, <strong>and</strong> nearly allied to<br />

those of the Pelagians, viz: "that it is possible for the regenerate in this life perfectly to keep<br />

God’s precepts." To this I reply, though these might have been my sentiments yet I ought<br />

not on this account to be considered a Pelagian, either partly or entirely, provided I had<br />

only added that "they could do this by the grace of Christ, <strong>and</strong> by no means without it." But<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

while I never asserted, that a believer could perfectly keep the precepts of Christ in this life,<br />

I never denied it, but always left it as a matter which has still to be decided. For I have<br />

contented myself with those sentiments which St. Augustine has expressed on this subject,<br />

whose words have frequently quoted in the University, <strong>and</strong> have usually subjoined, that I<br />

had no addition to make to them.<br />

Augustine says, "four questions may claim our attention on this topic. The first is, was there<br />

ever yet a man without sin, one who from the beginning of life to its termination never<br />

committed sin? The second, has there ever been, is there now, or can there possibly be, an<br />

individual who does not sin, that is, who has attained to such a state of perfection in this<br />

life as not to commit sin, but perfectly to fulfill the law of God? The third, is it possible for a<br />

man in this life to exist without sin? The fourth, if it be possible for a man to be without sin,<br />

why has such an individual never yet been found?" St. Augustine says, that such a person as<br />

is described in the first question never yet lived, or will hereafter be brought into existence,<br />

with the exception of Jesus Christ. He does not think, that any man has attained to such<br />

perfection in this life as is portrayed in the second question. With regard to the third, he<br />

thinks it possible for a man to be without sin, by means of the grace of Christ <strong>and</strong> free-will.<br />

In answer to the fourth, man does not do what it is possible for him by the grace of Christ<br />

to perform, either because that which is good escapes his observation, or because in it he<br />

places no part of his delight." From this quotation it is apparent, that St. Augustine, one of<br />

the most strenuous adversaries of the Pelagian doctrine, retained this sentiment, that "it is<br />

possible for a man to live in this world without sin."<br />

Beside this, the same Christian father says, "let Pelagius confess, that it is possible for man<br />

to be without sin, in no other way than by the grace of Christ, <strong>and</strong> we will be at peace with<br />

each other." The opinion of Pelagius appeared to St. Augustine to be this — "that man<br />

could fulfill the law of God by his own proffer strength <strong>and</strong> ability; but with still "greater<br />

facility by means of the grace of Christ." I have already most abundantly stated the great<br />

distance at which I st<strong>and</strong> from such a sentiment; in addition to which I now declare, that I<br />

account this sentiment of Pelagius to be heretical, <strong>and</strong> diametrically opposed to these<br />

words of Christ, "Without me ye can do nothing:" (John 15:5.) It is likewise very destructive,<br />

<strong>and</strong> inflicts a most grievous wound on the glory of Christ.<br />

I cannot see that anything is contained in all I have hitherto produced respecting my<br />

sentiments, on account of which any person ought to be "afraid of appearing in the<br />

presence of God," <strong>and</strong> from which it might be feared that any mischievous consequences<br />

can possibly arise. Yet because every day brings me fresh information about reports<br />

concerning me, "that I carry in my breast destructive sentiments <strong>and</strong> heresies," I cannot<br />

possibly conceive to what points those charges can relate, except perhaps they draw some<br />

such pretext from my opinion concerning the Divinity of the Son of God, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

justification of man before God. Indeed, I have lately learnt, that there has been much<br />

public conversation, <strong>and</strong> many rumors have been circulated, respecting my opinion on both<br />

these points of doctrine, particularly since the last conference [between Gomarus <strong>and</strong><br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

myself] before the Counselors of the Supreme Court. This is one reason why I think, that I<br />

shall not be acting unadvisedly if I disclose to your mightinesses the real state of the whole<br />

matter. ………………….<br />

The Works of James Arminius - Vol. 1<br />

Nine Theological Questions<br />

Exhibited By The Deputies Of The Synod, To Their Lordships The Curators Of The University<br />

Of Leyden, For The Purpose Of Obtaining An Answer To Each Of Them From The Professors<br />

Of Divinity; And The Replies Which James Arminius Gave To Them, In November, 1605.<br />

With Other Nine Opposite Questions<br />


1. Which is first, Election, or Faith Truly Foreseen, so that God elected his people<br />

according to faith foreseen?<br />

1. Is the decree "for bestowing Faith on any one," previous to that by which is appointed<br />

"the Necessity of Faith to salvation?"<br />


The equivocation in the word "Election," makes it impossible to answer this question in any<br />

other manner, than by distinction. If therefore "Election" denotes "the decree which is<br />

according to election concerning the justification <strong>and</strong> salvation of believers." I say Election<br />

is prior to Faith, as being that by which Faith is appointed as the means of obtaining<br />

salvation. But if it signifies "the decree by which God determines to bestow salvation on<br />

some one," then Faith foreseen is prior to Election. For as believers alone are saved, so only<br />

believers are predestinated to salvation. But the Scriptures know no Election, by which God<br />

precisely <strong>and</strong> absolutely has determined to save anyone without having first considered<br />

him as a believer. For such an Election would be at variance with the decree by which he<br />

hath determined to save none but believers.<br />


2. If it be said, "that God, by his eternal decree, has determined <strong>and</strong> governs all things<br />

<strong>and</strong> every thing, even the depraved wills of men, to appointed good ends," does it follow<br />

from this, that God is the author of sin?<br />

2. Is "to determine or direct all things <strong>and</strong> every thing, even the depraved wills of men, to<br />

appointed good ends," the same thing as "to determine that man be made corrupt, by<br />

which a way may be opened for executing God’s absolute decree concerning damning some<br />

men through wrath, <strong>and</strong> saving others through mercy?"<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />


Sin is the transgression of the law; therefore, God will be the author of sin, if He cause any<br />

man to transgress the law. This is done by denying or taking away what is necessary for<br />

fulfilling the law, or by impelling men to sin. But if this "determination" be that of a will<br />

which is already depraved, since it does not signify the denying or the removing of grace<br />

nor a corrupt impelling to sin, it follows, that the consequence of this cannot be that God is<br />

the author of sin. But if this "determination" denote the decree of God by which He<br />

resolved that the will should become depraved, <strong>and</strong> that man should commit sin, then it<br />

follows from this that God is the author of sin.<br />


3. Does original sin, of itself, render man obnoxious to eternal death, even without the<br />

addition of any actual sin? Or is the guilt of original sin taken away from all <strong>and</strong> every one<br />

by the benefits of Christ the Mediator?<br />

3. If some men are condemned solely on account of the sin committed by Adam, <strong>and</strong> others<br />

on account of their rejection of the Gospel, are there not two peremptory decrees<br />

concerning the damnation of men, <strong>and</strong> two judgments, one Legal, the other Evangelical?<br />


Those things which in this question are placed in opposition to each other, easily agree<br />

together. For original sin can render man obnoxious to eternal death, <strong>and</strong> its guilt can be<br />

taken away from all men by Christ. Indeed, in order that guilt may be removed, it is<br />

necessary that men be previously rendered guilty. But to reply to each part separately: It is<br />

perversely said, that "original sin renders a man obnoxious to death," since that sin is the<br />

punishment of Adam’s actual sin, which punishment is preceded by guilt, that is, an<br />

obligation to the punishment denounced by the law. With regard to the second member of<br />

the question, it is very easily answered by the distinction of the soliciting, obtaining, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

application of the benefits of Christ. For as a participation of Christ’s benefits consists in<br />

faith alone, it follows that, if among these benefits "deliverance from this guilt" be one,<br />

believers only are delivered from it, since they are those upon whom the wrath of God does<br />

not abide.<br />


4. Are the works of the unregenerate, which proceed from the powers of nature, so<br />

pleasing to God, as to induce Him on account of them to confer supernatural <strong>and</strong> saving<br />

grace on those who perform them?<br />

4. Are a serious consciousness of sin, <strong>and</strong> an initial fear so pleasing to God, that by them He<br />

is induced to forgive sins, <strong>and</strong> to create a filial fear?<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />


Christ says, "To him that hath shall be given, <strong>and</strong> from him that hath not shall be taken<br />

away even that which he hath." Not, indeed, because such is the worthiness <strong>and</strong> the<br />

excellence of the use of any blessing conferred by God, either according to nature or to<br />

grace, that God should be moved by its merits to confer greater benefits; but, because such<br />

are the benignity <strong>and</strong> liberality of God, that, though these works are unworthy, yet He<br />

rewards them with a larger blessing. Therefore, as the word "pleasing" admits of two<br />

meanings, we can reply to the question proposed in two ways — either affirmatively, if that<br />

word be viewed as signifying "to please," "to find favor in his eyes," <strong>and</strong> "to obtain<br />

complacency for itself;" or negatively if "placeo" be received for that which it also signifies,<br />

"to please by its own excellence." Yet it might be said, that good works are rewarded, in a<br />

moral view, not so much through the powers of nature, as by some operation in them of<br />

the Holy Spirit.<br />


5. Can God now, in his own right, require faith from fallen man in Christ, which he cannot<br />

have of himself? But does God bestow on all <strong>and</strong> every one, to whom the Gospel is<br />

preached, sufficient grace by which they may believe, if they will?<br />

5. Can God require that man to believe in Jesus Christ, for whom He has determined by an<br />

absolute decree that Christ should not die, <strong>and</strong> to whom by the same decree He has<br />

determined to refuse the grace necessary for believing?<br />


The parts of this question are not opposed to each other; on the contrary, they are at the<br />

most perfect agreement. So that the latter clause may be considered the rendering of a<br />

reason, why God may require from fallen man faith in Christ, which he cannot have of<br />

himself. For God may require this, since he has determined to bestow on man sufficient<br />

grace by which he may believe. Perhaps, therefore, the question may be thus corrected:<br />

"Can God, now, in his own right, dem<strong>and</strong> from fallen man faith in Christ, which he cannot<br />

have of himself, though God neither bestows on him, nor is ready to bestow, sufficient<br />

grace by which he may believe?" This question will be answered by a direct negative. God<br />

cannot by any right dem<strong>and</strong> from fallen man faith in Christ, which he cannot have of<br />

himself, except God has either bestowed, or is ready to bestow, sufficient grace by which<br />

he may believe if he will. Nor do I perceive what is false in that reply, or to what heresy it<br />

has affinity. It has no alliance with the Pelagian heresy: for Pelagius maintained, that with<br />

the exception of the preaching of the Gospel, no internal grace is required to produce faith<br />

in the minds of men. But what is of more consequence, this reply is not opposed to St.<br />

Augustine’s doctrine of Predestination; "yet this doctrine of his, we do not account it<br />

necessary to establish," as Innocent, the Roman Pontiff, has observed.<br />




PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

6. Is justifying faith the effect <strong>and</strong> the mere gift of God alone, who calls, illuminates, <strong>and</strong><br />

reforms the will? <strong>and</strong> is it peculiar to the elect alone from all eternity?<br />

6. Can that be called a mere gift which, though offered by the pure liberality of Him who<br />

makes the offer, is still capable of being rejected by him to whom it is offered? But does a<br />

voluntary acceptance render it unworthy of the name of a gift? It may likewise be asked, "Is<br />

faith bestowed on these who are to be saved? Or is salvation bestowed on those who have<br />

faith?" Or can both these questions be answered affirmatively in a different respect? If they<br />

can, how is it then that there is not in those decrees a circle, in which nothing is first <strong>and</strong><br />

nothing last?<br />


A double question requires a double answer.<br />

(1.) To the first I reply, Faith is the effect of God illuminating the mind <strong>and</strong> sealing the heart,<br />

<strong>and</strong> it is his mere gift.<br />

(2.) To the second I answer, by making a distinction in the word Election. If it be understood<br />

as signifying Election to salvation; since this, according to the scriptures, is the election of<br />

believers, it cannot be said, "Faith is bestowed on the elect, or on those who are to be<br />

saved," but that "believers are elected <strong>and</strong> saved." But if it be received for the decree by<br />

which God determines variously to administer the means necessary to salvation; in this<br />

sense I say that Faith is the gift of God, which is conferred on those only whom He hath<br />

chosen to this, that they may hear the word of God, <strong>and</strong> be made partakers of the Holy<br />

Spirit.<br />


7. May every one who is a true believer be assured in this life of his individual salvation;<br />

<strong>and</strong> is it his duty to have this assurance?<br />

7. Does justifying faith precede, in the order of nature, remission of sins, or does it not? And<br />

can any man be bound to any other faith than that which justifies?<br />


Since God promises eternal life to all who believe in Christ, it is impossible for him who<br />

believes, <strong>and</strong> who knows that he believes, to doubt of his own salvation, unless he doubts<br />

of this willingness of God [to perform his promise.] But God does not require him to be<br />

better assured of his individual salvation as a duty which must be performed to himself or<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

to Christ; but it is a consequence of that promise, by which God engages to bestow eternal<br />

life on him who believes.<br />


8. May true believers <strong>and</strong> elect persons entirely lose faith for a season?<br />

8. May any man who has faith <strong>and</strong> retains it, arrive at such a moment, as, if he were then to<br />

die, he would be damned?<br />


Since Election to salvation comprehends within its limits not only Faith, but likewise<br />

perseverance in Faith; <strong>and</strong> since St. Augustine says, "God has chosen to salvation those who<br />

he sees will afterwards believe by the aid of his preventing or preceding grace, <strong>and</strong> who will<br />

persevere by the aid of his subsequent or following grace; "believers <strong>and</strong> the elect are not<br />

correctly taken for the same persons. Omitting, therefore, all notice of the word "Election,"<br />

I reply, believers are sometimes so circumstanced, as not to produce, for a season, any<br />

effect of true faith, not even the actual apprehension of grace <strong>and</strong> the promises of God, nor<br />

confidence or trust in God <strong>and</strong> Christ; yet this is the very thing which is necessary to obtain<br />

salvation. But the apostle says, concerning faith, in reference to its being a quality <strong>and</strong> a<br />

capability of believing, "some, having cast away a good conscience concerning faith, have<br />

made shipwreck."<br />


9. Can believers under the grace of the New Covenant, perfectly observe the law of God<br />

in this life?<br />

9. May God, or may He not, require of those who are partakers of the New Covenant, that<br />

the flesh do not lust against the Spirit, as a duty corresponding with the grace of that<br />

covenant?<br />


The performance of the law is to be estimated according to the mind of Him who requires it<br />

to be observed. The answer will be two-fold, since He either wills it to be rigidly observed in<br />

the highest degree of perfection, or only according to epieikeian clemency; that is, if he<br />

require this according to clemency, <strong>and</strong> if the strength or powers which he confers be<br />

proportionate to the dem<strong>and</strong>.<br />

(1.) Man cannot perfectly perform such a law of God, if it be considered as to be performed<br />

according to rigor.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

(2.) But if he require it according to clemency, <strong>and</strong> if the powers conferred be proportionate,<br />

(which must be acknowledged, since He requires it according to the evangelical covenant,)<br />

the answer is, it can be perfectly observed. But the question about capability is not of such<br />

great importance, "provided a man confesses that it is possible to be done by the grace of<br />

Christ," as St. Augustine justly observes.<br />


In reply to some queries which Uytenbogard had addressed to Arminius, concerning these<br />

nine questions <strong>and</strong> their opposites, the latter gave his friend the following explanation, in a<br />

letter dated the 31st of January, 1606:<br />

"1. In answer to the First Question, this is the order of the decrees.<br />

(1.) It is my will to save believers.<br />

(2.) On this man I will bestow faith <strong>and</strong> preserve him in it.<br />

(3.) I will save this man. For thus does the first of these decrees prescribe, which must<br />

necessarily be placed foremost; because, without this, faith is not necessary to salvation,<br />

<strong>and</strong> therefore no necessity exists to administer the means for faith. But to this is directly<br />

opposed the opinion which asserts, that faith is bestowed on him on whom God had<br />

previously willed to bestow salvation. For, in this case, it would be his will to save one who<br />

did not believe. All that has been said about the difference of the decree <strong>and</strong> its execution,<br />

is futile; as if, in fact, God willed salvation to any one prior to faith, <strong>and</strong> yet not to bestow<br />

salvation on any others than believers. For, beside the consistent agreement of these, [the<br />

decree <strong>and</strong> its execution,] it is certain that God cannot will to bestow that which, on<br />

account of his previous decree, He cannot bestow. As therefore faith is, in a general manner,<br />

placed before salvation by the first decree; so it must, specially <strong>and</strong> particularly, be placed<br />

before the salvation of this <strong>and</strong> that man, even in the special decree which has the<br />

subsequent execution.<br />

"3. To the Third Question I shall in preference oppose the following: Has God determined<br />

peremptorily to act with some men according to the strict rigor of the law, as He did with<br />

the fallen angels, <strong>and</strong> to act with others according to the grace of the Gospel? If they deny<br />

this, I have what I wish. But if they affirm it, such a sentiment must be overwhelmed with<br />

absurdities; because in such a case God would have acted towards many men with greater<br />

severity, than towards the fallen angels, who, as being creatures purely spiritual, each<br />

sinned of himself, through his own wickedness without persuasion from any one.<br />

"4. They will not be able to deny my Fourth opposite Question. For remission is promised to<br />

those who confess their sins; <strong>and</strong> the fear is called initial in reference to the filial fear which<br />

follows. If they acknowledge it, but say, ‘Yet God is not induced by them;’ I will then<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

comm<strong>and</strong> them to erase the same word out of their interrogatory, <strong>and</strong> in a better form to<br />

enunciate their own opinion.<br />

"5. They will not consider it their duty entirely to deny my Fifth opposing Question. If they<br />

affirm it, they will declare a falsehood, <strong>and</strong> will incur the ill opinion of all prudent persons,<br />

even of those who are weak. Let them therefore search out what they may place as an<br />

intermediate postulate between theirs <strong>and</strong> mine, <strong>and</strong> I will then show that it co-incides<br />

either with their postulate or with mine.<br />

"6. I have placed two questions in opposition to the Sixth, because their question is also a<br />

double one. On the First of them you require no observation. About the Second I have said,<br />

for the sake of explanation, ‘that it is a circle, in which nothing is first <strong>and</strong> nothing last,’ but<br />

in every part of it a beginning <strong>and</strong> an end are found — which cannot, without absurdity,<br />

have place in the decrees of God. I ask, has God determined to bestow salvation on those<br />

who believe, or to bestow faith on those who are to be saved? If both of these be asserted,<br />

I ask, which of them is the first, <strong>and</strong> which the last? They will reply, neither; <strong>and</strong> it is then a<br />

circle. If they affirm the latter, that God has determined to bestow faith on those who are<br />

to be saved; I will prove, that He has determined to bestow salvation on those who believe,<br />

<strong>and</strong> shall then have formed a circle, notwithst<strong>and</strong>ing their unwillingness. If they adduce the<br />

different respect, I will endeavor to confute it; which cannot be a work of much difficulty in<br />

so very plain a matter.<br />

"7. In the Seventh opposite Question, I had regard to the expression, is it his duty? for<br />

about its possibility there is no contention. But justifying faith is not that by which I believe<br />

that my sins are remitted; for thus the same thing will be the object <strong>and</strong> the effect of<br />

justifying faith. By this [justifying faith] I obtain remission of sins, therefore it precedes the<br />

other object; [the remission of sins;] <strong>and</strong> no one can believe that his sins are remitted,<br />

unless he knows that he believes by a justifying faith. For this reason, also, no one can<br />

believe that his future sins will likewise be remitted, unless he knows that he will believe to<br />

the end. For sins are forgiven to him who believes, <strong>and</strong> only after they have been<br />

committed; wherefore the promise of forgiveness, which is that of the New Testament,<br />

must be considered as depending on a condition stipulated by God, that is FAITH, without<br />

which there is no covenant.<br />

"8. With respect to the Eighth Question, let a distinction be made between Faith as it is a<br />

quality or habit, <strong>and</strong> between the same as it is an art. Actual believing justifies, or the act of<br />

believing is imputed for righteousness. Because God requires actual faith; for our capability<br />

to perform which, He infuses that which is habitual. Therefore, as actual faith does not<br />

consist with moral sin, he who falls into mortal sin may be damned. But it is possible for a<br />

believer to fall into mortal sin, of which David is seen as an instance Therefore, he may fall<br />

at such a moment as, if he were then to die, he would be damned. ‘If our heart condemn us<br />

not, then have we confidence toward God.’ Therefore, if it does condemn us, we have no<br />

confidence, we cannot have any; because ‘God is greater than our heart, <strong>and</strong> knoweth all<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

things.’ What is said about the impossibility of this event, because, God has determined not<br />

to take such persons out of the world at that moment, conduces nothing in favor of their<br />

hypothesis. For this is opposed to final destruction, not to temporary, <strong>and</strong> to their total<br />

destruction for a season, which is the subject of their Eighth Question.<br />

"9. If it be replied to my Ninth opposing Question, that, in the covenant of grace, God<br />

requires a duty which is impossible to man; they will be forced to confess, that, in addition<br />

to this covenant, another is necessary, according to which God pardons a duty not<br />

performed according to that covenant of grace; as it was necessary that there should be<br />

another covenant, by which God might pardon a duty not performed according to the legal<br />

covenant. And thus shall we proceed on ad infinitum. At length we must arrive at the point<br />

from which we can say, God save sinners, of his infinite mercy, which is limited by no<br />

conditions prescribed by his equity. This seems to be an expression which will be entirely<br />

conformable to the whole doctrine of those who urge absolute predestination, For, since<br />

wrath <strong>and</strong> mercy are opposed to each other, as wrath is infinite, may not mercy too, be<br />

infinite? According to their doctrine, whatever they oppose to the contrary, wrath makes<br />

men sinners, that it may have those whom it can punish. But they expressly say, mercy<br />

makes men believers by an omnipotent force, <strong>and</strong> preserves them from the possibility of<br />

falling, that it may have those whom it can save. But, as Nicasius Van der Schuer says, if God<br />

could make a sinner, that He might have one whom He could punish; He could also punish<br />

without sin; therefore He could likewise mercifully save without faith. And as Wrath willed<br />

to have a just title for damnation, through the intervention of sin, so it became Mercy to<br />

save, without the intervention of any duty, that it might be manifest that the whole is of<br />

mercy without the semblance of justice. I say, without the semblance of justice; because it<br />

begets faith by an irresistible force, <strong>and</strong> by an irresistible force it causes man to continue in<br />

faith to the end, <strong>and</strong> thus necessarily to be saved, according to the decree, he that believes<br />

<strong>and</strong> perseveres, shall be saved This being laid down, all equity is excluded, as well from the<br />

decree of predestination to salvation, as from that of predestination to death. These<br />

objections, I am conscientiously of opinion, may, without calumny, be made to their<br />

sentiments; <strong>and</strong> I am prepared to maintain this very thing against any patron whatsoever of<br />

those sentiments. For they do not extricate themselves when they say, that man<br />

spontaneously sins, <strong>and</strong> believes by a spontaneous motion. For that which is spontaneous,<br />

<strong>and</strong> that which is natural, are not in opposition. And that which is spontaneous coincides<br />

with that which is absolutely necessary; as, a stone is moved downwards; a beast eats, <strong>and</strong><br />

propagates its species; man loves that which is good for himself. But all excuses terminate<br />

in this spontaneous matter."<br />



1. The first in order of the divine decrees is not that of predestination, by which God<br />

foreordained to supernatural ends, <strong>and</strong> by which he resolved to save <strong>and</strong> to condemn, to<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

declare his mercy <strong>and</strong> his punitive justice, <strong>and</strong> to illustrate the glory of his saving grace, <strong>and</strong><br />

of his wisdom <strong>and</strong> power which correspond with that most free grace.<br />

2. The object of predestination to supernatural ends, to salvation <strong>and</strong> death, to the<br />

demonstration of the mercy <strong>and</strong> punitive justice, or of the saving grace, the wisdom, <strong>and</strong><br />

the most free power of God, is not rational creatures indefinitely foreknown, <strong>and</strong> capable<br />

of salvation, of damnation, of creation, of falling, <strong>and</strong> of reparation or of being recovered.<br />

3. Nor is the subject some particular creatures from among those who are considered in<br />

this manner.<br />

4. The difference between the vessels to honor <strong>and</strong> those to dishonor, that is, of mercy <strong>and</strong><br />

wrath, does not appertain to the adorning or perfection of the universe or of the house of<br />

God.<br />

5. The entrance of sin into the world does not appertain to the beauty of the universe.<br />

6. Creation in the upright state of original righteousness is not a means for executing the<br />

decree of predestination, or of election, or of reprobation.<br />

7. It is horrid to affirm, that "the way of reprobation is creation in the upright state of<br />

original righteousness;" (Gomarus, in his Theses on Predestination;) <strong>and</strong> in this very<br />

assertion are propounded two contrary volitions of God concerning one <strong>and</strong> the same<br />

thing.<br />

8. It is a horrible affirmation, that "God has predestinated whatsoever men he pleased not<br />

only to damnation, but likewise to the causes of damnation." (Beza, vol. I, fol. 417.)<br />

9. It is a horrible affirmation, that "men are predestinated to eternal death by the naked<br />

will or choice of God, without any demerit on their part." (Calvin, Inst. l. I, c. 2, 3.)<br />

10. This, also, is a horrible affirmation: "Some among men have been created unto life<br />

eternal, <strong>and</strong> others unto death eternal."<br />

11. It is not a felicitous expression, that "preparation unto destruction is not to be referred<br />

to any other thing, than to the secret counsel of God."<br />

12. Permission for the fall [of Adam] into sin, is not the means of executing the decree of<br />

predestination, or of election, or of reprobation.<br />

13. It is an absurd assertion, that "the demerits of the reprobate are the subordinate means<br />

of bringing them onward to destined destruction."<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

14. It is a false assertion, that "the efficient <strong>and</strong> sufficient cause <strong>and</strong> matter of<br />

predestination are thus found in those who are reprobated."<br />

15. The elect are not called "vessels of mercy" in the relation of means to the end, but<br />

because mercy is the only moving cause, by which is made the decree itself of<br />

predestination to salvation.<br />

16. No small injury is inflicted on Christ as mediator, when he is called "the subordinate<br />

cause of destined salvation."<br />

17. The predestination of angels <strong>and</strong> of men differ so much from each other, that no<br />

property of God can be prefixed to both of them unless it be received in an ambiguous<br />

acceptation.<br />


1. The creation of things out of nothing is the very first of all the external acts of God; nor is<br />

it possible for any act to be prior to this, or conceived to be prior to it; <strong>and</strong> the decree<br />

concerning creation is the first of all the decrees of God; because the properties according<br />

to which he performs <strong>and</strong> operates all things, are, in the first impulse of his nature, <strong>and</strong> in<br />

his first egress, occupied about nihility or nothing, when those properties are borne, ad<br />

extra, "outwards."<br />

2. God has formed two creatures rational <strong>and</strong> capable of things divine; ONE of them is<br />

purely spiritual <strong>and</strong> invisible, <strong>and</strong> [that is the class of] angels; but the OTHER is partly<br />

corporeal <strong>and</strong> partly spiritual, visible <strong>and</strong> invisible, <strong>and</strong> [that is the class of] men; <strong>and</strong> the<br />

perfection of this universe seeing to have required the formation of these two [classes of]<br />

creatures.<br />

3. QUERY. — Did it not become the manifold wisdom of God, <strong>and</strong> was it not suitable to the<br />

difference by which these two rational creatures were distinguished at the very creation,<br />

that, in the mode <strong>and</strong> circumstances of imparting eternal life to angels <strong>and</strong> to men, he<br />

might act in a different manner with the former from that which he adopts towards the<br />

latter? It appears that he might do so.<br />

4. But two general methods may be mentally conceived by us, ONE of which is through the<br />

strict observance of the law laid down, without hope of pardon if any transgression were<br />

committed; but the OTHER is through the remission of sins, though a law agreeable to their<br />

nature was likewise to be prescribed by a peremptory decree to men, with whom it was not<br />

the will of God to treat in a strict manner <strong>and</strong> according to the utmost rigor; <strong>and</strong> obedience<br />

was to be required from them without a promise or pardon.<br />

5. The image <strong>and</strong> likeness of God, after which man was created, belongs partly to the very<br />

nature of man, so that, without it, man cannot be man; but it partly consists in those things<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

which concern supernatural, heavenly <strong>and</strong> spiritual things. The former class comprises the<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>ing, the affections, <strong>and</strong> the will, which is free; but the latter, the knowledge of<br />

God <strong>and</strong> of things divine, righteousness, true holiness, etc.<br />

6. With respect to essence <strong>and</strong> adequate objects, the faith by which Adam believed in God<br />

is not the same as that by which he believed in God after the promise made concerning the<br />

Blessed Seed, <strong>and</strong> not the same as that by which we believe the gospel of Christ.<br />

7. Without doing any wrong to God, to Adam, <strong>and</strong> to the truth itself, it may be said, that in<br />

his primeval state Adam neither received or possessed a Proximate capability of<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>ing, believing, or performing any thing whatsoever which could be necessary to<br />

be understood, believed, or performed by him, in any state whatsoever at which it was<br />

possible for him to arrive, either by his own endeavors or by the gift of God, though he<br />

must have had a remote capability, otherwise something essential would still have been to<br />

be created within man himself.<br />

8. The liberty of the will consists in this — when all the requisites for willing or not willing<br />

are laid down, man is still indifferent to will or not to will, to will this rather than that. This<br />

indifference is removed by the previous determination, by which the will is circumscribed<br />

<strong>and</strong> absolutely determined to the one part or to the other of the contradiction or<br />

contrariety; <strong>and</strong> this predetermination, therefore, does not consist with the liberty of the<br />

will, which requires not only free capability, but also tree use in the very exercise of it.<br />

9. Internal necessity is as repugnant to liberty as external necessity is; nay, external<br />

necessity does not necessitate to act except by the intervention of that which is internal.<br />

10. Adam either possessed, or had ready <strong>and</strong> prepared for him, sufficient grace, whether it<br />

were habitual or assisting, to obey the comm<strong>and</strong> imposed on him, both that comm<strong>and</strong><br />

which was symbolical <strong>and</strong> ceremonial, <strong>and</strong> that which was moral. ………………<br />


1. Though sin can be committed by none except by a rational creature, <strong>and</strong>, therefore,<br />

ceases to be sin by this very circumstance if the cause of it be ascribed to God; yet it seems<br />

possible, by four arguments, to fasten this charge on our divines. "It follows from their<br />

doctrine that God is the author of sin."<br />

2. First reason. — Because they teach that, "without foresight of sin, God absolutely<br />

determined to declare his own glory through punitive justice <strong>and</strong> mercy, in the salvation of<br />

some men <strong>and</strong> in the damnation of others."<br />

Or, as others of them assert, "God resolved to illustrate his own glory by the demonstration<br />

of saving grace, wisdom, wrath, ability, <strong>and</strong> most free power, in the salvation of some<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

particular men, <strong>and</strong> in the eternal damnation of others; which neither can be done, nor has<br />

been done, without the entrance of sin into the world."<br />

3. Second reason. — Because they teach "that, in order to attain to that chief <strong>and</strong> supreme<br />

end, God ordained that man should sin <strong>and</strong> become corrupt, by which thing God might<br />

open a way to himself for the execution of this decree."<br />

4. Third reason. — Because they teach "that God has either denied to man, or has<br />

withdrawn from man, before he sinned, grace necessary <strong>and</strong> sufficient to avoid sin;" which<br />

is equivalent to this — as if God had imposed a law on man which was simply impossible to<br />

be performed or observed by his very nature.<br />

5. Fourth reason. — Because they attribute to God some acts, partly external, partly<br />

mediate, <strong>and</strong> partly immediate, which, being once laid down, man was not able to do<br />

otherwise than commit sin by necessity of a consequent <strong>and</strong> antecedent to the thing itself,<br />

which entirely takes away all liberty; yet without this liberty a man cannot be considered, or<br />

reckoned, as being guilty of the commission of sin.<br />

6. A Fifth reason. — Testimonies of the same description may be added in which our<br />

divines assert, in express words, that "the reprobate cannot escape the necessity of sinning,<br />

especially since this kind of necessity is injected through the appointment of God." (Calvin’s<br />

Institutes, Lib. 2, 23.)<br />


1. Adam was able to continue in goodness <strong>and</strong> to refrain from sinning, <strong>and</strong> this in reality<br />

<strong>and</strong> in reference to the issue, <strong>and</strong> not only by capability not to be brought into action on<br />

account of some preceding decree of God, or rather not possible to lead to an act by that<br />

preceding decree.<br />

2. Adam sinned freely <strong>and</strong> voluntarily, without any necessity, either internal or external.<br />

3. Adam did not fall through the decree of God, neither through being ordained to fall nor<br />

through desertion, but through the mere permission of God, which is placed in<br />

subordination to no predestination either to salvation or to death, but which belongs to<br />

providence so far as it is distinguished in opposition to predestination.<br />

4. Adam did not fall necessarily, either with respect to a decree, appointment, desertion, or<br />

permission, from which it is evident what kind of judgment ought to be formed concerning<br />

expressions of the following description:<br />

5. "I confess, indeed, that by the will of God all the sons of Adam have fallen into this<br />

miserable condition in which they are bound <strong>and</strong> fastened." (Calvin’s Institute, lib. 3, cap.<br />

23.)<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

6. "They deny, in express words, the existence of this fact — that it was decreed by God<br />

that Adam should perish by his own defection."<br />

7. "God foreknew what result man would have, became he thus ordained it by his decree."<br />

8. "God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, but by his own will he ordained it."<br />


1. Original sin is not that actual sin by which Adam transgressed the law concerning the tree<br />

of knowledge of good <strong>and</strong> evil, <strong>and</strong> on account of which we have all been constituted<br />

sinners, <strong>and</strong> rendered obnoxious or liable to death <strong>and</strong> condemnation.<br />

2. QUERIES. — Is original sin only the absence or want of original righteousness <strong>and</strong> of<br />

primeval holiness, with an inclination to commit sin, which likewise formerly existed in man,<br />

though it was not so vehement nor so inordinate as now it is, on account of the lost favor of<br />

God, his malediction, <strong>and</strong> the loss of that good by which that inclination was reduced to<br />

order? Or is it a certain infused habit (or acquired ingress) contrary to righteousness <strong>and</strong><br />

holiness, after that sin had been committed,<br />

3. Does original sin render men obnoxious to the wrath of God, when they have been<br />

previously constituted sinners on account of the actual sin of Adam, <strong>and</strong> rendered liable to<br />

damnation?<br />

4. Adam, when considered in this state, after sin <strong>and</strong> prior to restoration, was not bound at<br />

once to punishment <strong>and</strong> obedience, but only to punishment. ……………<br />


1. QUERIES. — Out of the fallen human race, or out of the mass of corruption <strong>and</strong> perdition,<br />

has God absolutely chosen some particular men to life, <strong>and</strong> absolutely reprobated others to<br />

death, without any consideration of the good of the one or of the evil of the other? And<br />

from a just decree, which is both gracious <strong>and</strong> severe, is there such a requisite condition as<br />

this in the object which God is about to elect <strong>and</strong> to save, or to reprobate <strong>and</strong> condemn?<br />

2. Is any man damned with death eternal, solely on account of the sin of Adam?<br />

3. Are those who are thus the elect necessarily saved on account of the efficacy of grace,<br />

which has been destined to them only that they may not be able to do otherwise than<br />

assent to it, as it is irresistible,<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

4. Are those who are thus the reprobate necessarily damned, because either no grace at all,<br />

or not sufficient, has been destined to them, that they may assent to it <strong>and</strong> believe,<br />

5. Or rather, according to St. Augustine, Are those who are thus the elect assuredly saved,<br />

because God decreed to employ grace on them as he knew was suitable <strong>and</strong> congruous<br />

that they might be persuaded <strong>and</strong> saved; though if regard be had to the internal efficacy of<br />

grace, they may not be advanced or benefited by it,<br />

6. Are those who have thus been reprobated certainly damned, because God does not<br />

apply to them grace as he knows to be suitable <strong>and</strong> congruous, though in the mean time<br />

they are supplied with sufficient grace, that they may be able to yield their assent <strong>and</strong> be<br />

saved,<br />



1. The first decree concerning the salvation of sinful men, as that by which God resolves to<br />

appoint his Son Jesus Christ as a savior, mediator, redeemer, high priest, <strong>and</strong> one who may<br />

expiate sins, by the merit of his own obedience may recover lost salvation, <strong>and</strong> dispense it<br />

by his efficacy.<br />

2. The SECOND DECREE is that by which God resolves to receive into favor those who<br />

repent <strong>and</strong> believe, <strong>and</strong> to save in Christ, on account of Christ, <strong>and</strong> through Christ, those<br />

who persevere, but to leave under sin <strong>and</strong> wrath those who are impenitent <strong>and</strong> unbelievers,<br />

<strong>and</strong> to condemn them as aliens from Christ.<br />

3. The THIRD DECREE is that by which God resolves to administer such means for<br />

repentance <strong>and</strong> faith as are necessary, sufficient, <strong>and</strong> efficacious. And this administration is<br />

directed according to the wisdom of God, by which he knows what is suitable or becoming<br />

to mercy <strong>and</strong> severity; it is also according to his righteousness, by which he is prepared to<br />

follow <strong>and</strong> execute [the directions] of his wisdom.<br />

4. From these follows a FOURTH DECREE, concerning the salvation of these particular<br />

persons, <strong>and</strong> the damnation of those. This rests or depends on the prescience <strong>and</strong> foresight<br />

of God, by which he foreknew from all eternity what men would, through such<br />

administration, believe by the aid of preventing or preceding grace, <strong>and</strong> would persevere by<br />

the aid of subsequent or following grace, <strong>and</strong> who would not believe <strong>and</strong> persevere.<br />

5. Hence, God is said to "know those who are his;" <strong>and</strong> the number both of those who are<br />

to be saved, <strong>and</strong> of those who are to be damned, is certain <strong>and</strong> fixed, <strong>and</strong> the quod <strong>and</strong> the<br />

qui, [the substance <strong>and</strong> the parties of whom it is composed,] or, as the phrase of the<br />

schools is, both materially <strong>and</strong> formally.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

6. The second decree [described in &sect; 2] is predestination to salvation, which is the<br />

foundation of Christianity, salvation, <strong>and</strong> of the assurance of salvation; it is also the matter<br />

of the gospel, <strong>and</strong> the substance of the doctrine taught by the apostles.<br />

7. But that predestination by which God is said to have decreed to save particular creatures<br />

<strong>and</strong> persons <strong>and</strong> to endue them with faith, is neither the foundation of Christianity, of<br />

salvation, nor of the assurance of salvation.<br />


1. QUERIES. — Is it possible for true believers to fall away totally <strong>and</strong> finally:<br />

2. Do some of them, in reality, totally <strong>and</strong> finally fall from the faith?<br />

3. The opinion which denies "that true believers <strong>and</strong> regenerate persons are either capable<br />

of falling away or actually do fall away from the faith totally <strong>and</strong> finally," was never, from<br />

the very times of the apostles down to the present day, accounted by the church as a<br />

catholic doctrine. Neither has that which affirms the contrary ever been reckoned as a<br />

heretical opinion; nay, that which affirms it possible for believers to fall away from the faith,<br />

has always had more supporters in the church of Christ, than that which denies its<br />

possibility of its actually occurring.<br />


1. QUERIES. — Is it possible for any believer, without a special revelation, to be certain or<br />

assured that he will not decline or fall away from the faith,<br />

2. Are those who have faith, bound to believe that they will not decline from the faith?<br />

3. The affirmative of either of these questions was never accounted in the church of Christ<br />

as a catholic doctrine; <strong>and</strong> the denial of either of them has never been adjudged by the<br />

church universal as a heresy.<br />

4. The persuasion by which any believer assuredly persuades himself that it is impossible<br />

for him to decline from the faith, or that, at least, he will not decline from the faith, does<br />

not conduce so much to consolation against despair or against the doubting that is adverse<br />

to faith <strong>and</strong> hope, as it contributes to security, a thing directly opposed to that most<br />

salutary fear with which we are comm<strong>and</strong>ed to work out our salvation, <strong>and</strong> which is<br />

exceedingly necessary in this scene of temptations.<br />

5. He who is of opinion that it is possible for him to decline from the faith, <strong>and</strong> who,<br />

therefore, is afraid lest he should decline, is neither destitute of necessary consolation, nor<br />

is he on this account, tormented with anxiety of mind. For it suffices to inspire consolation<br />

<strong>and</strong> to exclude anxiety, when he knows that he will decline from the faith through no force<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

of Satan, of sin, or of the world, <strong>and</strong> through no inclination or weakness of his own flesh,<br />

unless he willingly <strong>and</strong> of his own accord, yield to temptation, <strong>and</strong> neglect to work out his<br />

salvation in a conscientious manner.<br />

So here are the basic biblical themes <strong>and</strong> passages that I think point towards the Arminian<br />

position being more biblical:<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



A<br />


Luis de Molina (1535-1600)<br />

<strong>and</strong> .<br />

16th Century Spanish Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina (1535-1600), <strong>and</strong> Pedro da Fonseca<br />

(1528-1599)attempted to reconcile the problem of predestination due to foreknowledge of<br />

God with human free will using the principle of probability.<br />

(Wikipaedia)<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

God’s knowledge in a sequence of three logical moments.<br />

The first is God's knowledge of necessary truths or natural knowledge.<br />

Natural Knowledge: God knows the range of all possible worlds.These truths are<br />

independent of God's will <strong>and</strong> are non-contingent.<br />

This knowledge includes the full range of logical possibilities.<br />

Examples include statements like,<br />

"All bachelors are unmarried" or<br />

"X cannot be A <strong>and</strong> non-A at the same time,<br />

Everything that could be.<br />

In the same way, at the same place" or<br />

"It is possible that X obtain".<br />

This knowledge is simply the logic of thinking <strong>and</strong> its relation to the case in consideration.<br />

The second is called “middle knowledge”<br />

It contains the range of possible things that would happen given certain circumstances.<br />

This gives all possibilities. One of this will have to happen.<br />

God knows all the feasible worlds he could create.<br />

Everything that would be.<br />

The third kind of knowledge is God's free knowledge.<br />

This type of knowledge consists of contingent truths that are dependent upon God's will; or<br />

truths that God brings about, that He does not have to bring about.<br />

Examples might include statements like<br />

"God created the earth"<br />

or something particular about this world which God has actualized.<br />

This is called God’s “free knowledge” <strong>and</strong> it contains the future or what will happen.<br />

God knows all truths about the actual world.<br />

Everything that will be.<br />

In between God’s natural <strong>and</strong> free knowledge is His middle knowledge (or scientia media)<br />

by which God knows what His free creatures would do under any circumstance.<br />

These are truths that do not have to be true, but are true without God being the primary<br />

cause of them.<br />

"If you entered the ice cream shop, you would choose chocolate" is an example of a<br />

statement God knows via middle.knowledge.<br />

Given a whole array of possible worlds (that God knows), given worlds in which men <strong>and</strong><br />

women were free in the relevant indeterministic sense, God knows what they would freely<br />

choose in every possible circumstance.<br />

This is the most probable action or event within the middle distribution.<br />

This is true for all possible people <strong>and</strong> all possible circumstances. God has this middle<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

knowledge by inspection of all the possibilities that the free will of each person<br />

might choose.<br />

This middle knowledge or most probable action in itself does not guarantee the accuracy of<br />

the event happenning. With perfect omniscience of God, why does he need the<br />

probability determination? Not only is middle knowledge unnecessary to an all-knowing,<br />

all-decreeing God, but the Molinists’ conception of free will makes it impossible for God to<br />

exercise providential control over his creation. Why? Because men <strong>and</strong> women would be<br />

free to resist His decree. God can only bring to pass the actions of free agents via his middle<br />

knowledge of what they would freely do if.<br />

This method of forecast is nothing new in the modern life. We do this with weather<br />

forecast, for predicting share market behavior <strong>and</strong> many other things.<br />

Further, given the Molinist view of freedom, it is impossible for God to bring about the<br />

conversion of any person by the exercise of His effective call, for in the view of the Molinists<br />

it is always possible for an individual to resist God’s grace. It gives the freedom of will but<br />

not absolute omniscience of God nor absolute predeterminantion of the event happenning.<br />

The actual prophecies in the bible are probably based on this third knowledge. In fact<br />

Bible does not require every prophecy to come to pass exactly because of that. This is<br />

understood because the purpose of prophecy is to correct <strong>and</strong> redirect.<br />

Debate between Jesuit Molinists <strong>and</strong> Dominicans<br />

In 1581, a heated argument erupted between the Jesuits, who advocated Molinism, <strong>and</strong><br />

the Dominicans, who had a different underst<strong>and</strong>ing of God's foreknowledge <strong>and</strong> the nature<br />

of predestination. In 1597, Pope Clement VIII established the Congregatio de Auxiliis, a<br />

committee whose purpose was to settle this controversy. In 1607, Pope Paul V ended the<br />

quarrel by forbidding each side to accuse the other of heresy, allowing both views to exist<br />

side-by-side in the Catholic Church.<br />

Biblical texts for Molinism<br />

Molinists have often argued that their position is the Biblical one by indicating passages<br />

they underst<strong>and</strong> to teach God's middle knowledge.<br />

Molina advanced the following three texts: 1 Samuel 23:8-14, Proverbs 4:11, <strong>and</strong> Matthew<br />

11:23. Other passages which Molinists use are Ezekiel 3:6-7, Jeremiah 38:17-18, 1<br />

Corinthians 2:8, Deuteronomy 28:51-57, Matthew 23:27-32, Matthew 12:7, Matthew 24:43,<br />

Luke 16:30-31, <strong>and</strong> Luke 22:67-68. William Lane Craig has argued at length that many of<br />

Christ's statements seem to indicate middle knowledge. Craig cites the following passages:<br />

Matthew 17:27, John 21:6, John 15:22-24, John 18:36, Luke 4:24-44 <strong>and</strong> Matthew 26:24.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Isaiah 46:10–11<br />

10<br />

Declaring the end from the beginning,<br />

And from ancient times things that are not yet done,<br />

Saying, ‘My counsel shall st<strong>and</strong>,<br />

And I will do all My pleasure,’<br />

11<br />

Calling a bird of prey from the east,<br />

The man r who executes My counsel, from a far country.<br />

Indeed I have spoken it;<br />

I will also bring it to pass.<br />

I have purposed it;<br />

I will also do it.<br />

In this passage God clearly states how he can bring it to pass by controlling the cause effect<br />

relations <strong>and</strong> his omnipotence. It appears that even though God can bring it pass, he does<br />

not have to, giving freedom. Freedom is given by the sovereign by not interfering with<br />

the subject. But as Isaiah says God can always bring it pass, if he wants.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />


WESLEY’S<br />


John Wesley (1703 – 2 March 1791) was an Anglican cleric <strong>and</strong> Christian theologian who<br />

founded the Arminian Methodist movement. The Wesley Methodist Movement began<br />

when Wesley took over open-air preaching started by George Whitefield at Hanham Mount,<br />

Kingswood, <strong>and</strong> Bristol.<br />


Total depravity is affirmed by Wesley, meaning that the fallen human being is<br />

completely helpless <strong>and</strong> in bondage to sin. This means, contrary to popular<br />

misconception, Wesley does not believe that fallen human beings have an inherent<br />

freedom of the will.<br />


The atonement is universal in scope. Christ’s death was sufficient to atone for the sins<br />

of the whole world, not only an elect few, as proposed by five-point <strong>Calvinism</strong>.<br />


Prevenient grace is universally available to all, restoring a measure of freedom so that<br />

the human being can respond to God’s grace. This is how Wesley could affirm that all<br />

human persons were free to respond to God’s grace – but note that the freedom which<br />

humans possess is a measure of freedom (not libertarian freedom) <strong>and</strong> is by grace, not<br />

an inherent endowment that is retained in fallen humanity.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />


Grace is resistible <strong>and</strong> can be rejected, to our own destruction.<br />

all people to himself, but his grace is not coercive.<br />

God is actively drawing<br />


Predestination is therefore based on God’s foreknowledge, not his will. That is, God<br />

corporately predestines all those who respond in faith to salvation, <strong>and</strong> by<br />

foreknowledge he knows who will respond. His foreknowledge does not cause their<br />

response.<br />


Assurance of salvation is given by the Holy Spirit, who witnesses directly to our adoption<br />

as children of God through Christ, <strong>and</strong> is also confirmed indirectly by the fruit of the<br />

Spirit.<br />

“What is an Arminian?”<br />

By John Wesley<br />

1. To say, “This man is an Arminian,” has the same effect on many hearers as to say, “This is<br />

a mad dog.” It puts them into a fright at once. They run away from him with all speed <strong>and</strong><br />

diligence <strong>and</strong> will hardly stop, unless to throw a stone at the dreadful <strong>and</strong> mischievous<br />

animal.<br />

2. The more unintelligible the word is, the better it answers the purpose. Those on whom<br />

it is fixed do not know what to do. Not underst<strong>and</strong>ing what it means, they cannot tell<br />

what defense to make or how to clear themselves from the charge. And it is not easy to<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

remove the prejudice which others have imbibed, who know no more of it than that it is<br />

“something very bad,” if not “all that is bad!”<br />

3. To clear the meaning, therefore, of this ambiguous term, may be useful to many. To<br />

those who so freely pin this name on others, that they may not say what they do not<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>; to those who hear them, that they may be no longer abused by men saying<br />

what they do not know; <strong>and</strong> to those on whom the name is fixed, that they may know how<br />

to answer for themselves.<br />

4. It may be necessary to observe, first, that many confound Arminians with Arians. But<br />

this is entirely a different thing; the one has no resemblance to the other. An Arian is one<br />

who denies the Godhead of Christ – we scarcely need say the supreme, eternal Godhead<br />

because there can be no God but the supreme, eternal God, unless we would make two<br />

Gods, a great God <strong>and</strong> a little one. Now, none have ever more firmly believed or more<br />

strongly asserted the Godhead of Christ than many of the (so called) Arminians have done;<br />

yes, <strong>and</strong> do at this day. <strong>Arminianism</strong> therefore (whatever it is) is totally different from<br />

Arianism.<br />

5. The rise of the word was this: James Harmens, in Latin: Jacobus Arminius, was first one of<br />

the ministers of Amsterdam <strong>and</strong> afterward Professor of Divinity at Leyden. He was<br />

educated at Geneva, but in the year 1591 he began to doubt of the [Calvinist] principles<br />

which he had till then received. And being more <strong>and</strong> more convinced that they were<br />

wrong, when he was vested with the professorship, he publicly taught what he believed the<br />

truth till, in the year 1609, he died in peace. But a few years after his death, some zealous<br />

men with the Prince of Orange at their head, furiously assaulted all those who held what<br />

were called his opinions. And having procured them to be solemnly condemned, in the<br />

famous Synod of Dort (not so numerous or learned, but full as impartial, as the Council or<br />

Synod of Trent), some were put to death, some banished, some imprisoned for life, all<br />

turned out of their employments, <strong>and</strong> made incapable of holding any office, either in<br />

Church or State.<br />

6. The errors charged upon these (usually termed Arminians) by their opponents are five:<br />

(1.) That they deny original sin; (2.) That they deny justification by faith; (3.) That they deny<br />

absolute predestination; (4.) That they deny the grace of God to be irresistible; <strong>and</strong>, (5.)<br />

That they affirm, a believer may fall from grace.<br />

With regard to the first two of these charges they plead, ‘Not Guilty.’ They are entirely<br />

false. No man that ever lived, not John Calvin himself, ever asserted either original sin or<br />

justification by faith in more strong, more clear <strong>and</strong> express terms than Arminius has<br />

done. These two points, therefore, are to be set out of the question. In these both parties<br />

agree. In this respect, there is not a hair’s breadth difference between Mr. Wesley <strong>and</strong> Mr.<br />

Whitefield.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

7. But there is an undeniable difference between the Calvinists <strong>and</strong> Arminians with regard<br />

to the three other questions. Here they divide; the former believe absolute, the latter only<br />

conditional, predestination. The Calvinists hold: God has absolutely decreed from all<br />

eternity to save such <strong>and</strong> such persons, <strong>and</strong> no others; <strong>and</strong> that Christ died for these <strong>and</strong><br />

none else. The Arminians hold: God has decreed from all eternity touching all who have<br />

the written word, “One who believes will be saved; one who does not believe will be<br />

condemned.” And in order to this: “Christ died for all, all who were dead in trespasses <strong>and</strong><br />

sins”; that is, for every child of Adam, since “in Adam all died.”<br />

8. The Calvinists hold, secondly, that the saving grace of God is absolutely irresistible; that<br />

no one is any more able to resist it than to resist the stroke of lightning. The Arminians<br />

hold that, although there may be some moments in which the grace of God acts irresistibly,<br />

yet in general any one may resist, <strong>and</strong> that to his eternal ruin, the grace whereby it was the<br />

will of God he should have been eternally saved.<br />

9. The Calvinists hold, thirdly, that a true believer in Christ cannot possibly fall from<br />

grace. The Arminians hold that a true believer may make ‘shipwreck’ of faith <strong>and</strong> a good<br />

conscience (1 Tim. 1:19), so that he may fall not only foully but finally, so as to perish for<br />

ever.<br />

10. Indeed, the two latter points, irresistible grace <strong>and</strong> infallible perseverance, are the<br />

natural consequence of the former, of the unconditional decree. For if God has eternally<br />

<strong>and</strong> absolutely decreed to save such <strong>and</strong> such persons, it follows both that they cannot<br />

resist His saving grace (else they might miss salvation) <strong>and</strong> that they cannot finally fall from<br />

that grace which they cannot resist. So that, in effect, the three questions come into one:<br />

“Is predestination absolute or conditional?” The Arminians believe it is conditional; the<br />

Calvinists, that it is absolute.<br />

11. Away, then, with all ambiguity! Away with all expressions which only puzzle the<br />

cause! Let honest men speak out, <strong>and</strong> not play with hard words which they do not<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>. And how can any man who has never read one page of his writings know<br />

what Arminius held? Let no man bawl against Arminians till he knows what the term<br />

means, <strong>and</strong> then he will know that Arminians <strong>and</strong> Calvinists are just upon a level. And<br />

Arminians have as much right to be angry at Calvinists as Calvinists have to be angry at<br />

Arminians. John Calvin was a pious, learned, sensible man; <strong>and</strong> so was James Harmens.<br />

Many Calvinists are pious, learned, sensible men; <strong>and</strong> so are many Arminians. Only, the<br />

former hold absolute predestination; the latter, conditional.<br />

12. One word more: is it not the duty of every Arminian preacher, first, never, in public or in<br />

private, to use the word Calvinist as a term of reproach, seeing it is neither better nor<br />

worse than calling names? a practice no more consistent with good sense or good manners<br />

than it is with Christianity. Secondly, to do all that lies in him to prevent his hearers from<br />

doing it, by showing them the sin <strong>and</strong> folly of it? And is it not equally the duty of every<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Calvinist preacher, first, never in public or in private, in preaching or in conversation, to use<br />

the word Arminian as a term of reproach? Secondly, to do all that lies in him to prevent his<br />

hearers from doing it, by showing them the sin <strong>and</strong> folly of it; <strong>and</strong> that the more earnestly<br />

<strong>and</strong> diligently if they have been accustomed to do so? perhaps encouraged in such by his<br />

own example!<br />

– The Essential Works of John Wesley (2011: Barbour Publishing), pp. 1171-3<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



Here are a collection scriptural basis as claimed by the various doctrinal sects collected<br />

from many websites both Calvinistic <strong>and</strong> Arministic sections.<br />




PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Romans 9<br />

This is a major text quoted by the Calvinists<br />

Romans 9:8-24: This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the<br />

children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9<br />

For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, <strong>and</strong><br />

Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had<br />

conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were<br />

not yet born <strong>and</strong> had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s<br />

purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him<br />

who calls– 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is<br />

written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”<br />

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For<br />

he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, <strong>and</strong> I will have<br />

compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human<br />

will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to<br />

Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my<br />

power in you, <strong>and</strong> that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So<br />

then he has mercy on whomever he wills, <strong>and</strong> he hardens whomever he wills.<br />

19You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his<br />

will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded<br />

say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no<br />

right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use<br />

<strong>and</strong> another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath<br />

<strong>and</strong> to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of<br />

wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his<br />

glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforeh<strong>and</strong> for glory– 24<br />

even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the<br />

Gentiles?<br />

Calvinist interpretation:<br />

The passage describes what Sovereignity is all about.<br />

Isaac <strong>and</strong> Jacob are examples of God’s unconditional election<br />

<strong>and</strong> Ishmael, Esau <strong>and</strong> Pharaoh are examples of God’s unconditional reprobation.<br />

Jacob was chosen as against Esaw the first born even before they were born.<br />

The potter metaphor show again the same election of some as against the reprobation of<br />

other pots.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Taking the text in the context:<br />

The context is in 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for<br />

salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first <strong>and</strong> also to the Greek. ”<br />

Salvation is through the gospel.<br />

Salvation is for both the Jew <strong>and</strong> the Gentile even though Jews were elected first. There is<br />

no partiality in the salvation.<br />

The electrion of the Jew was first. Why is this?<br />

They were elected not for salvation but as to be witnesses <strong>and</strong> to serve the Gentiles.<br />

Abraham was selected so that the whole mankind may be blessed.<br />

1Gen 22: 8"In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have<br />

obeyed My voice."<br />

Deut. 7:6 "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen<br />

you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the<br />

earth. 7"The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in<br />

number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8but because the<br />

LORD loved you <strong>and</strong> kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers,<br />

The same election is repeated in 1 Peter:<br />

1 Peter 2: 8-10 “A stone of stumbling <strong>and</strong> a rock of offense.” They stumble because they<br />

disobey the message—<strong>and</strong> to this they were appointed. 9But you are a chosen people, a<br />

royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the<br />

virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10Once you were<br />

not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but<br />

now you have received mercy.…<br />

This election was to be witness. Here again it is not for individuals but for a community - the<br />

church. Of course, the church is a community who believes in Jesus.<br />

“Two nations are in your womb, <strong>and</strong> two peoples from within you shall be divided; the<br />

one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”<br />

In this part Paul explains that Jacob <strong>and</strong> Easaw represens two nations.<br />

Actually Esau never served Jacob. In fact when Jacob returned home, he pays his homage<br />

to Esau as his elder brother. But the generation of Esau - Edom, did serve generations of<br />

Jacob -Israel. Evidently the verse is talking about the two nations <strong>and</strong> not individuals.<br />

Election here is of a community.<br />

Thus it is important to note that the text is not trying to describe unconditional election,<br />

but is in fact denying election by lineage. The Jews thought that they were elect by birth<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

<strong>and</strong> justified by works. In other words, the entered the covenant by birth, <strong>and</strong> maintained it<br />

by works. Paul’s original thesis makes this clear. These examples are not examples of God<br />

choosing Isaac <strong>and</strong> Jacob, but examples of God not choosing Ishmael <strong>and</strong> Esau (as well as<br />

their descendants), even though they were both sons of Abraham.<br />

Ephesians 1:3-12: Blessed be the God <strong>and</strong> Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, for we are<br />

blessed in all spiritual blessings, in the heavenly things, in Christ, seeing that He chose us in<br />

Him before the inception of the world to be holy <strong>and</strong> unblemished within His presence in<br />

love, thus predestining us into adoption to Him through Jesus Christ, according to the good<br />

judgment of His will in praise of His glory <strong>and</strong> His grace by which He favoured us in the<br />

Loved One.<br />

Paul is using the concepts of predestination <strong>and</strong> election to praise God for the inclusion<br />

(or predestining) of the Gentiles in election. Why are these gentiles - as community<br />

outside of Israel - elected? Is there an Abraham behind? There is <strong>and</strong> more so, because<br />

the whole mankind are sons of Adam, son of God. Hence Paul goes on to say:<br />

3:5-6: In former generation this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has<br />

now been revealed to his holy apostles <strong>and</strong> prophets by the Spirit: that is the Gentiles<br />

have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, <strong>and</strong> sharers in the promise in<br />

Christ Jesus through the gospel.<br />

Ephesians 2:8<br />

Ephesians 2:8 For you see it is from grace that you have been saved through faith;<br />

not from yourself. This is a gift of God, not from works so that none may boast.<br />

Faith is not something induced. It is something a person chooes. It has nothing to<br />

do with predestination. It in fact supports human freedom<br />

John 6:36-40 But as I told you, you have seen me <strong>and</strong> still you do not believe. All<br />

that the Father gives me will come to me, <strong>and</strong> whoever comes to me I will never<br />

drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will<br />

of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none<br />

of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is<br />

that everyone who looks to the Son <strong>and</strong> believes in him shall have eternal life, <strong>and</strong> I<br />

will raise him up at the last day.<br />

John 6:44-45 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,<br />

<strong>and</strong> I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all<br />

be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father <strong>and</strong> learns from him comes<br />

to me.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

The Calvinist interpretation: The text is distinguishing between those that follow Jesus <strong>and</strong><br />

those that do not. To be given to the Son implies that the Father unconditionally elected<br />

them <strong>and</strong> then gave them to the Son. Indeed this is emphasized with the word ‘draw’ in<br />

verse 44 which implies being dragged against your will <strong>and</strong> is thus a picture of irresistible<br />

grace. Therefore the point of the passage is the futility of these Jews trying to come to Jesus<br />

on their own, <strong>and</strong> Christ is telling them that they can’t because the Father isn’t drawing<br />

them.<br />

This is actually distinguishing those who believe in Christ because of their faith in God<br />

(essentially talking about the Jews). Jesus is talking to the jews <strong>and</strong> Jesus came as the<br />

mesiah of the Jews <strong>and</strong> is as such talking to them. There is no predestination even<br />

indicated.<br />

Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, <strong>and</strong> glorified the word<br />

of the Lord: <strong>and</strong> as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.<br />

The confusion over the word tasso translated as ‘ordained’. The word tasso doesn’t mean<br />

‘ordain’. It means ‘to set’ or ‘to position’.<br />

The Greek runs as follows: kai (<strong>and</strong>) episteusan (believed[aorist {or past} tense]) hosoi (as<br />

many as[nominative {subject}]) esan (were [verb]) tetagmenoi (positioned [nominative<br />

particple]) eis (into) zoen (life[direct object]) aionion (eternal[adjective])<br />

It should read “ as many as were positioned or set their face towards life eternal.”<br />

“And ones who believed were the ones that were set in eternal life”. This is really the<br />

best rendering.<br />

If anything, the text simply implies that eternal life comes by faith.<br />

Jesus says,<br />

John 6:44“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will<br />

raise him up on the last day.”<br />

God decide who will be drawn to Jesus <strong>and</strong> who won’t be.<br />

John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.”<br />

John 6:65: “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the<br />

Father.”<br />

John 17:6: “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the<br />

world. Yours they were, <strong>and</strong> you gave them to me, <strong>and</strong> they have kept your word.”<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Romans 8:29-30:<br />

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his<br />

Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he<br />

predestined, he also called, <strong>and</strong> those whom he called he also justified, <strong>and</strong> those whom<br />

he justified he also glorified.”<br />

Romans 9:14-24:<br />

“What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to<br />

Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, <strong>and</strong> I will have compassion on whom I<br />

have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who<br />

has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up,<br />

that I might show my power in you, <strong>and</strong> that my name might be proclaimed in all the<br />

earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, <strong>and</strong> he hardens whomever he wills.<br />

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who<br />

are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have<br />

you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same<br />

lump one vessel for honorable use <strong>and</strong> another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring<br />

to show his wrath <strong>and</strong> to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels<br />

of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for<br />

vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforeh<strong>and</strong> for glory— even us whom he has<br />

called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”<br />

Romans 11:5 Paul states, “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.”<br />

God hardened the heart of Pharaoh.<br />

In Exodus 4:21 God tells Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before<br />

Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that<br />

he will not let the people go.”<br />

Romans 6:17-18 Paul writes, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin<br />

have become obedient from the heart to the st<strong>and</strong>ard of teaching to which you were<br />

committed, <strong>and</strong>, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”<br />

Romans 8: 7-8 the Apostle Paul writes, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to<br />

God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh<br />

cannot please God.”<br />

Revelation 3:20? “Behold, I st<strong>and</strong> at the door <strong>and</strong> knock. If anyone hears my voice <strong>and</strong><br />

opens the door, I will come in to him <strong>and</strong> eat with him, <strong>and</strong> he with me.”<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Jesus says, “If any one hears my voice . . .” Can a spiritually deaf person hear the voice of<br />

Jesus?<br />

Romans 11:7-8 th “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect<br />

obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor,<br />

eyes that would not see <strong>and</strong> ears that would not hear, down to this very day.’”<br />

He knocks only on the doors of those who can hear <strong>and</strong> respond. Not on the doors of the<br />

damned.<br />

The Tribal God King picture as presented by Calvin<br />

God does everything for his own glory.<br />

Now how does God bring glory to Himself by making people blind, deaf <strong>and</strong> mute? How<br />

does God bring glory to Himself by giving people “a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see<br />

<strong>and</strong> ears that would not hear (Romans 11:8)”?<br />

The human mind doesn’t underst<strong>and</strong> how, but that is how God works so that in damning<br />

you he gets the glory just like a victor king beheads the defeated kings. It reduces YHVH to<br />

a tribal god.<br />

You better change your idea of a loving God who created the whole mankind <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Universe. He loves them only when he gets the glory. The slightest expresssion of freedom<br />

is destroys that glory <strong>and</strong> you get the hell. What is the glory God gets when his children are<br />

put in the hell <strong>and</strong> are eternally tortured? What a great glory is it! Sorry you don’t<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>. But then you are not to underst<strong>and</strong> it. “My thoughts are not your<br />

thoughts……<br />

The picture presented by Calvin of the God is far from the “God is Love” expessed on the<br />

cross.<br />

The Gnostic Origins of <strong>Calvinism</strong> – October 8, 2013<br />

by Ken Johnson<br />

The Apostle John Corrected Calvinistic Gnostics<br />

The Calvinistic Gnostics believed in the Calvinistic formof predestination <strong>and</strong> that you<br />

could not know for sure if you were truely saved until you died.<br />

John corrected this Gnostic thought by saying you can know you currently have<br />

eternal life (1 John 5:13; 2:25; 4:17).<br />

John also corrected many other Gnostic thoughts in his epistle such as:<br />

Jesus died for the sins of the world, not just certain people (l John 2:2).<br />

You must continue to believe the gospel the way John taught it to remain saved (2<br />

John 9).<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Christians cannot practice sin (1 John 3:6, 9;5:18).<br />

Follow John‘s gospel, not the Gnostic one (l John 4:6).<br />

Jesus‘ sacrifice is the only way of salvation, not that you were bom saved the way the<br />

Gnostics believed (1John 4:l0, 14).<br />

John Calvin Quotes:<br />

http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/files/Complaints/Charge_Dissonance.html<br />

The Fall, Divine Permission <strong>and</strong> the Author of Sin<br />

Will of God is the Cause of all Evil, God is not the author of Evil<br />

“First, it must be observed that the will of God is the cause of all things that happen in the<br />

world; <strong>and</strong> yet God is not the author of evil.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God,<br />

p.169,)<br />

Wrong <strong>and</strong> Unjust things done by man is the just works of God<br />

“Whatever things are done wrongly <strong>and</strong> unjustly by man, these very things are the right <strong>and</strong><br />

just works of God. This may seem paradoxical at first sight to some; but at least they should<br />

not be so offended that they will not suffer me to search the word of God for a little to find<br />

out what should be thought here.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169)<br />

God decreed the fall of Adam <strong>and</strong> did that to please himself<br />

“I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant<br />

children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God? Here the<br />

most loquacious tongues must be dumb. The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; <strong>and</strong> yet it is<br />

impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him,<br />

<strong>and</strong> foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree. Should any one here inveigh<br />

against the prescience of God, he does it rashly <strong>and</strong> unadvisedly. For why, pray, should it be<br />

made a charge against the heavenly Judge, that he was not ignorant of what was to happen?<br />

Thus, if there is any just or plausible complaint, it must be directed against predestination.<br />

Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man,<br />

<strong>and</strong> in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it.” (The Institutes<br />

of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, section 7)<br />

Evil is by permission but not by ordination<br />

“Here they recur to the distinction between will <strong>and</strong> permission, the object being to prove<br />

that the wicked perish only by the permission, but not by the will of God. But why do we<br />

say that he permits, but just because he wills? Nor, indeed, is there any probability in the<br />

thing itself—viz. that man brought death upon himself merely by the permission, <strong>and</strong> not<br />

by the ordination of God; as if God had not determined what he wished the condition of the<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

chief of his creatures to be.” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23,<br />

section 8)<br />

Evil is decreed to bring what He willed.<br />

“To this opinion of this holy man I subscribe: in sinning, they did what God did not will in<br />

order that God through their evil will might do what He willed.” (Concerning the Eternal<br />

Predestination of God, p.123)<br />

Fall of Adam was ordained but Adam is the one who did it.<br />

“So God in ordaining the fall of man had an end most just <strong>and</strong> right which holds the name of<br />

sin in abhorrence. Though I affirm that He ordained it so, I do not allow that He is properly<br />

the author of sin.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.123)<br />

God is the willing Author of Evil<br />

“But it is quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows<br />

Him not only willing but the author of them.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God,<br />

p.176)<br />

If you don’t underst<strong>and</strong> it, it is because it is a secret<br />

“If anyone object that this is beyond his comprehension, I confess it. But what wonder if the<br />

immense <strong>and</strong> incomprehensible majesty of God exceed the limits of our intellect? I am so<br />

far from undertaking the explanation of this sublime, hidden secret, that I wish what I said<br />

at the beginning to be remembered, that those who seek to know more than God has<br />

revealed are crazy. Therefore let us be pleased with instructed ignorance rather than with<br />

the intemperate <strong>and</strong> inquisitive intoxication of wanting to know more than God allows.”<br />

(Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.123)<br />

“But now, removing from God all proximate causation of the act, I at the same time remove<br />

from Him all guilt <strong>and</strong> leave man alone liable. It is therefore wicked <strong>and</strong> calumnious to say<br />

that I make the fall of man one of the works of God. But how it was ordained by the<br />

foreknowledge <strong>and</strong> decree of God what man’s future was without God being implicated as<br />

associate in the fault as the author or approver of transgression, is clearly a secret so much<br />

excelling the insight of the human mind, that I am not ashamed to confess ignorance.”<br />

(Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.123-124)<br />

Calvinist. R.C. Sproul, states: “But Adam <strong>and</strong> Eve were not created fallen. They had no sin<br />

nature. They were good creatures with a free will. Yet they chose to sin. Why? I don’t know.<br />

Nor have I found anyone yet who does know.” (Chosen By God, p.31)<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Monergism vs Synergism<br />

Monergism, which comes from a compound Greek word that means “to work alone,” is<br />

the view that God alone effects our salvation. This view is held primarily by Calvinistic <strong>and</strong><br />

Reformed traditions <strong>and</strong> is closely tied to what is known as the “doctrines of grace.”<br />

The Century Dictionary's definition of monergism may be helpful:<br />

"In theology, [monergism is] the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in<br />

regeneration [the new birth] - that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until<br />

regenerated [born again], <strong>and</strong> therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration."<br />

Monergism simply means that<br />

It is God who gives ears to hear, eyes to see <strong>and</strong> a heart to underst<strong>and</strong> (Deut 29:4, 30:6) .<br />

It is God alone who gives illumination <strong>and</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>ing of His word that we might believe;<br />

It is God who raises us from the dead, who circumcises the heart; unplugs our ears (Ezek<br />

36:26-27);<br />

It is God alone who can give us a new sense that we may, at last, have the moral capacity to<br />

behold His beauty <strong>and</strong> unsurpassed excellency. The apostle John recorded Jesus saying to<br />

Nicodemus that we naturally love darkness, hate the light <strong>and</strong> WILL NOT come into the<br />

light (John 3:19, 20).<br />

And since our hardened resistance to God is thus seated in our affections, only God, by His<br />

grace, can lovingly change, overcome <strong>and</strong> disarm our rebellious disposition. The natural<br />

man, apart from the quickening work of the Holy Spirit, will not come to Christ on his own<br />

since he is at enmity with God <strong>and</strong> cannot underst<strong>and</strong> spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14; Rom 8:7).<br />

Reading or hearing the word of God itself cannot elicit saving faith in the reader (or hearer)<br />

unless the Spirit first "germinates" the seed of the word in the heart, which then infallibly<br />

gives rise to our faith <strong>and</strong> union with Christ. It is said of Lydia that "the Lord opened her<br />

heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul," (Acts 16:14) Likewise, He must also give all<br />

His people spiritual life <strong>and</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>ing if their hearts are to be open <strong>and</strong> thus turn<br />

(respond) to Christ in faith.<br />

Since faith is infinitely beyond all the power of our unregenerated human nature, it is only<br />

God who can give the spiritual ears to hear <strong>and</strong> eyes to see the beauty of Christ in the<br />

gospel.<br />

God alone disarms the hostility of the sinner turning his heart of stone to a heart of flesh.<br />

So the problem of conversion is not with the Word or God's Law but with man's prideful<br />

heart.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

The humility required to submit to the gospel (which is beyond man's natural capacity) is,<br />

therefore, not prompted by man's will but by God's mercy (John 1:13; Rom 9:16) since no<br />

one can believe the gospel unless God grants it (John 6:63, 65).<br />

The Spirit must likewise give all His people spiritual life <strong>and</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>ing if their hearts are<br />

to be opened <strong>and</strong> thus respond to Christ in faith.<br />

Synergism, which also comes from a compound Greek word meaning “to work together,”<br />

is the view that God works together with man in effecting salvation. While monergism is<br />

closely associated with John Calvin, synergism is associated with Jacob Arminius,<br />

James R. Payton discusses the Eastern Orthodox view of the synergism vs monergism<br />

debate as follows:<br />

A distinctive element in the Orthodox underst<strong>and</strong>ing of how the Holy Spirit<br />

works deification within us is the doctrine of "synergy"--"working together."<br />

This working together is the collaboration of God's grace <strong>and</strong> a person's will.<br />

While Western Christianity has argued about the alternatives of "monergism"<br />

<strong>and</strong> "synergism"--that is, the question of whether salvation is accomplished<br />

only by God or by God <strong>and</strong> human beings cooperating--this issue did not<br />

become a tension within Orthodoxy. Eastern Christendom has not focused on<br />

the issues of guilt, debt, questions of merit <strong>and</strong> so on, that flowed from the<br />

juridical approach of the Christian West <strong>and</strong> made the monergism/synergism<br />

issue a matter of concern. Orthodoxy insists on synergy, but Orthodox teaching<br />

approaches the question of divine grace <strong>and</strong> human will working together from<br />

quite a different perspective.<br />

The Eastern Orthodox view of synergism holds that "humans beings always have the<br />

freedom to choose, in their personal (gnomic) wills, whether to walk with God or turn from<br />

Him", but "what God does is incomparably more important than what we humans do".<br />

"To describe the relation between the grace of God <strong>and</strong> human freedom, Orthodoxy uses<br />

the term cooperation or synergy (synergeia); in Paul's words, 'We are fellow-workers<br />

(synergoi) with God' (1 Corinthians iii, 9). If we are to achieve full fellowship with God, we<br />

cannot do so without God's help, yet we must also play our own part: we humans as well as<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

God must make our contribution to the common work, although what God does is of<br />

immeasurably greater importance than what we do."[16] "For the regenerated to do<br />

spiritual good — for the works of the believer being contributory to salvation <strong>and</strong> wrought<br />

by supernatural grace are properly called spiritual — it is necessary that he be guided <strong>and</strong><br />

Arminian Protestants share this underst<strong>and</strong>ing of synergism, i.e., regeneration as the fruit<br />

of free will's cooperation with grace.<br />

Lutheranism > Monergistic Salvation <strong>and</strong> Synergistic Damnation<br />

Lutheranism asserts a monergistic salvation <strong>and</strong> a synergistic damnation.<br />

God wills that all might be saved (1 Tim 2:3-6, Rom. 11:32, etc.) <strong>and</strong> hence offers the gift of<br />

salvation through the Holy Spirit to all while man is still the uncooperative enemy of God<br />

(Rom. 5:8,10).<br />

The fallen man may continue in resisting God's grace of the free gift of salvation (ex: Matt.<br />

23:37, Heb. 12:25, Acts 7:51, John 16:9, Heb. 12:15, etc.) which will lead to damnation <strong>and</strong><br />

the act of non-resistance leads to salvation. Thus man alone bears the responsibility for his<br />

own damnation.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

God did not predestine them to damnation. It is comparable to an offering of<br />

treatybetween the sovereign <strong>and</strong> the conquerred fallen tribe. If the treaty is accepted,<br />

they remain in the Kingdom of the sovereign in peace. If the offer is rejected the victor<br />

captures the victims <strong>and</strong> puts them in chains or slavery.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

We see Jesus in Matthew 23:37 saying,<br />

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, <strong>and</strong> stonest them which are sent<br />

unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth<br />

her chickens under her wings, <strong>and</strong> ye would not!”<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Divine Laments<br />

There are many divine laments in Scripture. The basic structure of it is that God proclaims<br />

that He regrets what it is that His people are doing. Inherent to the structure of most of the<br />

laments is the concept that God wanted one thing, yet His people did something else. A<br />

short list includes:<br />

• Exodus 32:10<br />

• Number 14:11-12<br />

• Jeremiah 6:9-13<br />

• Jeremiah 7:31<br />

• Jeremiah 13:15-17<br />

• Isaiah 5:1-7<br />

• Matthew 23:37 (<strong>and</strong> Luke 13:34)<br />

Calvinists argue that everything which happens, God wanted to happen. Indeed, He<br />

decreed that it would happen to establish His plans for creation. However, is that really<br />

biblical? Though there are many divine laments in Scriptures that says man does things<br />

which God never even dreamt of.<br />

They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to<br />

burn their sons <strong>and</strong> daughters in the fire–something I did not comm<strong>and</strong>, nor<br />

did it enter my mind. –Jeremiah 7:31<br />

Potter Metaphor > libertarian free will<br />

The potter metaphor actually teaches that there is no predestination <strong>and</strong> nothing is<br />

preordained. God reacts to each as it evolves.<br />

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:<br />

2 “Go down to the potter’s house, <strong>and</strong> there I will give you my message.” 3 So I<br />

went down to the potter’s house, <strong>and</strong> I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But<br />

the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his h<strong>and</strong>s; so the potter<br />

formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.<br />

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you,<br />

Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the h<strong>and</strong> of the<br />

potter, so are you in my h<strong>and</strong>, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation<br />

or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down <strong>and</strong> destroyed, 8 <strong>and</strong> if that nation I<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

warned repents of its evil, then I will relent <strong>and</strong> not inflict on it the disaster I<br />

had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is<br />

to be built up <strong>and</strong> planted, 10 <strong>and</strong> if it does evil in my sight <strong>and</strong> does not<br />

obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. –<br />

Jeremiah 18:1-10<br />

Universality of Call/Atonement<br />

Ok, time for a bit of prooftexting:<br />

• Isaiah 53:6 – The iniquity of us all was put on Christ.<br />

• Matthew 11:28-30 – Any who come to Christ are welcome.<br />

• Matthew 18:14 – The Father does not wish that any should perish (anti<br />

predestined-reprobation).<br />

• John 1:7 – Jesus intended for all, wants all to believe.<br />

• John 1:29<br />

• John 3:16-17<br />

• John 4:42<br />

• John 6:33, 51<br />

• John 12:32, 47<br />

• Romans 3:23-24 – All have sinned <strong>and</strong> all have access to justification in Christ Jesus.<br />

• Romans 5:6 – Christ died for the ungodly. Since all are ungodly, Christ died for all.<br />

• Romans 5:15 – Since sin spread to all, Christ’s atonement is meant for all.<br />

• Romans 10:13 – Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.<br />

• II Corinthians 5:14-15 – All died, yet Christ died for all.<br />

• I Timothy 2:3-6 – God desires all men to be saved, <strong>and</strong> gave Himself for all<br />

• I Timothy 4:10<br />

• Titus 2:11 – God’s necessary grace that leads to repentance appears to all.<br />

• Hebrews 2:9 – Jesus tasted death for everyone.<br />

• Hebrews 10:10 – Christ offered once for all.<br />

• II Peter 3:9<br />

• I John 4:14<br />

• I John 2:2 – Jesus is the propitiation, not just for believers, but for the whole world.<br />

• Revelation 22:17<br />

Conditionality of Reward/Punishment (assumed responsibility to the law)<br />

This idea of “the plain sense of Scripture” is known as perspicuity. So let us consider the<br />

perspicuous reading of the following verses:<br />

• Deut 11:26-28: See, I am setting before you today a blessing <strong>and</strong> a curse: the<br />

blessing, if you obey the comm<strong>and</strong>ments of the LORD your God, which I comm<strong>and</strong><br />

you today, <strong>and</strong> the curse, if you do not obey the comm<strong>and</strong>ments of the LORD your<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

God, but turn aside from the way that I am comm<strong>and</strong>ing you today, to go after<br />

other gods that you have not known.<br />

• Josh 24:15: And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom<br />

you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River,<br />

or the gods of the Amorites in whose l<strong>and</strong> you dwell. But as for me <strong>and</strong> my house,<br />

we will serve the LORD.”<br />

• Jeremiah 21:8: And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I set<br />

before you the way of life <strong>and</strong> the way of death.<br />

Ezekiel 18:30-31: Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his<br />

ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent <strong>and</strong> turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity<br />

be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, <strong>and</strong><br />

make yourselves a new heart <strong>and</strong> a new spirit! Why will you die,<br />

The Corporate Nature of Biblical Election<br />

Election is no exception to this. It is interesting to note that there are no Old Testament<br />

passages on election that teach a concept of personal unconditional election to salvation.<br />

They don’t exist in the New Testament either,<br />

What results is some sense of corporate election: that God operates by choosing a singular<br />

man through whose line a people will be defined as God’s people. In the Old Testament,<br />

this chosen one was Abraham; in the New Testament, it is Jesus. Thus, by being in Christ, i.e.<br />

the nation of Christ, we become part of the chosen: the chosen people of God.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

The Calvinist concept of soveregnty of God is that he is irresistible. That no man could ever<br />

resist the will of Elohim. This is based on a flawed interpretation of Romans 9 as well as<br />

misunderst<strong>and</strong>ing the key terms “foreknown”, “predestined” <strong>and</strong> “elect”.<br />

Scripture clearly indicates that humans resisted God.<br />

Acts 7:51:“…You men are always resisting the Holy Spirit.”<br />

If in fact the will of God cannot be resisted by man, then all men would be saved.<br />

This is because the scriptures tell us that ALL men have been called by Him to salvation:<br />

(Rom. 5:18)Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so<br />

also one righteous act resulted in justification <strong>and</strong> life for all people.<br />

(1Tim. 2:3-4) This is good, <strong>and</strong> pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved<br />

<strong>and</strong> to come to a knowledge of the truth.<br />

(2Peter. 3:9)9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some underst<strong>and</strong> slowness.<br />

Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to<br />

repentance.<br />

It is clear that God wants all men to be saved. This is simply because all men are children<br />

of God through Adam (Adam was son of God). Since God is love, he loves all his children.<br />

If he is any better than the sinful human fathers, he will want to save all his children. This<br />

is exactly what he did in Jesus. The atonement was for all men.- not limited to a few of his<br />

children.<br />

In fact it seems that these three verses, coupled with the concept of “limited atonement”<br />

(i.e. that only some men will be saved) actually disproves <strong>Calvinism</strong>.<br />

One key term that is central to <strong>Calvinism</strong> is “the Elect” does not necesarily indicate<br />

individual persons, but communities or groups of people. In the Old Testamentt<br />

“Elect/Chosen” refers to Israel (Deut. 7:6; 10:15; 14:2; Is. 41:8-9; 42:1;43:20f; 45:4; 65:9, 22<br />

& Ps. 135:4). The elect in the New Testament are those groups of people who have been<br />

born again - who has accepted Jesus. Anyone who did that form part of the elect. We<br />

can see that individual chose to receive christ <strong>and</strong> God chose to save those who believed.<br />

In this case God could choose them even before they were even born. God has<br />

predestined believers to be conformed to the image of the Son (which in no way indicates<br />

the doctrine of predestination of individuals). In Rom. 9:11-16 Paul cites Gen. 25:23 <strong>and</strong><br />

Mal. 1:2-3 to express that Elohim chose to have his chosen linage to pass through Jacob<br />

rather than Esau. It must be noted that this resulted from Esau selling his birthright to Jacob<br />

of his own freewill (Gen. 25:24-34). Elohim “hated” Esau for not cherishing his birthright.<br />

In Rom. 9:17-18 Paul refers to Elohim’s sovereignty when he hardened Pharaoh’s heart.<br />

Paul here quotes Ex. 9:16 <strong>and</strong> is referring to the material in Ex. 9:15-17. The Calvinist<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

misunderst<strong>and</strong>ing here comes from a lack of underst<strong>and</strong>ing the idiom Biblical Hebrew. Ex.<br />

4:21 & 9:16 are examples of a common Hebrew idiom in which an active verb is used to<br />

express not the doing of a thing, but permission to do it. (other examples of this idiom: Jer.<br />

4:10, Mt. 6:13a; 2Thes. 2:11; Rom. 1:24-26; Zech. 1:10b). Elohim, has the sovereign right to<br />

further harden the heart of the man who has chosen himself to harden his heart. This does<br />

not conflict with freewill, it is an amplification of freewill. This he did to save the elect.<br />

Finally in Rom. 9:19-23 Paul recounts the parable of the potter <strong>and</strong> the clay. Out of all<br />

creatures man was created in the image of God - as a bearer of His own image - for noble<br />

purposes. The scripture indictes that since man was created for noble purpose, man will<br />

be used for that. Thus the pur<br />

There are two words which are translated three ways in the KJV these are Strong’s Greek<br />

number 4309 Translated “predestined” <strong>and</strong> Strong’s Greek number 4267 translated<br />

“foreknow/foreknew” in Rom. 8:29 <strong>and</strong> 11:2 but as “foreordained” in 1Pt. 1:20.<br />

(this word appears in Acts 2:23; 15:18 = Amos 9:11-12; Rom. 8:29; 11:2 & 1Pt. 1:20)<br />

Some argue that “foreknowledge” does not mean foreordained..<br />

Judaism maintains this concept as the Mishna says: All things are foreknown, but freewill is<br />

given. - m.Avot 3:16<br />

I cannot really underst<strong>and</strong> the difference in the final result. If God knew what will be the<br />

end, is there a chance of the end being different? It has to be fixed. Does that mean God<br />

does not have a h<strong>and</strong> in the end result.<br />

Rom. 8:29-30 says only that believers are predestined to be conformed to the image of the<br />

Son,<br />

This is already talking about the group who have come to believe. Believers are<br />

predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son. The belief is the human part. God<br />

does not do that. God does not elect people to believe. The elect are the believers.<br />

The same applies to Eph. 1:5, 11 says only that believers are predestined to have a life in<br />

the world to come.<br />

The Calvinist concept of the total depravity of man is largely rooted in a misunderst<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

of Jn. 6:44, 64-65 which states: No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me<br />

draws him. But the point is that Jesus draws all men unto him. This is a statement of<br />

universal redemption.<br />

John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."<br />

Thus it is the free will that determines the elect <strong>and</strong> hence the ultimate destiny.<br />

Jesus said: (John 8:31-32)… if you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed.<br />

And you shall know the truth,<strong>and</strong> the truth shall make you free.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />



What we have seen was the struggle to establish both sovereignty of God <strong>and</strong> the freedom<br />

of will of man lest we portrait God as a unjust, cruel <strong>and</strong> selfish. While we have scriptures<br />

to support both sides of the issue we have to conclude that the scriptures we have<br />

contradicts itself.<br />

Since the Bible is the revelation of God to man through history, God is revealed in it in a<br />

way that man can underst<strong>and</strong> using human symbolism <strong>and</strong> language. Bible is not dictated<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

by God. It was transmitted through the Prophets who then wrote them down so that<br />

ordinary people can underst<strong>and</strong>.<br />

The error in our underst<strong>and</strong>ing is simply must be the error in our interpretation.<br />

I would start with the concept of God. Evidently God is presented as a Sovereign King with<br />

the ideal Omnis of attributes. This was the familiar concept of the period when the<br />

scripture was written. Judaism presented God as a warrior, zealous, King of Kings <strong>and</strong><br />

Lord of Lords. They have described God as a killer God. You don’t need to search much<br />

to see that depiction. These presentation can at best be shadowy. That is why God<br />

himself has to come down, laying down his glory <strong>and</strong> sit around a group of ordinary people<br />

to show them the real nature of God. It is here I start. The ultimate revelation of who<br />

God is as presented by Jesus. At the end Jesus showed himself to be God himself through<br />

his resurrection <strong>and</strong> thus confirming his messages.<br />

Jesus showed God not as a Sovereign but as a Father.<br />

characteristics of God <strong>and</strong> that is simply “God is Love.”<br />

He gave us one definition of the<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Hence all the actions of God in history must be interpreted not in terms of Sovereignty but<br />

in terms of Love of a Father. When this is lost sight of we cannot make sense of the cross.<br />

Most often it is presented as a peace treaty of the Sovereign <strong>and</strong> not as the expression of<br />

loving father. Yet the bible is clear:<br />

“God so loved the world, that he gave.”<br />

God created Man in his own image as His son.<br />

Creation as an act of Self Sacrifice Love<br />

Even the creation itself was an act of love.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

The real solution to the problem of freewill <strong>and</strong> predestination was actually h<strong>and</strong>ed down<br />

within the Jewish mystic tradition of Kabballah <strong>and</strong> is known as tzimtzum or tsimtsum<br />

(Hebrew צמצום ṣimṣūm "contraction/constriction/condensation") Here Isaac Luria<br />

proposes that God who is infinite light <strong>and</strong> omnipresent, as the beginning of the process of<br />

creation "contract" his Ein Sof (infinite) light in order to create a "conceptual empty<br />

space". The contraction implies a hiding of the Omniscience <strong>and</strong> Omnipresence to provide a<br />

free space where free will can exist. God gave up his glories - at least some of them - to<br />

give space for His children to grow.<br />

This Tsimtzum bypasses the paradox of God’s Sovereignty, Omniscience, Omnipresence <strong>and</strong><br />

Omnipotence with Freewill because God is Our Father.<br />

In other worlds God hide himself allowing for a similar space where God himself exists.<br />

Without the freedom on will the creation will remain a robot. God created man so that he<br />

can have a family. God created man a little lesser that God himself even extending to the<br />

divine dimension that man may become co-creators with God - what the Eastern Churches<br />

calls to be Deified transformed into the likeness of God. Just as we give our children the<br />

space to grow, God gives his space for his children to grow - transformed into the likeness<br />

of His Son.<br />

This primordial initial contraction, forming a Khalal/Khalal Hapanui ("vacant space",<br />

) into which new creative light could beam, is denoted by general reference to the הפנוי<br />

tzimtzum. In contrast to earlier, Medieval Kabbalah, this made the first creative act a<br />

concealment/Divine exile rather than unfolding revelation.<br />

חלל<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Because the tzimtzum results in the "empty space" in which spiritual <strong>and</strong> physical Worlds<br />

<strong>and</strong> ultimately, free will can exist, God is often referred to as "Ha-Makom" המקום)‏ lit.<br />

"the Place", "the Omnipresent") in Rabbinic literature ("He is the Place of the World, but<br />

the World is not His Place"). In Kabbalistic interpretation, this describes the paradox of<br />

simultaneous Divine presence <strong>and</strong> absence within the vacuum <strong>and</strong> resultant Creation.<br />

עלם Relatedly, Olam — the Hebrew for "World/Realm" — is derived from the root<br />

meaning "concealment". This etymology is complementary with the concept of<br />

Tzimtzum in that the subsequent spiritual realms <strong>and</strong> the ultimate physical universe conceal<br />

to different degrees the infinite spiritual lifeforce of creation. Their progressive diminutions<br />

of the Divine Ohr (Light) from realm to realm in creation are also referred to in the plural as<br />

secondary tzimtzumim (innumerable "condensations/veilings/constrictions" of the<br />

lifeforce). However, these subsequent concealments are found in earlier, Medieval<br />

Kabbalah. The new doctrine of Luria advanced the notion of the primordial withdrawal (a<br />

dilug – radical "leap") in order to reconcile a causal creative chain from the Infinite with<br />

finite Existence.<br />

God’s primordial act of Creation, contracting Himself to make room for the world, becomes<br />

for a model for all human interaction. When the self contracts to make room for the other,<br />

the resulting relations are ones of dialogue rather than conflict, self-effacement rather than<br />

self-assertion, a desire to give rather than a desire to destroy. God is not seeking glory, but<br />

giving himself to his sons.<br />

God is “Our Father”<br />

He did not create robots to call him Dad. We wont like robots as our children. Neither<br />

did God. He gave himself for his children. There was Adam <strong>and</strong> Eve, the first of his<br />

children from whom the whole mankind evolved. We are His children. Unless we exercise<br />

the freewill that is genetically transmitted from God, we will cease to be human.<br />

The Lord is gracious <strong>and</strong> full of compassion; slow to anger <strong>and</strong> of great mercy. The Lord is<br />

good to all <strong>and</strong> his tender mercies are over all his works. Ps. 165: 8, 9.<br />

He will swallow up death in victory; <strong>and</strong> the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.<br />

Isa. 25: 8.<br />

God’s expectation on every human being is that they will be transformed into the likeness<br />

of Christ <strong>and</strong> behave like him.<br />

Paulos Mar Gregorios "The main tenet of the Orthodox faith is the belief that salvation is<br />

by being united with Christ who is Isvara incarnate. By being united with Him, we are to<br />

grow into God's image by becoming more <strong>and</strong> more god-like in character, in love, in<br />

goodness <strong>and</strong> in wisdom. This process of transformation is called theosis or divinization."<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

When we unite ourselves unto Christ we become "transformed into the same image from<br />

glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).<br />

Christ as "the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation" (Col 1:15),<br />

"every man" to become "mature in Christ" (Col 1:28),<br />

"have come to fullness of life in Him" (Col. 2:10).<br />

"to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13),<br />

to acquire "the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16), the heart of Christ (cf. Eph 3:17)<br />

M.M.Thomas<br />

(my brother)<br />

The Prophet of Humanization<br />

"We are not human beings; we are human becomings"<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of<br />

her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget you. Isa. 49: 15.<br />

Sovereignty in the Kingdom of God<br />

Sovereign Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia <strong>and</strong> Sovereign of Universe, Jesus.<br />

Again there seems to be a misunderst<strong>and</strong>ing of what sovereigniy really means as applied to<br />

God the Father in relation to his sons humans. Kingdom of God is an upside down Kindom<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

of Man as it is today. Even the church has copied the structure <strong>and</strong> principle of authority<br />

of the Kingdom of this world. This again was clearly explained by Jesus while he was with<br />

his disciples.<br />

Matthew 20: 25-28 But Jesus called them aside <strong>and</strong> said, “You know that the rulers of the<br />

Gentiles lord it over them, <strong>and</strong> their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be<br />

this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your<br />

servant, <strong>and</strong> whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave just as the Son of<br />

Man did not come to be served, but to serve, <strong>and</strong> to give His life as a ransom for many.”<br />

The problem here is really this. How do we parent our children with love <strong>and</strong> with servant<br />

heart. Jesus being God showed us how. We have turned them all upside down <strong>and</strong> have<br />

been burning our children for disobedience. Our theology reflects just that.<br />

The problem has always been clear within each family. Children have always rebelled in<br />

growing up <strong>and</strong> asserting their independence <strong>and</strong> personality. Belligerence <strong>and</strong><br />

disobedience were part of this growing up. How did we dealt with that? Did we burn<br />

them or did we redeem them with our love <strong>and</strong> even withour lives?<br />

Here then is the resolution of the paradox.<br />

The <strong>Arminianism</strong> maintains:<br />


1. that freedom of will has not been destroyed by original sin, <strong>and</strong><br />

2. that this freedom remains unimpaired under the influence of Divine grace<br />

Freedom is the power of the will to act or not to act, to act this or that way; whereas it is<br />

the characteristic of necessary causes, as animals <strong>and</strong> inanimate beings, to produce their<br />

effects by an intrinsic necessity.<br />

Predestination was an early scientific misunderst<strong>and</strong>ing of the law of mechanical cause<br />

effect.<br />

The mechanical philosophy is a natural philosophy describing the universe as similar to a<br />

large-scale mechine. The concept of cause effect <strong>and</strong> that the world acts purely based on<br />

the underlying laws of nature causes everything to be predictable. During period of<br />

reformation <strong>and</strong> for a few centuries soon after, the philosophical outlook of man became<br />

mechanical. TheMechanical philosophy is associated with the scientific revolution of Early<br />

Modern Europe. One of the first expositions of universal mechanism is found in the opening<br />

passages of Leviathan by Hobbes published in 1651.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Those who developed idea included philosophers like Pierre Gassendi, Marin Mersenne,<br />

René Descartes; the English thinkers Sir Kenelm Digby, Thomas Hobbes <strong>and</strong> Walter<br />

Charleton;<br />

<strong>and</strong> the Dutch natural philosopher Isaac Beeckman.<br />

The<br />

scientists were also involved in its development<br />

which<br />

included Robert Boyle, Galileo Galilei; Nicolas<br />

Lemery<br />

Christiaan Huygens, as well as Sir Isaac Newton<br />

The rise of<br />

science gave rise to the concept that the whole<br />

universe<br />

acts as clockwork following the rigorous laws<br />

which were<br />

established by God which are unchangable. Hence<br />

everything<br />

that happens can be exactly predicted <strong>and</strong> known<br />

if all<br />

contributing interactions of matter are taken into<br />

account. This leads to absolute predetermination of cosmos. Since God created the<br />

universe, God has already predetermined even the minute detail events of past which<br />

produced the present <strong>and</strong> which leads to future.<br />

The clockwork universe compares the universe to a mechanical clock. It continues ticking<br />

along, as a perfect machine, with its gears governed by the laws of physics, making every<br />

aspect of the machine predictable.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

The above diagram presents the various possibilities depending on whether physical<br />

determinism is true or false along side of freewill possibility. In the hard core absolute<br />

physical determinism alone hard determinism possible without any possibility of freewill.<br />

With the development of Quantum Theory the concept of hard determinism has been over<br />

ruled even in the physical world. Quantum mechanics leaves enough space of uncertainity<br />

to allow for freewill even within the material realm. Any of the possible states can be thee<br />

final state depending on when the observation takes place. This is known as collapse of<br />

the Wave function of the Universe. .Thus we are left with the probabilistic possibility of<br />

future with large number of possible worlds. Heisenberg uncertainity principles are built<br />

in laws of the world of existence which automatically makes hard determinism<br />

impossible.The von Neumann–Wigner interpretation, described as "consciousness causes<br />

collapse [of the wave function]", is an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which<br />

consciousness is postulated to be necessary for the completion of the process of quantum<br />

measurement<br />

See my book on Quantum Theology<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

However man is not material alone. Matter forms the body. But the life is through the<br />

Spirit of God that was breathed into the earth body by God in the creation. While there<br />

are varying forms of life they are not of the same nature. There are vegetations, birds,<br />

fishes, beasts etc. They all have various forms of life which indicates their existence in<br />

dimensions other than matter. Man alone was created in the image of God with the<br />

breath of God itself - a little lower than God Himself - existing in all the dimensions of<br />

cosmos entering the world of Divine realm itself. Thus whatever predetermination is<br />

possible at other realms, man’s freedom is similar to that of God. This is the sonship of<br />

man.<br />

Freedom of the will is a consequence of intelligence, <strong>and</strong> as such the most precious gift of<br />

man, an endowment which he can never lose without annihilating his own nature.<br />

Man must of necessity be free in every state of life, actual or possible, whether that state<br />

be the purely natural (status purœ naturœ), or the state of original justice in paradise<br />

(status justitiœ originalis), or the state of fallen nature (status naturœ lapsœ), or the state<br />

of regeneration (status naturœ reparatœ). Were man to be deprived of freedom of will, he<br />

would necessarily degenerate in his nature <strong>and</strong> sink to the level of the animal.<br />

Since the purely natural state, devoid of supernatural grace <strong>and</strong> lacking a supernatural<br />

justice, never existed, <strong>and</strong> since the state of original justice has not been re-established by<br />

Christ's Redemption, man's present state alone is to be taken into consideration in solving<br />

the problem of the relation between grace <strong>and</strong> free will. In spite of the so called original sin<br />

<strong>and</strong> concupiscence man is still free, not only with reference to ethical good <strong>and</strong> evil in his<br />

natural actions, but also in his supernatural salutary works in which Divine grace<br />

co-operates with his will.<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

Original Sin<br />

Romans 5:12,19 - sin came into the world through one man, <strong>and</strong> death through sin, <strong>and</strong> so<br />

death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience the many<br />

were made sinners<br />

There is actually no mention of an original sin in the Bible. There is no mention that God<br />

cursed man to die. I have elsewhere shown that the death was actually a blessing of God<br />

on his children so that they may escape eternal hell. Adam’s choice gave importance to<br />

self based actions which in a community brings pain <strong>and</strong> suffering. To eternally in that<br />

society would be the eternal hell. Hence God gave a short day for man to be awake <strong>and</strong><br />

then sleep till Daddy could fix the problem <strong>and</strong> wake him up. This limitation of day of life<br />

time to 120 years from a 1000 years was just the same expression of God’s love. Yes Sin<br />

came through Adam <strong>and</strong> one man’s obedience will bring life back.<br />

One man’s disobedience many were made sinners. See my book:<br />

This will come as a new surprise to many especially with the popular<br />

presentation of God as a King in the European Feudal system of the post<br />

middle age period. God's love is expressed in driving his children out of<br />

the Garden of Eden <strong>and</strong> giving the blessing of Death to reduce the period<br />

of hell mankind will produce by their own choice. Death is the greatest<br />

blessing of God the Father to his children, over riding the eternal hell<br />

they brought themselves by their free choice. One day He will wake his<br />

children up <strong>and</strong> bring them home. Knowing the power of Love <strong>and</strong> the<br />

character of God our Father, he will bring not only all his children, even the creation will be<br />

liberated from its bondage to the glorious liberty of the Sons of God. He will indeed make<br />

all things new, <strong>and</strong> we will have a new day again.<br />

Yetzer Ha-Tov <strong>and</strong> Yetzer Ha-Ra<br />

In the typical Rabbinic doctrine, with far-reaching consequences in Jewish religious thought,<br />

every human being has two inclinations or instincts, one pulling upwards, the other<br />

downwards. These are the ‘good inclination’—yetzer ha-tov—<strong>and</strong> the ‘evil<br />

inclination’—yetzer ha-ra. The ‘evil inclination’ is frequently identified in the Rabbinic<br />

literature <strong>and</strong> elsewhere with the sex instinct but the term also denotes physical appetites<br />

in general, aggressive emotions, <strong>and</strong> unbridled ambition. Although it is called the ‘evil<br />

inclination’, because it can easily lead to wrongdoing, it really denotes more the propensity<br />

towards evil rather than something evil in itself. Indeed, in the Rabbinic scheme, the ‘evil<br />

inclination’ provides human life with its driving power <strong>and</strong> as such is essential to human life.<br />

As a well-known Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 9: 7) puts it, were it not for the ‘evil inclination’<br />



PROF. M. M. NINAN<br />

no one would build a house or have children or engage in commerce. This is why, according<br />

to the Midrash, Scripture says: ‘And God saw everything that he had made <strong>and</strong> behold, it<br />

was very good’ (Genesis 1: 31). ‘Good’ refers to the ‘good inclination’, ‘very good’ to the<br />

‘evil inclination’. It is not too far-fetched to read into this homily the idea that life without<br />

the driving force of the ‘evil inclination’ would no doubt still be good but it would be a<br />

colourless, uncreative, pallid kind of good. That which makes life ‘very good’ is the human<br />

capacity to struggle against the environment <strong>and</strong> this is impossible without egotistic as well<br />

as altruistic, aggressive as well as peaceful, instincts.<br />

The Rabbinic view is, then, realistic. Human beings are engaged in a constant struggle<br />

against their propensity for evil but if they so desire they can keep it under control. The<br />

means of control are provided by Law: the Torah <strong>and</strong> the precepts. One of the most<br />

remarkable Rabbinic passages in this connection states that the Torah is the antidote to the<br />

poison of the ‘evil inclination’ (Kiddushin 30b). The meaning appears to be that when the<br />

Torah is studied <strong>and</strong> when there is submission to its discipline, morbid guilt-feelings are<br />

banished <strong>and</strong> life is no longer clouded by the fear that the ‘evil inclination’ will bring about<br />

one's ruination. It follows that for the Rabbis the struggle against the ‘evil inclination’ is<br />

never-ending in this life. Nowhere in the Rabbinic literature is there the faintest suggestion<br />

that it is possible for humans permanently to destroy the ‘evil inclination’ in this life. For<br />

the Rabbis, the true hero is, as stated in Ethics of the Fathers (4. 1), one who ‘subdues’ his<br />

‘evil inclination’, one who exercises severe self-control, refusing to yield to temptation. It is<br />

not given to anyone actually to slay the ‘evil inclination’. Nor are there references in the<br />

Rabbinic literature to the idea, prevalent in the Jewish mystical <strong>and</strong> moralistic literatures, of<br />

‘breaking the evil inclination’.<br />

Both inclinations are necessary for the proper functioning of human society just as each<br />

organ need to function the part assigned to the organ diligently without being a cancer<br />

growth. Adam’s sin was to be like God while yet a child. This cancer caused pain. It<br />

created hell. Father provides a solution which includes a shorter life, till the problem is<br />

solved at the cross.<br />


Prof. Madathilparampil Mammen Ninan B.Sc., B.Ed., M.Sc., M.Ed., Ph.D.,<br />

Web Site: http://www.talentshare.org/~mm9n<br />

Email: mm9n@hotmail.com<br />

Prof. Ninan was born in Kozhencheri, Kerala, India in a Syrian Christian Family which claims descent from one of<br />

the four families to whom St.Thomas the apostle of Jesus entrusted the gospel. His father Late.Mr.M.M.Mammen<br />

was a publisher Freedom fighter <strong>and</strong> Christian Reformer. His eldest Brother is the well known theologian Late<br />

Dr.M.M.Thomas, who was the Chairman of the World Council of Churches, the Governor of Nagal<strong>and</strong>, India <strong>and</strong><br />

the Chairman of the Christian Institute of Study of Society <strong>and</strong> Religion. He belongs to the Malankara Mar Thoma<br />

Church, a reformed church holding the theology of the Eastern Churches which claims a 2000 year old heritage.<br />

He is by profession a Professor of Theoretical Physics <strong>and</strong> had been a teacher in various universities around<br />

world including Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, Sudan, Yemen, India <strong>and</strong> United States of America. He retired as the<br />

President of the Hindustan Academy of Engineering <strong>and</strong> Applied Sciences, Affiliated to the University of<br />

Bangalore, India.<br />

He was the first Moderator of the International Christian Fellowship, Sanaa, Yemen <strong>and</strong><br />

the Co-founder of the Sudan Pentecostal Church <strong>and</strong> The Sudan Theological College. He has published over<br />

hundred books in History of Religions, Hinduism <strong>and</strong> Theology. Mrs. Ponnamma Ninan was a Sociologist <strong>and</strong><br />

Teacher who taught in many different countries along with her husb<strong>and</strong>.

Published Books<br />

by Prof.M.M.Ninan<br />

www.mmninan.com<br />

A Study On Baptism<br />

Acts of the Apostle Thomas.Ambedkar's Philosophy of Hinduism <strong>and</strong> Contemperory Critiques<br />

Angels, Demons <strong>and</strong> All the Hosts of Heaven <strong>and</strong> Earth<br />

Apocryphal Thomas<br />

Apostle Paul Architect <strong>and</strong> Builder of the Church: Life <strong>and</strong> Mission<br />

Arius: Who is Jesus<br />

Bible Canon<br />

Christ vs. Krishna<br />

Comparitive study of Kuku <strong>and</strong> Hebrew<br />

Cosmos - The Body of God<br />

Created in the Image of God<br />

Cultural Anthropology.for Missions..<br />

Dalit Theology<br />

Flying Together<br />

Foundations of Faith in Jesus<br />

Four Gospels<br />

Hinduism: A Christian Heresy; What Really Happened in India<br />

History of Christianity in India<br />

Honeymoon in Ethiopia<br />

I AM: Symbols Jesus Used to explain himself<br />

Introduction to Revelation<br />

Introduction to Biblical.Hermeneutics..<br />

Introduction to Revelations<br />

Isavasya Upanishad:The doctrine of the Immanence of Jesus<br />

Jamaica: The L<strong>and</strong> We Love<br />

James & John: Sons of Thunder<br />

Jiva, Jada & Isvara<br />

Joys of Ghana Col<br />

Katha Upanishad - The Complete...<br />

Kingdom Parables<br />

Krishna Yajur Veda<br />

Laws of Manu<br />

Life <strong>and</strong> Legacy of M.M.Thomas<br />

Life, Legacy <strong>and</strong> Theology.of M.M.Thomas..<br />

Lord's Appointed Festivals<br />

Nestorius: Underst<strong>and</strong>ing Incarnation

Paintings of Ninan-Life of Christ<br />

Perspectives On The Lord's Table.<br />

Peter <strong>and</strong> Andrew: The First.Disciples.<br />

Prester John, the Kalabhras.<strong>and</strong> Mahabali.<br />

Quantum Theology<br />

Reincarnation <strong>and</strong> Resurrection<br />

Resurrections <strong>and</strong> Judgments<br />

Rewriting Hindu History: How..do they do it?.<br />

Riddles In Hinduism<br />

Rig Veda<br />

Samaveda<br />

Secrets Of The Prayer Shawl<br />

Semiotics Of Sacraments<br />

Seven Churches<br />

Shukla Yajur Veda<br />

Sin, Death <strong>and</strong> Beyond<br />

Soteriology<br />

Sri Purusha Suktham: The fullness of Him - With commentary<br />

Symbology of Biblical Numbers<br />

The Apostles<br />

The Biblical Concept of Man<br />

The Book of Revelation<br />

The Christian Underst<strong>and</strong>ing.of Trinity..<br />

The Development Of Hinduism<br />

The Development Of Mariolatory<br />

The Emergence Of Hinduism.from Christianity..<br />

The Four Gospels<br />

The Genealogy of Jesus<br />

The Historic Jesus<br />

The Mysteries of the Tallit, Titzit <strong>and</strong> Teklet<br />

The Mysteries of the Tallit...<br />

The Mystery of Melchizedek<br />

The Name<br />

The Principles of Prosperity in the Kingdom of God<br />

The Prophecy Of Daniel<br />

The Sudan: New Dimensions<br />

The Word Became Flesh<br />

Theodicy<br />

Theology of Paul<br />

Thinking loud on Theodicy, Soteriology,Trinity <strong>and</strong> Hermeneutics<br />

Thy Kingdom Come<br />

Tilak <strong>and</strong> the Aryan Origins<br />

Time Line Of Church History<br />

Underst<strong>and</strong>ing Sacraments<br />

Waiting for the Redemption...<br />

Wedding Blessings<br />

When was Jesus Born?<br />

Who is the Angel of the Lord?

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