The Calvinist Corner

God elects individuals based purely on randomness


     You said regarding Unconditional Election:
"God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21)."
Under these conditions, God "elects" individuals based purely on randomness. What would be the point in this? Although all people may be equal in sin, not all people are equal in talent. Some individuals may have artistic or intellectual talents, or are more compassionate and hard-working than others, and they would be passed over for individuals that possess none of these traits. So this random selection would mean God is thoroughly disinterested in our individuality.

     First, to say that something is random means that it has no purpose, no goal, no objective, and no pattern. To apply randomness to God's sovereign election is inappropriate and it demonstrates that the objection does not reflect a proper understanding of Reformed Theology. The quote above on unconditional election specifically states that God elects out of the kind intention of his will. Since God is not random and he always has a purpose in what he does, his election must also have a purpose -- even if it seems random to us.  Furthermore, Reformed Theology states that God does nothing randomly and that all things work according to his purpose. 
     Second, to appeal to different talents in individuals and then to imply that the Reformed position denies that God predestines or elect based upon what is in individuals is contradictory to Scripture, sound thinking, and the Reformed position.
     Ephesians 1:4-12 says,

"just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, 8 which He lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory."

     Notice the bolded words through this passage of Scripture.  It is clear that Paul the apostle focuses on God's choice, God's predestining, God's intention, God's will, God's grace, and God's purpose. You find nowhere in the Scripture where God looks upon an individual and bases his choice of election and predestination based upon some quality in the individual. Therefore, to imply in any way that God bases his sovereign choice upon anything in an individual would be to go against scripture and would be to accuse God of partiality by suggesting that God puts one person above another based upon what is or is not in a person. This is contradictory to Scripture.
     The partiality that Scripture mentions and condemns as exemplified in James 2:2-4

"For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3 and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?"

     James condemns the partiality shown by people based upon the outward appearance of others. Since we cannot look into the hearts of people, we judge I appearance and often do so simply. God is able to look with in a person. It would be wrong to attribute to God any sort of partiality based upon what is in a person because all people are sinners. All people are touched by sin and nobody is worthy in any way to have God look favorably upon them.
     Third, it is illogical for it is God who has made us, formed us, etc. He is the one who formed our inward parts and wove our personalities in place knitting into them our abilities, disabilities, tendencies, likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. God is perfectly capable, from all eternity, to create us as he sees fit. It is against sound logic to assert that the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent eternal God is not in control of the creative process that governs the formation of each and every individual who has ever lived or will ever live. Furthermore, it is against sound thinking to conclude that God is not aware or in control of all of the conditions in which a person is born including family, culture, environment, etc. which would have an influence upon the individual's choices. Therefore, since God is the one who forms is in the womb and also places us when and where he desires, he knows what the outcome of those conditions will be regarding our salvation.  In this, God predestines.
     Fourth, the reason not all people are equal and talent is because God has not made them equal and talent. He has not made them with equal artistic or intellectual abilities. He is not granted to each individual the same amount of compassion, energy, or laziness. If God were to look into an individual and base his election upon what is in him, then God is only looking upon what he has created according to his purpose, and his will. What would be the purpose of God looking into an individual's traits if it was God who was the one who placed them there to begin with? It makes no sense.
     It does, however, make more sense to believe that God is sovereignly in control and that his will, his choice, it is kind intention, and his grace, will be carried out.
     Finally, it is not true that God is random. His choices always have a purpose. For the critic to accuse the reformed theological perspective of implying randomness in God's nature and choice, demonstrates that the critic does not understand reformed theology regarding God's greatness, sovereignty, and divine purpose.


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Copyright by Matthew J. Slick, B.A., M. Div., 2005
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