The Doors of the Sea – 5

Posted: June 3, 2012 by J in Book review

The second half of the book is titled Divine Victory, and offers Hart’s version of a more Christian approach to suffering. It is in five parts:

IV – the Calvinist doctrine that God ordains everything, including evil, brings evil inside God’s will and robs the creature of the freedom to will something against God. It makes God, in his essence, an arbitrary will – ruling a fully deterministic creation. Calvin was smoking something when he wrote that God revealed his greatness in predestining various people to salvation or damnation. God’s victory is rather to guide all things to the ultimate good he intends, even through the rebellion of evil which is not his will.

Calvin’s view of absolute sovereignty threatens to collapse the distance between the God who wills and the created reality, rendering the creation merely an idea in the mind of God. The Scriptures speak instead of divine victory: i.e. the final overthrow of other powers opposed to God.

V – Ties up loose ends, summarises the main argument, and adds a few supporting arguments related to the pastoral realities of the Tsunami disaster. It would be good to have a doctrine of suffering that helped grieving people!

SUMMARY: You really only need sections I and II, although IV is highly provocative and challenging for us evangelicals – it’s a hatchet job on Calvin. Section III doesn’t quite work, and seems almost an aside in the argument. V is a nice way to finish off, but adds nothing much new. So if you’re desperate, you can get away with reading just p.45-70.

Tomorrow: Assessing Hart’s argument about evil and suffering.

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