This title is dramatic, but it’s not mine. This is a response to Dr. Roger Olson, who last week wrote an article that concluded “The God of Calvinism scares me; I’m not sure how to distinguish him from the devil.” Here are several distinguishing characteristics of the God of the Bible, who Calvinists try to present faithfully.
- He is all-powerful— the devil has been bound and can only do what God allows. (Revelation 20:2-3)
- He is all-knowing—the devil is limited in his knowledge. (Job 37:16)
- He is the Creator—the devil is a created being. (Genesis 3:1)
- He is sovereign—the devil has only derivative authority. (Job 1:6-12)
- He is holy—the devil is a liar and murderer. (Isaiah 6:3, John 8:44)
- He is gracious and compassionate—the devil prowls around trying to destroy. (Psalm 145:8, 2 Peter 5:8-9)
- He is forgiving; the devil is always accusing the saints. (1 John 1:9, Revelation 12:10)
On the outside chance that there is any truth in the system of doctrine Dr. Olson is lambasting, think of the consequences of what he says. He has just said to his creator, to the Father who gave his Son over to death for sinful men, “I’m not sure you’re all that different from the devil.” We’re all tempted to say big, dramatic things for rhetorical flash. When we give in to that temptation, we usually don’t help the church, and if we’re not careful we might end up blaspheming God in the process.