The Offensive God

Taking my cue from Robert Jenson’s “The Offense of God’s Actuality,” America’s Theologian: A Recommendation of Jonathan Edwards. (I am not actually summarizing Jenson’s points, just taking my cue from him)

The debate on predestination versus my efficient causing of my salvation (synergism) needs to be looked at in a different light.  It seems mean that God would create people having never given them a chance for salvation, which it seems the Reformed position is saying. It is a hard draught.  However, granting that point and even considering the semi-Pelagian alternative, is it really any better?  We get to choose to save ourselves now.  Fair enough.  Is it likely that everybody will exercise his free will to save himself?  Not likely.  And even granting free will, we still have the problem of the MauMau and Hottentot who is worshiping jungle idols.  While he has the chance to exercise his free will, the likelihood of his doing that unto salvation is remote.

So what’s the problem?  Even on the Arminian gloss, we still have a god creating a universe in which most people, while having the option of saving themselves, probably will never get around to it (they never hear the gospel, or whatever).  To make it even worse, God knowingly created a world where the majority goes to hell.  How exactly is this preferable to the Calvinist option?  It’s worse, actually.  The Calvinist god might be mean, but this one is derelict at duty.

But let’s leave all that aside.  It is too metaphysical a speculation.    Let’s get down to the point: the “offense” of God is that he chose to act without our permission.