Those who affirm the canons of Calvinistic philosophy often laud the logical coherence of its systematic formulation. In this post, I would like to turn the tables on this methodological assumption, showing how Calvinistic philosophy, while perhaps logical, leads to a horribly perverse image of the divine nature and will of God. I shall do this through a syllogistic form and shall concentrate upon the origin of evil.

A: God has eternally decreed all that comes to pass.
B: That which God decrees proceeds from the free and boundless will of God.
C: The will of God is essential with Gods being.
Proposition: Evil exists.


A: Because God has eternally decreed that evil should exist, or come to pass:
B: Because the existence and perpetuity of evil proceeds from the free and boundless will of God.
C: Because the will of God is essential with Gods being;
D: It is logically concluded that evil is essential with the being of God.

In response, I suspect a couple different approaches may (and will) be taken. I assume many will argue with the relationship between will and being. Note that I have carefully qualified the language: essential with. I think this prevents a bifurcating of will and being, while also avoiding conflating them en toto.

With that caveat, some may object that the syllogism doesnt stand because it is based upon a pejorative argument; i.e., if evil exists were replaced with the less negative humans exist, perhaps the syllogism would fall. While I considered this in my statement of the syllogism, I eventually decided to proceed, for my issue with Calvinistic philosophy is not limited to its inadequate accounting for the existence of evil, but more importantly is directed against the concept of eternal decrees altogether. I think the entire notion of eternal decrees is philosophically untenable not only in reference to origin of evil, but also in relation to everything else that is not God. In other words, replacing evil with puppies creates just as horrid of a picture of God, for puppies are no more essential to the nature of God than is evil.

When speaking of God, we must avoid an all-too-easy anthropological reductionism. That is, we must allow for the reality that Gods existence is not dependant upon nor qualified by Gods relationship to creation. While this may be difficult or perhaps even impossible to express through human language (which is, by default, anthropologically qualified at every level), we must resist capitulating our conception of the eternality of God to the limitations of our means of expressing it. This is, in my opinion, where Calvinistic philosophy fundamentally fails, for it makes that which should be metaphorical and mysterious into rigid propositional statements and affirmations. By doing so, however, Calvinism has adopted a thoroughly human-centric approach to speaking about God, one which necessarily makes that which God has ordained intrinsically essential to the very being and nature of God.