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Chapter 64

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Chapter 64

  1. 1. Geisler, Norman Chapter 64 “The Extent of Salvation (Limited or Unlimited Atonement)”
  2. 2. Limited or Unlimited Atonement Strong Calvinists argue for limited atonement, which means that salvation is only available for those elect which God has predestined to be saved. The rest are predestined to be lost. Moderate Calvinists, Wesleyans, and most other Orthodox Christians teach unlimited atonement, which means that salvation is available to everyone, but applied only to those who respond in faith to God’s grace.
  3. 3. Essentialism vs. Voluntarism Voluntarism, in which the doctrine of limited atonement is rooted, insists that something is right because God wills it; that is, God decides something is right, and then it is right. Essentialism, declares that God wills something because it is right; that is it is already in accord with His unchanging nature.
  4. 4. Voluntarism as defense for Limited Atonement Strong Calvinists are forced to appeal to voluntarism as a defense for limited atonement. The criticism of limited atonement is that it doesn’t look like justice, which is an attribute of God. In other words, limited atonement would violate justice because it indiscriminately chooses some and rejects others with no regard to faith, desire, or freewill on the part of humanity. So the only answer is that it is right because anything God does is right. This is an example of circular reasoning.
  5. 5. Arguments Against Voluntarism God’s immutability—If God does not change, then for Him to arbitrarily change what is right or not right by virtue of decree alone would indicate that God Himself changes at a fundamental level of His being. God’s pure actuality would be prohibitive of God changing at such a fundamental level of His being. God’s perfection likewise would be prohibitive, in that perfection cannot be improved, and a change would either improve or diminish absolute perfection. God’s simplicity prohibits change in that change implies composition, and there can be no change in an absolute simple Geing.

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