Cosmic Chattel Slavery?: The pervasive and false understanding of divine ownership of man.

1 Corinthians, Chapter 6 is a well-recognized chapter of the New Testament.  Arguably the most famous verses within this text are 19 and 20:

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” NKJ version

Now, I understand that there are several ways we can approach addressing these passages, and I think in some cases addressing the subtle vagaries of the practical and spiritual implications of sharing your body with the Holy Spirit is highly appropriate.  However, the angle I wish to take in this post is a straightforward assault upon the unsettling idea that somehow these verses are intended to mean that God actually claims man as some kind of personal property.  That is, I would like to dismantle the idea that “you are not your own” means what some members of the more fundamentalist sects of our religion interpret it to mean:  cosmic chattel slavery.  Man as property of another; in this case, God (or even worse, man in effect possessed by God).  I will point out why this is simply not a possible interpretation of these verses in light of God’s omnipotence and perfection.  Metaphysically, it is impossible that “ownership” of man can be interpreted this way.

On the one hand, we have a version of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6, which some interpret as nothing more than proof of man-as-property, without rights to his body or mind, in the tradition of chattel slavery, or even (for those spiritual teachers who deign to provide a gentler approach) some form of perpetual, spiritual, indentured servitude.  And yet the Bible speaks of our friendship with Christ, and the light burden, and the Truth setting us free so that we may be free indeed.  Now,I have a B.S. Ed. degree from Shippensburg University, perhaps the finest teaching university in the country, with a specialty in the Civil War (and early 20th century Irish affairs) and I can tell you that from my understanding of forced servitude in this country the concepts of “friendship”, “light burden”, and “freedom” have approximately zero to do with that institution.  So, why then do so many seem to persist in holding, to at least some degree, the idea that man is actually God’s personal property in the tradition of human-to-human chattel slavery?  Why do so many seem to agree that God owning man is essentially the same thing as His owning the “cattle on a thousand hills”?  The answer is simple.  They have conceded a specific definition of Christian “orthodoxy” which is rooted in the Reformation, which arose from the Catholic church, both of which have foundations within the Augustinian merging of Greek philosophical gnosticism and Christianity.  In fact, if one were to attempt to summarize the whole of Christian “orthodox” theology into one single-sentence definition, be it Catholic or Reformed, I believe it would be best described as:

“You are a bystander to yourself because you are owned and controlled by powers which are inexorably beyond you; and these powers are both mitigated by and flowing from the conduit of your arbitrary human authorities, which are likewise beyond you.”

Certainly we have a Master in heaven, that much I do not deny.  If one cannot properly refer to the omnipotent Creator as “Master”, then I’m not quite sure who in heaven or in earth can ever fit that description.  For God is nothing if not a literal Master over all He sees and all He creates; and even over His very Self.  Even the Son refers to his authority as having  been given by God (the Father).  But He is not like any earthly master.  He is, for one thing, not present in body.  This creates a strange dynamic in the “conventional” owner/slave sense.  As human beings, we have been given many charges…responsibilities of necessity (that is, things which must be done in order to live and thrive, e.g.: working, resting, using wisdom, diligence, stewardship, justice, mercy, honesty, even paying taxes to “Caesar”), not the least of which is to “rule and subdue”.  In this sense, it seems apparent that man, by the very nature of his own environment, reason, mortality and morality is responsible for the management of his life on earth, and the day-to-day practicalities which make that life something other than misery and/or death.  Of course, Jesus counseled us not to worry about our needs, but this simply cannot be interpreted as an absolving of man of his personal responsibility for his earthly welfare.  That would be a stretch so large that I doubt even the neo-Calvinists would concede it.  But, it would take a lot to strain credulity when considering their “doctrine”, I admit, so I won’t take any bets.

In light of this, then, how do we square the idea of a heavenly Master with a physical master in the chattel slave sense (or in the sense of any “authority” whatsoever, even down to something as seemingly innocuous as your boss at work)?  We have no master present and yet some would say we are to function as though we do.  But this hardly seems reasonable.  The implicit idea in this interpretation of divine ownership is that we are slaves who must figure out how to walk in our slavery while being functionally free, responsible for doing both our work and His, without even a clear delineation of which is which, because the whole doctrine confuses the issue.  Provide for yourself by denying that you have any right to do so whatsoever.  Not only does this not make any sense, but seems very little like the “light” kind of burden our Lord spoke of.

Whether our determinist friends in any school of thought—be they neo-Calvinist despots or scientific determinist hypocrites, or whomever—choose to accept it or not, the reasonably verifiable fact is that it is NOT God doing all the providing for man.  Man is the one who provides for himself; who reaps and sows according to his due diligence and reason and morality and awareness of the divine directive to exercise wisdom in taking control and ownership of his life.  Certainly God’s grace provides in times of trouble as the manna in the desert and the feeding of the five thousand demonstrate.  However, unless otherwise instructed by the Spirit, or moved upon by Him due to special circumstance, we are to take our welfare upon ourselves, willfully and personally and purposefully implementing the Truth God gives, which we grasp by our reason, in organizing our world and lives.  In short, we have all the tools we need to do for ourselves.  And the Bible is not bereft of warnings and rebukes for those who are lazy in this regard.

In light of the biblical mandate that man take ownership of and responsibility for his life on earth, it is not difficult to see how the traditional understanding of human-to-human enslavement and other forms of servitude breaks down, and breaks down immediately.  Nevertheless, this obvious and Biblical rebuttal to the idea of cosmic chattel slavery continues to elude the philosophy of many believers.  This is due, in large part, to the disturbing trend of Christians accepting that the proof-text is the gold standard of Biblical exegesis (known in cohesive form as Systematic Theology), which in my observation more often than not exaggerates and makes inappropriately literal a simple and contextually specific theological point or points.  In regards to the issue at hand, the point is the Pauline declaration that “you are not your own”.  Somehow, by some strange and distorted idea of humility (which is really, in neo-Calvinist circles, merely a rank hatred of humanity no matter who it is, what they believe, or what they are doing), this statement gets translated as:  “God owns you, so don’t even pretend to think for yourself, or delude yourself into thinking that you are capable of doing anything to please God by yourself in any way at all; you better just sit down and wait until God (or rather, your local church “authority”) tells you what to think and do.”  And God, instead of the “friend” which Jesus spoke of and the One who cares for widows and orphans, is the invisible, dour and cold Master, using the whip of discipline (church discipline IS God’s discipline; there is no distinction by those who believe in the false idea that the church has any authority to FORCE outcomes in believers’ lives) and the chain of guilt to compel his brutes to stay with the herd, nodding and joyful and oblivious to anything that smacks of themselves (because they are mere bystanders to their own lives) …yes, going along with the crowd which is compelled ultimately by threat and force into “sound doctrine”.  And who, absent the Master in body, are the shepherds of the herd on earth, standing in the stead of the divine Herder?  Why, your local neo-Calvinist/neo-reformed pastor (or “elder), of course!

This is undoubtedly where the logic always leads:  You don’t own yourself.   WE do.  Not God, because, look around…He is not here.  And anyway, He is too Holy to deal with the likes of sinful, wicked, depraved YOU; and that is why he left US in charge.

Yes.  This is exactly where the logic always leads.  You are a slave, not to God, but to man.

The local church “authority” becomes slave-master proxy.  And voila!  In one cold and lonely proof-text we have managed to light the bonfires gnostic, deterministic control of the masses.

So, now that we have shown what 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 is not, let’s examine what it actually is.  First, we must acknowledge, in light of the metaphysical reason of God’s omnipotence, that He cannot in fact own you as chattel slave-type property.  The idea of God owning creation should not been seen in this kind of earthly and human context because of this metaphysically reasonable point:   An omnipotent God, by definition, does not need to own anything at all, because He is all that he needs; and all that He needs is perpetually found in Himself.  Because of this, He could not have created all Creation in order to own it, but ownership, rather, has to do with the broader command God gives to man regarding the right to claim ownership of one’s work. In effect, man’s right (via God’s declaration that HE worked, so HE owns his work) to own his labor and thus own its fruits.  And by this, it is obvious that man must certainly own himself.  For if his work is his own and the product of the work is his own then it is obvious that man must also own himself.  You cannot separate the individual from his labor and its product.  It is simply not morally or metaphysically possible (why we as Christians, at least ostensibly, decry communist governments; they are simply UNBIBILCAL).  This is the fundamental premise behind the idea of God’s “ownership” of man.  (More on this in a moment).

At any rate, to declare man divine property introduces a redundancy in man’s very creation by a perfect God.  Man was created to be free because God’s perfection means that man could never have been created to be owned, because God by definition needs nothing at all; there this is absolutely no reason God can create man for the purpose of owning him which does not make God a hypocrite.  So there is a fundamental dichotomy in the idea of ownership.  On the one hand, God is morally bound to declare ownership of His own labor, which is Creation, including man.  This is just and right; for an ownership of labor is an ownership of self.  And yet by definition there is no metaphysically reasonable way that God can create man for the objective of owning him in the master/slave sense.  It simply cannot be.  If man was not created to be free to own himself the way God owns Himself then man simply could not have been created at all.

“The earth is mine and everything in it” is not a declaration that God is some kind of cosmic loan officer, either.  Or that man is simply watching God’s storehouse, or declaring his own work and its fruits as merely a stewarding God’s property.  On the contrary.  If man built the storehouse, filled it, maintained it, and has the deed to it, it means, by even Biblical definition that it belongs to the man.  Does this make man a robber of God?  It does not.  On the contrary, it affirms God’s divine purpose for man, and God’s righteous declaration that the earth, the product of His labor, and everything in it belongs to Him.  And here we see another obvious reason why God would declare Creation His own.  By God saying “mine”, He proclaims that He is Truth.  When He assumes the right of ownership of His work, he declares that He is in fact the One, true Creator; and thus all that He says and commands and instructs is Truth.  He states loudly by His self-bequeathed right to own His work that He alone may literally declare what IS and what IS NOT.  And thus, he anoints Himself…well, God.

And in this sense, Creation and man do indeed belong to Him.  And thus He rightly declares by all just and reasonable and moral prerogative that He is at liberty to do as He pleases with what He has built.  But we cannot stop here because this logic inevitably leads us to another important metaphysical question:  Just what is God pleased to do with his Creation?  The answer is that He is again bound to what His own perfection and omnipotence demand of Him; what God is morally obligated to by His own definition of moral purity, and His embodiment of perfection which man grasps via his reason, that God may show Himself faithful to his divine and Holy status, and make thus all men liars who oppose Him; and it is important to remember that man’s reason is something which God also created.  Man approves of God according to His word of Truth by a faculty which man wholly owns and controls, and yet, God has made for such a purpose…and this is of course proof of God’s utter confidence that He is in fact who He says He is:  by the fact that He has provided man a way to INDEPENDENTLY know it and see it and affirm it.  (Yes, I said it.  Independently.  I utterly deny and renounce the doctrine of Total Depravity, along with the other four points of TULIP.)

But back to the question.  What is it that God is pleased to do with Creation?  It is simply this:  That Creation be itself.  Acting by itself, of itself, according to itself, and yes, owning itself.  In other words, what pleases God is to create something that is not God.  Therefore, divine ownership of man effectively equals releasing man to be himself and to own himself.  The Fall makes us slaves to the moral law, and eternally condemned by it, but Christ has returned us to our original status before God.  And that original status is to be “free indeed”.  Free of slavery; of the waggling finger of the other “power” which once held us captive in the chains of spiritual slavery to the Law.  And if we are now free indeed, then what must that freedom imply?  Or rather, what is that freedom exactly?  More slavery?  More chains from the divine Master, claiming complete authority to rule our minds and bodies, contrary to His very perfection?  Not at all.  The freedom, again, is simply that man does indeed own himself.  He is free to be man.  He is free to be NOT God.  Innocent of the law.  Walking in the freedom of good works, which we as Christians do because we are not liars or hypocrites before the moral law of good and evil which we are still consciously aware; and which is why we can still sin and yet our innocence of the moral law means we are no longer condemned by it, nor by God.

Redemption does not mean slavery to God.  Yes we are bought with a price, and yes God is entitled to the product of His labor, which is all of Creation and man. But what truly is the metaphysically reasonable understanding of our redemption in light of God’s purpose for His work in the first place?  Freedom.  And freedom means this:  That a man (or woman, for all the complimentarians) is never owned by any other man, or any group of men, or by a “biblical role”, or even by God Himself.  That man was created to own himself and his work just as God owns Himself and His work.

To summarize, we have an all-powerful and perfect God, who owns Creation as the fruit of His labor; and His labor is Himself, just as man’s labor is himself.  Thus, the idea of divine ownership of man and Creation is the idea of personal property born out of the necessary truth of God creating something that is not Himself, which is that the One, and the one (man) is the sole owner of his work, and so must be the sole owner of himself. But at the same time, God is not a hypocrite, therefore, it must be true that man was created to own himself.  God can never be removed from his perfection and perfect power.  Because He is perfect, He needs nothing, and therefore He simply cannot use creation for his OWN end, which is always the perfect end, which is Himself.  So Creation and man can have but one purpose:  to be free.  Free to be themselves.  To own themselves.  Because this is God’s love; and something created in love cannot be made a slave to Him which created it.

Man was created to be free and to own his body, mind, and life, and to taste God’s love and blessings thus by pursuing Him and His Truth as the very definition of freedom, by his own volition.

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10 thoughts on “Cosmic Chattel Slavery?: The pervasive and false understanding of divine ownership of man.

  1. this statement gets translated as: “God owns you, so don’t even pretend to think for yourself, or delude yourself into thinking that you are capable of doing anything to please God by yourself in any way at all; you better just sit down and wait until God (or rather, your local church “authority”) tells you what to think and do.”

    Hilarous!

  2. ” …. He is too Holy to deal with the likes of sinful, wicked, depraved YOU; and that is why he left US in charge.
    “Yes. This is exactly where the logical always leads. You are a slave, not to God, but to man.
    “The local church “authority” becomes slave-master proxy. And voila! In one cold and lonely proof-text we have managed to light the bonfires gnostic, deterministic control of the masses.”

    Yes. Yes, and yes. This is exactly where this logic goes. Paul’s effort at to define moral injunction gets manipulated to mean that divine ownership is tantamount to collective slavery. The Ubermensche own the surfs by substitute. Preachers are entitled to command obedience because they represent God and his plan. This wicked interpretation was at the center of Luther’s Anti Semitic theology that inspired the German people in the 1930’s. It was central to the Presbyterian churches full advocacy of Slavery in the US in the mid to late 1800’s.

    This interpretive conclusion is fully evil as it is fully destructive.

  3. Hi John,

    You know, I was thinking about the roots of Christianity yesterday right after my “non-Calvinist” preacher at the church we are attending quoted David Platt, the relatively popular neo-Cal despot who recently derided the Sinner’s Prayer as superstition. This has, of course, everything to do with his devotion to the false Calvinist interpretation on “election” and total depravity. The sinner cannot truly repent, mind you, because that supposes that the sinner can actually recognize his own sin; which is impossible, because according to Calvinism, a human being can’t know anything at all, period. He or she can’t even know if they are really saved, and so the sinner’s prayer is indeed superstition. Because ALL of human thought is superstition.

    But I digress.

    Anyway, as I heard my preacher quote Platt I realized with sadness that it simply doesn’t matter where you go in Christianity in America today. At the root of the belief system is
    Augustinian/Platonist philosophy; and this is decidedly deterministic and gnostic, and it finds its full cohesion and confidence and persuasive power in Calvinism. It is inevitable. Everywhere you go humanity is DOA. And a humanity that is dead regardless of whether it is elect or not (indeed, the doctrine of election MEANS that the person is forever DEAD; so dead that God has to BE the person in order for that person to be “saved”).

    I submit that the greatest tactical move the devil ever played was supplanting the Jewish foundations of Christianity with Western European ones. Calvin’s Institutes are the Old Testament. Luther and Edwards and Spurgeon are Moses, David, and Elijah. And who is God?

    Karl Marx.

    Why? Because Marxism is as old as humanity. Because before Edwards, Marxism AM.

  4. “Anyway, as I heard my preacher quote Platt I realized with sadness that it simply doesn’t matter where you go in Christianity in America today. At the root of the belief system is
    Augustinian/Platonist philosophy; and this is decidedly deterministic and gnostic, and it finds its full cohesion and confidence and persuasive power in Calvinism.

    It is inevitable. “

    Welcome to the fight of the ages. And this is the crossroads that Christianity has always faltered at. No matter how often God inspires “renewal” movements (and by renewal I mean movements that emphasize life, and individual liberty and prosperity) the power of the collectivist systemic progression wins by attrition.

    “Everywhere you go humanity is DOA…” And until someone rises to the challenge and develops an equally compelling philosophy that explains why Man is morally correct to live, to be alive, to have LIFE … Christianity will always be a cult of death.

  5. That is true, disturbingly so. I stand with jaw agape as Christians lament the loss of civil liberty, and in the very next breath concede that they have no right before their OWN Creator to declare themselves fit for anything but an eternity in hell! That indeed it would have been better for God, ironically, if they had never been born. What does this say about the ability of Christians to effect freedom in America? There is no excuse in heaven or in the Bible for human life! The core of their philosophy declares God an utter fool. I mean, the confusion and contradictions are as endless as the horizon. Man is good is in the first chapter of Genesis, but they will have none of it. Sad.

    But how come THAT isn’t a proof text worth forming a doctrine around. You are not your own…sure, but “it was very good”? They’d rather concede slavery to some college drop out in the name of pervasive depravity.

    But why?! I mean why? Why is “truth” directly proportional to insanity?

  6. Hi Argo –

    Good to see that you are working out your ideas!

    It just seems like believers are more comfortable living like fallen beings than as new creatures. They like their former state, they talk about their former state, because they are still sinners (as a pastor said to me the other day in a private conversation). I wanted to scream at him. “I AM NOT A SINNER. THAT’S NOT HOW GOD SEES ME. JESUS GAVE ME NEW LIFE AND I AM NOT THE WORST SINNER I KNOW. I may still sin at times, but that is not my current state in the eyes of God my Father.” Of course, the pastor was completely sincere and said this in all humbleness as he was not wanting to seem puffed up. I can hardly stand to sit through a Sunday gathering anymore. It is always depressing.

    Paul seemed to BOAST in the goodness of what Christ had done quite a bit. Most believers do not really believe that they have new life in Christ Jesus. Just as Adam and Eve did not believe what God said to them in the garden, believers do not believe what God said about them at creation (this is very good) and what Scripture says about them as new creatures in Christ Jesus. And it doesn’t help when leaders teach you a lie about your ability to do anything good and pleasing to God.

  7. Hi Bridget,

    Thanks for stopping by! So great to see you here (or…er, read you here LOL).
    Of course you are absolutely right, but I would add that it is even more than that. At least as I see it.

    The fact of the matter is that all men and women have worth and value to God, inherently, as a function of their very EXISTENCE. Whether they are saved or not does not mean, necessarily, that God loves them less than He loves you or me, it is that they are separated by the chasm of the loss of innocence. Salvation, then, is all about US freely accepting HIM, not vice versa, because it is for us, not for Him. Our very existence is the implicit divine concession that He ALREADY accepts people; that is, He already loves them and declares their creation GOOD. Because if they weren’t good, He could not have created them, by definition of his very perfection. Salvation then, is born out of the inherent LOVE God has for all people as evidenced by their existence, and He offers them a way to regain their innocence of the Law so that they can co-exist with Him in eternity. Total depravity is a lie because God cannot create evil. People can DO evil, but they cannot be created as inherently so; and that means that the evil they do is volitional, and not compelled by an external force they were born with.

    Now, I don’t mean to say that salvation is of ourselves…of course not. But there seems to be this pervasive understanding that God doesn’t love people; that the loss of innocence means that God stopped loving his Creation; that it stopped being good. And that just isn’t the case at all. Existence did not stop being good after Adam and Eve; but that is not what the Calvinists believe. They believe that God’s first and foremost reaction to man is not love, is not a declaration that man is good, because his very existence is what is evil about him. And in light of this, it is not hard to understand just why Calvinists still see humans as primarily despised by God, even after salvation; and indeed, within five minutes of a conversation, I mean LITERALLY, with almost any Christian I run into I’m being told how horrible they are, and how they just cannot understand why God didn’t smite them before morning coffee. They think that merely waking up in morning is an act of apostasy! Imagine the living hell life is for these people! And, when you ask them “why is that?”, or “why do you say that?”, or “why do you believe that about yourself?”, the only consistent sin they can really ever cohesively define, that I can see when I organize the confusion and contradictions in their theological explanations, is their existence. And we wonder why evangelizing the lost is so anemic it is practically a corpse today in the American church. It isn’t so much the doctrine of “election” (but that’s a big part of it), but…who in their right mind would wish this “faith” on even their worst enemy, let alone their neighbors and friends? I hated the thought of telling people about Jesus when I was a Calvinist. I couldn’t bear to think of these nice people having to live with the soul-sucking self-loathing inherent to the “sound doctrine”. It seemed, ironically, so heartless.

    So…I know this is confusing, but what I’m trying to say is that if you are a Calvinist, then God despises everyone, saved or unsaved, because, according to their doctrine, He must, because there is no good in man, so God has to do everything for him; and that means that any good they ever do is really HIM doing it. So there is nothing ever to love. There is zero inherent worth to people. Their sin is simply their existence, period. Because, since the only thing people can can really do of themselves is BE according to Calvinism, then, again, existence is the root of what God hates about man. I know people think I’m exaggerating; its all hyperbole; and no one’s pastor actually believes or teaches this. But that is only because, inherent to their belief system is the cessation of thinking and asking questions. A depraved person cannot think, and so there is nothing to ask. If people start thinking, and asking, the primrose path will inexorable lead to this conclusion: God hates you because you exist. You have no right to BE, and that is why WE WILL own you.

    And yet, He is the Creator, no? Yes He is. So then what are we saying? God hates existence. And if God hates existence, of which HE is the summary definition, then He hates what He has done: Exist and Create–the sum of His perfection, indeed, are found in these two things. So, in other words He hates what He does (His labor), which means He hates Himself (one IS his labor). Thus, a hatred of man (via that scapegoat of “sinful nature”), is a hatred of God. And this is why this theology is so evil, It denies God on every level. It denies His perfection. It supplants God with gnostic nihilists.

    Now, contrast that with what you and I believe, via LOVE, which is the root of the two greatest commandments. If God loves us as believers, then He must love all people. Because what drives the gift of Christ is LOVE. Love exists before and after salvation. And if God loves human beings, without respecting persons, then existence truly IS and always will be GOOD. And this is what must form the root of our Christianity if we are to truly love as God loves: the existence of people is GOOD, period. People are GOOD to BE. The divine right of Man is the right to exist.

    Thanks, Bridget! I think I’m going to make this into a post.

  8. Argo,

    Hi, this is my first visit to your blog!

    You are making a LOT of sense to me in this comment. Everything you said. I can’t believe how much sense this makes! It is everything I believe God has been teaching me on my journey away from Calvinism. I am thankful for the time you take to think through all of this and then put it into words for others to read.

    You said, “I hated the thought of telling people about Jesus when I was a Calvinist. I couldn’t bear to think of these nice people having to live with the soul-sucking self-loathing inherent to the “sound doctrine”. It seemed, ironically, so heartless.” Yes. I agree. I felt that evangelizing was inherently dishonest. To say “Jesus loves you, turn to him,” simply would not jive with the Calvinist belief system. To say “God hates you, repent!” was more honest, but for one thing, I knew that would only turn people away, and for another, why tell people to repent when I believed they could not unless God had predetermined that they would? Why tell them God wanted them to turn to him when I believed He had probably already planned for them not to? It felt like such a lie!

    I also agree that as a Calvinist, I really hated myself and dreaded getting up in the morning. All I had to look forward to every day was failure to measure up. Salvation, while I knew it couldn’t be earned, became about measuring up, about bearing “Good Fruit” as evidence of my election, and I was always failing. I could not pray and while I would say that God loved me, I did not believe it in my heart. I stopped praying pretty much entirely because I did not feel I could approach him.

    God has been kind to me to show me over the past year that he loves me, that he is ALREADY pleased with me and I do not have to work to please him. In learning that I can be free to live as one loved by him, that I may Rest in his Grace, I have become free to love others as well rather than fearing them. THIS is good news to a heart that had grown dark!!!

  9. Looking for You,

    Welcome! Thanks for stopping by and thanks so much for sharing!

    Yes, yes…what you experience is very much like what I have gone through, and what I suspect a LOT of people entrapped within the neo-Cal juggernaut feel; even some of those who may be its most outspoken proponents. It isn’t that they necessarily deny their feelings. It’s that they really think that those feelings are wicked; that the lack of joy cannot possibly be the root fatalistic determinism which drives the theology, but is certainly due to their ongoing depravity and their deep seated inability to be anything other than horrible people. They put up with the torment because they think that this their cosmic, divine duty. The more miserable they are, the better; they are getting their just desserts. And they count themselves lucky!! They think that no matter how terrorized they are in their spirits, no matter how destructive the sum of the neo-Cal doctrine is to humanity, surely it’s better then “what they deserve”. Why, if they got what they deserved, they might be like those well-adjusted and happy humans who actually think God loves them…yes, they’d be deceived like those poor happy doomed souls. Ah, if only those happy “sinners” knew the depth of their sin (who foolishly think that because THEY accepted Christ that they are saved; when the truth is that most are probably not elect at all, you know…poor bastards). If only they knew that they needed to really just stop being so doggone in love with God and thankful that He loves and cares for them and answers their prayers and instead would just go to the cross, everyday, and get re-saved over and over and over again, to the point where the cross becomes the wooden stocks of puritanical self-deprecation; and they sit in them all day every day while the world throws rotten tomatoes upon their depraved souls because of course, their very existence warrants the abuse…they deserve the spit and rotten veggies because they breath, and even that is done in “sin”. But hey…at least they are elect.

    Unless they aren’t. And,again, they can’t really know, because by definition they must deny every thought and deed as filthy rags. For event their hope is sin. So…they wait in the stocks of the Cross and hope that in the end it is all worth it.

    You were right to question the insanity of it. I’m so glad you have found your way out and have realized that the reason you cannot earn God’s love is because He has ALWAYS loved you. He doesn’t think you are depraved; He thinks you are good; your existence good. You are His Creation, and His work is good.

    But, see, your comment reminded me of something. And that is this: one of the reasons the Calvinists get away with their humanity-razing and self-serving theology is because, in a way, they say the right things. They say, for example, that we all need Jesus. They say we cannot earn God’s love. All those things, yes, sound so biblical and true; but see, they are never questioned as to just what they MEAN. And by the time you actually figure out that what they say is so different than the what the truth is, you are already ten miles down the road, confused, nodding and declaring them your overlord “standing in the stead” (and this is just what happened to me; but I blame myself). But once you realize that the premises behind the “orthodox” sounding words is completely contrary to what God actually thinks about man, then the whole false front collapses. The point is: never concede or agree with a Calvinist until you understand what the basis of the point is. NEVER concede a premise. NEVER nod your head when they say something like, “Well, surely we can both agree that God is good.” Because the minute you do that, they have got you on the rails that lead inexorably to THEIR gnostic conclusions, and before you know it, your into the cohesive theology so deeply you can’t ever remember where you started (but they will remind you by simply saying: Just remember, you are awful…so “God is good”, becomes, YOU are awful, and that’s all you need to know).

    Because, while yes, God certainly is good, that isn’t the POINT. God’s goodness isn’t a proclamation of TRUTH coming from a Calvinist, because if it was, they’d understand it can only mean: therefore, YOU should CHOOSE to follow Him, because this is wise. But that’s not what they mean. When they say God is good, they mean: you CAN’T possibly follow God because you are evil. The point of God is good is merely to remind you that YOU are not. And that is not the Biblical implication of the truth “God is good”. So, the Calvinists get away with their heresy because they use Biblical language as slight-of-hand. God is good doesn’t mean, God is TRUTH, or God’s work is perfect, or God craves the salvation of all people because He loves them. No, God is good means: man is vile, obey us.

  10. Argo,

    Nodding my head over here. “God is good” takes on a whole new meaning for neo-calvs. They are pros at redefinition. It is very sinister, even though I do not believe that most of them intend to be sinister at all.

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