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.