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The Statistical Impossibility of Arminianism

Posted by Job on August 19, 2008

The statistical impossibility of Arminianism

By Kyle Andrews

To understand the errant doctrine of Arminianism we can look towards one of the simplest forms of mathematics known as probability. For example let’s take a coin for instance. A coin has two sides, one head and the other tails. If I were to flip the coin 100 times the probability of it landing heads or tails is 50/50. In all probability If I were to perform this exercise the likely hood of having 50% of the time landing on heads and 50% of the time landing on tails is likely the more times I flip the coin. That being said a 50/50 probability is likely. However, let us look at something different called “possibility”. It IS “possible” that I can flip the coin 100 times and it could land tails up 100 times or heads up 100 times. Although improbable it IS “possible”. So we can’t discount the possibility of 100 heads or 100 tails. Keep this in mind for we will come to this later.
The arminian claims that it is ultimately up to the individual to accept the atoning sacrifice on the cross. This in essence is the free will doctrine which is espoused by these neo pelagians who think that man has the final decision regarding his salvation. If this is true then it is obvious that man only has two options.
A: Accept Jesus as Lord and savior
OR
B: Do not accept Jesus as Lord and savior.
It is pretty simple. That being said, after the atonement on the cross there were a set of two improbable possibilities we need to look at according to Arminians.
A: it was “possible” that NO person would accept Jesus as Lord and Savior
OR
B: It was “possible” that everyone would accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Although statistically improbable in either direction it was “possible”. And this leads to the crux of the situation. Mathematically Arminian’s deny the ABSOLUTE Sovereignty of God. In their view according to free will God was 99.99999999 % likely to save at least somebody. However, there was a statistical possibility of .00000000001% that God’s atonement on the cross would be in vain and would save nobody. Because of this at the moment of death after Christ said, “it is finished” He could not with 100%, A 100 % certainty claim what he did on the cross would save anybody no matter how infinitesimal the possibility. Because of this there was the slimmest possibility that he died in vain and the whole Bible from Genesis on would be a lie.
Now some of you may say I’m being too technical. If this is the case then it is you with the problem. God is either 100% Sovereign, or he is not. When it comes to God 99.9999999% does not make him perfect.
In closing Calvinism is the only way that guaranteed with 100% probability and 100% possibility that people would be saved. Because as we know with God ALL things are possible.

The Statistical Impossibility of Arminianism – Follow up

I wrote this after some deep pondering between Calvinism VS Arminianism. After some time a few things came to mind considering the free will doctrine which to the best of my knowledge had yet to be considered. It dawned on me that because Free will is of man and initiated by man’s ultimate decision it had occurred to me that it was possible that NO ONE might choose salvation. Once this happened a light bulb, if you will, went off in my mind. I said to myself, “with Arminianism God could have never been 100% sure that the death, burial, and resurrection would save anybody after that moment at calvary”. In essence God would have had to wait with his hands off and merely wait and see if his Grand Plan for the salvation of mankind would work. Next I demonstrated this by using mathematical possibility to help explain my idea. By using this methodology I could show without a shadow of doubt to the Arminian that in their view it was possible that God’s intent after the fall in the garden “could” have been done in vain. I made sure to clarify that because of the billions of people born since that it was highly improbable due to shear numbers but was possible hence the use of a coin. And like a coin with two sides their are only two choices. Once I had established these facts it then dawned on me that no matter the likely hood of salvation we could not with 100% accuracy that anyone could be saved. Once this was established it is by the Arminians own philosophy proven mathematically that God could NOT be 100% sure His salvation plan would result in anyone being saved. Hence the 99.9999999% Sovereignty of God which is not 100%. Alas it could be conjectured that God by the view of the Arminians was NOT in TOTAL control and NOT TOTALLY sovereign.

To expound upon this let us look at the definition of Sovereign.

1. Not controlled by outside forces autonomous, independent, self-governing.

2. Greatest in status or authority or power, supreme.

By definition the God of Arminianism fails to meet the definition of Sovereign. Free will dictates that mankind controlled his destiny after the cross.

Let us look at another definition given to God – Omnipotent

1. Having unlimited power

By the free will doctrine God fails to meet the standard applied to him. He could not have unlimited power but rather was limited in his power because A: He was not the final authority on who was saved and B: Albeit remote, he could not with 100%, A 100% certainty claim that His crucifixion would save anybody.

8 Responses to “The Statistical Impossibility of Arminianism”

  1. Kyle said

    The Statistical Impossibility of Arminianism – Follow up

    I wrote this after some deep pondering between Calvinism VS Arminianism. After some time a few things came to mind considering the free will doctrine which to the best of my knowledge had yet to be considered. It dawned on me that because Free will is of man and initiated by man’s ultimate decision it had occurred to me that it was possible that NO ONE might choose salvation. Once this happened a light bulb, if you will, went off in my mind. I said to myself, “with Arminianism God could have never been 100% sure that the death, burial, and resurrection would save anybody after that moment at calvary”. In essence God would have had to wait with his hands off and merely wait and see if his Grand Plan for the salvation of mankind would work. Next I demonstrated this by using mathematical possibility to help explain my idea. By using this methodology I could show without a shadow of doubt to the Arminian that in their view it was possible that God’s intent after the fall in the garden “could” have been done in vain. I made sure to clarify that because of the billions of people born since that it was highly improbable due to shear numbers but was possible hence the use of a coin. And like a coin with two sides their are only two choices. Once I had established these facts it then dawned on me that no matter the likely hood of salvation we could not with 100% accuracy that anyone could be saved. Once this was established it is by the Arminians own philosophy proven mathematically that God could NOT be 100% sure His salvation plan would result in anyone being saved. Hence the 99.9999999% Sovereignty of God which is not 100%. Alas it could be conjectured that God by the view of the Arminians was NOT in TOTAL control and NOT TOTALLY sovereign.

    To expound upon this let us look at the definition of Sovereign.

    1. Not controlled by outside forces autonomous, independent, self-governing.

    2. Greatest in status or authority or power, supreme.

    By definition the God of Arminianism fails to meet the definition of Sovereign. Free will dictates that mankind controlled his destiny after the cross.

    Let us look at another definition given to God – Omnipotent

    1. Having unlimited power

    By the free will doctrine God fails to meet the standard applied to him. He could not have unlimited power but rather was limited in his power because A: He was not the final authority on who was saved and B: Albeit remote, he could not with 100%, A 100% certainty claim that His crucifixion would save anybody.

    I can’t wait for your responses!

    Kyle

  2. Eric Watson said

    I respect your views and the following is by no means an attack on you, said views or anyone else.

    I claim neither to be an Arminian nor a Calvinist. As such, I will attempt — perhaps unsuccessfully — to analyze the content of your argument rather than either set of beliefs.

    Going in order of your statements, the first problem I find with this argument is the idea of comparing the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God, on the cross for the sins of all to a coin toss. This seems to demean the worth of said sacrifice. I’m sure that wasn’t your intent, but the comparison seems a little ridiculous.

    Next is the example:
    “If I were to flip the coin 100 times the probability of it landing heads or tails is 50/50. In all probability If I were to perform this exercise the likely hood of having 50% of the time landing on heads and 50% of the time landing on tails is likely the more times I flip the coin. That being said a 50/50 probability is likely. However, let us look at something different called “possibility”. It IS “possible” that I can flip the coin 100 times and it could land tails up 100 times or heads up 100 times. Although improbable it IS “possible”. So we can’t discount the possibility of 100 heads or 100 tails.”

    This would be accurate if there were only one hundred people in the world. Unfortunately for the argument, there are far more. Neither the Arminians nor the Calvinists, best to my knowledge, believe that Jesus only died for people who were alive at the time He walked the earth, or even those who were in eye-shot of the Cross at the time of His death — both populations would contain more than one-hundred people.
    However, because there have been countless billions of people ever,(the only estimation I could find says there have been 106,456,367,669 people ever, estimated in 2002), the probability of NO ONE accepting His sacrifice is much closer to zero (something like 0.000000000000001, I believe). In addition, we don’t know how many people there have been ever, nor do we know how many people there WILL be ever.
    The point of this particular counter-argument is that eventually, we may just hit that magical point at which it is mathematically impossible for no one EVER to accept Him. Mathematics seems to be the core of your argument, so I feel this rebuttal is acceptable.

    Thirdly, a Sovereign and Eternally Loving God –the one whom we serve– would have made His sacrifice for us even if only one –or arguably NO one– accepted it. By this token and the one above, God could theoretically just let the world exist for as many years as it would take for someone to accept the gospel and believe in His Son and Sacrifice. In addition, the Bible is littered with things God does for His people “in vain” (that is to say, He has done things for His people and they blatantly ignored or rejected it — see pretty much the entire Bible). These acts were not, in fact, in vain but done regardless of the people’s reaction because He loved them deeply and truly.

    Let us not forget, in spirit of this argument, that at LEAST ONE PERSON has/had been saved by this sacrifice. I’ll not command you to read Luke 23:43, but the thief on the cross is in Heaven. Jesus’ blood sacrifice flowed down and covered his sins and that day, the thief was saved. There’s no doubt in my mind that had that thief been the only person throughout ALL of history to accept Jesus, He would have done it wholeheartedly.

    Next, after saying the Arminians cannot believe that God is sovereign, or that they doubt His sovereignty:
    “To expound upon this let us look at the definition of Sovereign.

    1. Not controlled by outside forces autonomous, independent, self-governing.

    2. Greatest in status or authority or power, supreme.

    By definition the God of Arminianism fails to meet the definition of Sovereign. Free will dictates that mankind controlled his destiny after the cross.

    Let us look at another definition given to God – Omnipotent

    1. Having unlimited power”

    Because God is omnipotent and entirely sovereign, is it not His right to sacrifice His Son if for no other reason than there is a possibility someone will accept Him? Saying that people need to CHOOSE His Son’s sacrifice is NOT the same as saying God isn’t all-powerful. Yours is a hollow argument at this particular point.

    Before I conclude, I feel I need to point out one thing: No matter which “side” is right, be it Arminian or Calvinist or otherwise, this argument is rather frivolous. No matter which side is right, already at least ONE person ever HAS and/or DOES accept His sacrifice. That fact alone means His sacrifice was NOT in vein, that –according to your argument– because of that, He IS sovereign and that arguing this is rather pointless. Was there a possibility that no one would accept His sacrifice? Maybe or maybe not. Keep in mind the Calvinist’s view of “Irresistible Grace.” Does that possibility matter NOW, since at least one person HAS accepted it? Not at all.

    The final point I’ll make in response is that God IS Sovereign and outside of time as we perceive it. He would not “have had to wait with his hands off and merely wait and see if his Grand Plan for the salvation of mankind would work,” as it was put in your argument. Because He sees all of time in an instant, because an eternity to God is as a blink of an eye to man, He knew and knows and will know EXACTLY how his Grand Plan will play out.

    In conclusion, therefore:
    Because of the limited parallels in the comparison of flipping a coin to the Eternal Blood Sacrifice made by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on the Cross;
    Because of the hundreds of billions of people in the world throughout history and the mathematical impossibility of no one EVER accepting Him;
    Because He would have made His loving sacrifice ANYWAY, whether no one would have accepted Him;
    Because Luke 23:43 SAYS at least one person has accepted His Sacrifice;
    Because He IS omnipotent and IS sovereign and can choose to make any Sacrifice He wants or sees fit;\
    Because at LEAST one person (and I’d argue for a few more than just the thief) HAS and DOES accept His sacrifice;
    and because He is outside of time and is sovereign in all of His ways:

    Your argument is over a non-issue. The argument is pointless at best and hollow at worst. If the only person who ever accepted His sacrifice is YOU –I assume you do, in fact, believe in and accept His sacrifice, as no one who didn’t would bother arguing for Calvinism or Arminianism– then the possibility of NO ONE has been thwarted and the probability of SOMEONE has been filled.

    Your argument demeans the Ultimate Sacrifice of Jesus to a coin toss, and no Arminian, no Calvinist, no Christian can or does believe that.

    I’m not going to say which view –Arminian or Calvinist– I believe is right. I don’t need to; that isn’t the point.
    I WILL say, however, that we as Christians argue FAR too much over these things. A person lives for God and accepts the sacrifice of Jesus, then dies. The Arminian says, “He’s probably accepted the Gift and is in Heaven.” The Calvinist says, “Why, he must have been called by His Irresistible Grace and is in Heaven.” Neither know because all can be fooled. A man’s fate is for God to decide, not for two warring factions of His followers.

    Thank you for your post, and for your time.
    –Eric Watson: Christian

  3. Michael said

    Although I don’t believe I could agree with the mathematical model presented as such concerning the (Free will) Arminian / Reformed (Calvinist) issue, I do have a question from which I would appreciate a response from someone who holds to the concept that Jesus sacrifice actually “saved” no one…it only made it possible and that we hold the final “say” in the salvation equation. Let me arrange my thoughts if I may….

    If God is truly omnipotent and omnipresent, then He not only knows all things, but is present in every location in time and space at the same time (although He himself is transcendent in relation to time).

    Therefore from a non-Reformed (and non-Open theistic) viewpoint, God knows who will freely reject Him as their personal savior, yet He creates that person (or “allows that person to be created / born”) anyway. We as humans are free to choose or reject Him, yet He knows how we will choose…and always has since the beginning of time.

    My question is…How does this truly differs from the Reformed (Calvinistic) point of view in the end?

    On the one hand, God predetermines who will live and who will die (eternally) [Reformed viewpoint], and on the other hand He knows how it will turn out, allows us to freely choose under no forceful compulsion from Him, and creates those who will die (eternally) anyway [non-Reformed viewpoint].

    It seems to me that if one truly believes in libertarian free will, that one would be logically bound to be a proponent of Open Theism, since that would be the only way the free will would truly be free. By necessity, God would have to be “in the dark” concerning one’s decision, or else He would be creating some vessels for destruction, and some for mercy (which by the way is what Paul tells us in Romans 9).

  4. Michael, do you feel Paul freely choose Jesus under no forceful compulsion? Was he wrong to call himself and others “prisoners” for Jesus?

    Nobody wants God, Romans 3:11.

    God brings dead to life by His sovereign choice, John 17:24.

  5. Michael said

    Independent Conservative,

    No, I do not personally feel that Paul had a choice…there is nothing in the scriptures that would lead me to that conclusion. In fact, the more I study the scriptures, the more I find the Reformed viewpoint substantiated.

    My comment was really aimed at the still quite large contingent of those who feel that our free will has the final say in our salvation, and that Christ’s finished work actually saved no one…it just made it possible. When I was looking back on that line of reasoning, it occured to me that most of those who feel that way that I know (and I was one as well), feel that God is certainly both omnipresent and omniscient. That brought me to my query above.

    It seems that those of the non-Reformed persuasion hang quite tightly to the notion that God wants everyone to be saved, and Christ died on the cross for every single human being without exception. While this view is VERY popular, it also introduces problems IMHO with scripture in many areas, denigrates the sovereignty of God, and makes a mockery of God’s justice [if one believes that the atonement was personal…in other words, Christ died for my sins personally (and personally for the sins of all who repent and believe upon His name)].

  6. Kyle said

    Eric Watson,

    That was the longest winded drivel I have ever read. Please use scripture next time to back up your Free Will doctrine.

    Kyle

  7. Job said

    Kyle:

    The thing that helped me choose Calvinism was the same thing that motivated me to choose atheism for awhile: NOT EVERYBODY HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE JESUS CHRIST. THE OVERWHELMING SUPERMAJORITY OF PEOPLE TO WALK THE FACE OF THE EARTH HAVE NEVER HEARD THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST. Now with free will, that is a problem, because it makes God be unfair. But with predestination and election it isn’t a problem at all, because it makes God be God.

    And the amazing thing is that even free will Arminianism is actually Calvinism in disguise. God makes the decision where people are born, right? So the people who were born in predominantly Christian nations, to Christian parents, or in situations where they would cross the path of an evangelist or missionary was due to God’s providence. On the other hand, people who go their whole lives without ever hearing the name of Jesus Christ by virtue of where God chose to have them born, that is also God’s providence.

    That is the amazing thing. God has the ability to unconditionally predestine and elect someone to perdition merely by having them born in some pagan, animist, or spiritist tribe that has no contact with the outside world and will live his entire life and die without ever having heard the gospel. But God cannot unconditionally predestine and elect someone to salvation? God can unconditionally destroy a person but He cannot unconditionally redeem and save a person? It is not only inconsistent, but it is an inconsistency that leans heavily towards the God of wrath rather than the God of mercy and grace.

    There are only ways to get around this real hole in Arminianism, the fact that such an incredibly small amount of people ever even hear of Jesus Christ. 1. A dual resurrection doctrine, which states that the people who have not heard of Jesus Christ during their lifetimes will be resurrected on the last day and given a chance to accept Him just before the great white throne judgment. Those with good hearts will accept, those with evil ones will reject. The only place that I have heard this doctrine advanced was http://christianambassadors.org and of course they had no scriptures to back it up. 2. Religious pluralism by way of a works based soteriology that says that all people who faithfully adhere to a religion that basically shares Christian values and morality (the religious right’s Focus on the Family moral values). The Roman Catholic Church officially adopted this at the Vatican Council II (and this is the way, of course, that they claim that Protestants can be saved, according to Roman Catholics we are no different from righteous Muslims, Hindus, or wiccans) and more and more leading evangelicals like Clark Pinnock have endorsed the same (and Pinnock is still accepted as an evangelical Christian by leading pastors and scholars despite this and other heretical beliefs).

    That is why it is either limited atonement, irresistible grace, predestination, election, etc. (Calvinist, Lutheran, Reformed, etc.) has to be true, or religious pluralism has to be true, or bizarre doctrines after that of the heretic Origen have to be true. Of those, Reformed is the only thing that fits with the totality of scripture. It is so easy to put a laser focus on the few verses that imply free will soteriology (and a great many of those are due to translation/textual issues) while ignoring everything else. The same hermeneutics that are used to justify free will salvation could be similarly used to justify all sorts of crazy ideas, and we know full well that religious liberals are doing just that, just as atheists do the same to attack and mock the Word of the living God. The only reason why free will Christians use generally sound hermeneutics elsewhere and selective out of context quotations and refusing to allow scripture to interpret scripture in this instance is because it is what they want to believe. I know because it describes myself.

    The stumblingblock honestly is, I suppose, “negative predestination”, the fact that some people’s fate is the lake of fire, and through human logic that honestly does make it appear that God created some people with the intent of casting them into the lake of fire. (Human logic, reflecting our limited information and fallen nature, of course, is flawed.) Free will APPEARS to solve that conundrum, but it doesn’t really. Free will only works for people who grew up in a largely Christian nation and have a western Christian mindset (by this I mean a form of cultural centrism or chauvinism, not a spiritual way of thinking in any way, actually it might be the opposite when you think about it.) It is a doctrine that is irrelevant to the actual experience of the scores of humanity that have never heard the gospel and are never going to, especially those that are already dead. Whether you claim that such a person’s fate was sealed from the beginning or it was sealed at the end of their lives, there is no functional or practical difference, because such a person was never offered Jesus Christ or the opportunity to choose or reject Him.

  8. Kyle said

    Job,

    Actually Calvinism is the only way that a person in a non Christian country can be saved. By God’s divine Sovereignty Omniscience and Omnipresence He could make himself known directly to someone who has never physically heard the gospel. So in actuality it is the Arminian that limits God in His power seeing that man has to actually accept Jesus Christ for themselves. Think about all the people in their mind who are condemned to hell for not hearing the Gospel. the Calvinist would say on the other hand that if God wills it even those who have never heard could be saved by his divine grace and election if He so chooses to reveal himself to the lost.

    Kyle

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