My Thoughts on Calvinism: PART IV – Limited Atonement

God is supposed to be omnipotent and omnipresent, which means all-knowing and present everywhere in space and time. Considering this, Calvinists have the notion that God had already chosen who He was going to save before the universe was created. In effect, Jesus’ death on the cross would only be valid to those that God had already chosen outside of the realm of time. This would mean that Jesus only sacrificed His life for the ones He chose before the creation of the world.

To me, this directly contrasts one of the most commonly used Bible verses by Evangelical Christians,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 RSV

In my mind, if Limited Atonement were true, this verse should be reworded as such,

“For God so loved his Elect that he gave his only Son, that whoever he chose before the creation of the universe should not perish but have eternal life, and the rest will burn in Hell.”

A five-point Calvinist would argue that if Limited Atonement were false, then Christ shed His blood in vain for those in Hell whom He already died for. To me, this is an argument that describes a selfish god that is only willing to die for the ones He prefers.

Christianity is supposedly a religion of self-sacrificing love, even for those we consider to be our enemies. Some of the most difficult people to love are the ones we have the lease in common with. If Christ was not willing to die for all of humanity, how can He expect us to follow His command to love our enemies?

And this is also where I have an issue with whether persons with severe mental disabilities or medical conditions that causes them to lack the capacity to have faith or ‘accept Christ’ on their own. To me, if Jesus did not give up His life for them, then the Gospel is only good news to the select few.

If people didn’t have the mental capacity for free will during their earthly lives, who’s to say they would not be given that opportunity in the afterlife, such as Purgatory? Who’s to say that we know God well enough that we could try and reduce His criteria for judgement within a five-letter acronym, and not by a case-by-case scenario?

This is one of the many reasons why I believe Christ died for all, and why I reject Limited Atonement.

NEXT: PART V – Irresistible Grace

PREVIOUS: PART III – Unconditional Election

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