Archive for the ‘Isaiah 10’ Category

Axe, Saw, and Staff Theology

January 6, 2010

Calvinism is sometimes accused of turning men into robots or puppets. Scoffers refer to Calvinism as “puppet theology” or “robot theology.” One way to respond to this is by trying to explain to the critics that Calvinism teaches that men have wills and make choices. There’s nothing wrong with that approach. However, another approach that may help the person to think is to say that robots and puppets aren’t the best analogy – the best analogy is that Calvinism turns men into axes, saws, and staves. If it is degrading to humanity to be compared to a puppet or robot (which are, at least, made after the image and likeness of man) how much more insulting it is to be compared to a stick with a blade at the end or simply to a serrated blade or bare stick!

Isaiah 10:12-15
Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. For he saith,

By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: and my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.

Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

Yes, even wicked men are tools in the hand of God. That is the way that God’s sovereignty works. If you don’t like it, and you think it degrades humanity, your problem is not with some 16th century Frenchman but with the Scriptures written thousands of years (about 2300 years) before him. That doesn’t mean that men don’t have wills and make choices, but it does mean that men should recognize their role in the grand scheme of things: not as the deciders of history but the actors of it.


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