God cannot be both good and predestine people to hell

Roger E. Olson wrote an excellent blog on the problem at the heart of (high) Calvinism: double predestination. If God has chosen people to go to hell, then God cannot be good.

It’s worth reading. I think he’s right. Here’s his conclusion:

My point is, of course, that there exists a contradiction between two Calvinist beliefs: 1) that the Bible is inherently and unconditionally trustworthy, and 2) that God, its author, is not good in any sense meaningful to us. Belief “1″ assumes that God is good in a sense meaningful to us—comparable with our highest and best intuitions of goodness. Belief “2″ (necessarily implied by double predestination) empties belief “1″ of foundation.
Therefore, any exegesis of the Bible that ends up portraying God as not good, which high Calvinism (belief in double predestination) inexorably does, cannot be believed because it self-referentially turns back against the very reason for believing the Bible. In order to be consistent one must choose between belief in the Bible as God’s Word and belief in double predestination.
This is why I say with John Wesley about the Calvinist interpretation of Romans 9 “Whatever it means it cannot mean that.”

So, how then should we interpret Romans 9? I think one of the best overviews of this comes from Greg Boyd at Re:Knew – it’s a long read, but well worth the effort.

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