In defending themselves against the charge that through their marshalling Scripture on the side of their theory, they set the Bible at variance with itself, the brethren have conceded that there is conflict but maintain that this conflict is not actual but only apparent. Zwier tells his readers (so I have shown by quoting from his writings in De Wachter) that apparently contrary truths are indeed to be found in Scripture and that therefore no one needs to be alarmed by the circumstance that there is no organic connection between what he calls the doctrine of common grace and the other doctrines of Scripture in that this lack of connection is only apparent. Actually, Zwier means to say, that there is connection.
In my previous article under the above caption, I stated that I purposed to show that, despite his contention to the contrary, Zwier is foisting upon the Scriptures actual contradictions, and that he does this through a thoroughly deceptive reasoning. Let me once more put this reasoning into words, “There are apparently contrary truths to be found in Holy Writ (such truths as God’s election is sovereign, and Man is responsible for his choice) which we cannot harmonize by our defective human logic. In all such cases we confess our impotence, acknowledge both truths to be the teaching of Holy Writ, and believingly affirm that they merge in a higher, divine unity. Let me again say that a more nonsensical reasoning than the one with which we here have to do could not possibly be drawn out by any mind. Let me analyze this reasoning a little more thoroughly than this has been done. To begin with, what are we to understand by this “hoogere, goddelijke, eenheid.” An abstraction? This can’t be. Whereas such scriptural truths as cannot be harmonized by human logic merge “zich oplossen” in this “eenheid,” this “eenheid” must needs signify the logic of God. Now the term logic when used of God can signify, not to be sure a process of thinking, the drawing out of a reasoning (there can be no processes in God’s thinking) but the laws of thinking in God according to which all the truth-elements in God’s mind constitute one organic whole. Now how can two truths, which cannot be harmonized by the application of the laws of thinking (human logic) be organically connected in God’s mind and according to God’s logic? It can’t possibly be unless God’s logic and that of man stand in relation of opposition. But would Zwier want to maintain this? He may not. How could God communicate His thoughts to man were this true? How on the basis of such a conception can it be maintained that believers can have fellowship with God through Christ? Can Zwier say?
But now further. What must Zwier understand by human logic? Certainly, not merely what man thinks, but also the laws of thinking according to which man must conduct the process of his thinking, (if Zwier in his use of the term human logic has no reference also to these laws, he should not at all have spoken of human logic.) Now how could the very laws of thinking have been corrupted by sin? Would Zwier on second thought care to maintain that they were? He should not because it is not true.
This brings us to another question. Why, if these laws were not corrupted, and if there can be no conflict between God’s and man’s logic, cannot truths between which there is organic connection in the mind of God be harmonized by human logic? Can Zwier explain?
Further. When Zwier asserted that Scripture contains truths that seem to be contrary but that according to God’s logic merge in God’s mind, did he go to the trouble of seriously facing the question, “Now just what can this mean?” Evidently he did not. He was too bent on freeing himself of the charge that he pits Scripture against itself. But just what does the statement mean? Nothing. It is meaningless. Consider this. If two truths merge in God’s mind, and if God’s logic and that of man stand in relation of opposition, how can two such truths be apparently and not actually contrary according to human logic? Once more. Zwier tells his readers that two such truths as defy human logic only seem to be contrary. We ask, “To whom and according to whose logic?” Zwier’s answer shall have to be, “To man and according to man’s logic.” Certainly it will not do for him to say that two such truths seem to man to be contrary according to God’s logic; nor will it do for him to say that two such truths seem contrary to God according to God’s logic, or that they seem contrary to God according to man’s logic. All three statements spell nonsense. It is only to man that two such truths can seem to be contrary and this according to man’s logic. It means that according to man’s logic these truths are not actually contrary. If so, how is it to be explained then that there can nowhere be found a mortal being with a mind capable of harmonizing two such truths by the application of the laws of thought? Can Zwier explain? He cannot. His answer that the mind of man has been too impaired by sin will not do at all. By this answer Zwier involves himself in a new difficulty. For if the mind of man can succeed in discovering the logical connection between most truths apparently contrary according to human logic, why should this same mind not be able to see the connection between any pair of apparently contrary truths? Otherwise said, why should there be at the most only two or three pairs of apparently contrary truths defying the power of man’s mind to perceive a unity that according to human logic actually exists? If Zwier’s answer be that the reason is that between these two or three pairs of apparently contrary truths there is no actual logical connection according to human logic, then he must henceforth be honest enough to refrain from telling the people that according to his firm belief there are no actual but only apparent contradictions in Scripture.
In fine, Zwier should be willing to admit after reading this that the reasoning by which he attempts to free himself of the complaint on the part of some of his readers that he pits God’s Word against itself is a complete failure. Zwier should cast this reasoning far from him. He should never use it again. It is a reasoning as foolish as it is deceptive and dishonest.
Further, let Zwier make up his mind to be honest and resolve to tell people that his theories of common grace are actually in conflict with Scripture according to both God’s and man’s logic.
Finally, let Zwier refrain henceforth from endeavoring to allay the fears of his thoughtful readers by telling them that they need not be alarmed by the circumstance that his theories cannot be harmonized with the teaching of Holy Writ by human logic in that Scripture contains more such pairs of truth that cannot be harmonized by this logic, such truths as God’s election is sovereign and Man is responsible for his choice. In my previous article I promised to let Dr. Geerhardus Vos of Princeton tell Zwier that these two truths, if rightly explained, are not, according to human logic, contrary but agreeable, the one to the other. Between these two truths there is logical (I speak now of human logic) connection indeed. I shall show by quoting from Vos’ writings that this theologian has also succeeded in discovering and exhibiting this connection, otherwise said, that he succeeded in harmonizing these two truths.
Writes Vos (I translate): The decree of God extends also over the free acts of man. It is absurd and impossible that what is most important in the history of the world should be withdrawn from the control of God’s counsel. If in this domain everything is arbitrary, the course of history is given over to capriciousness, and God finds Himself compelled to await the final outcome. Yet there are those who insist that here an exception must be made, as the rational sense seems to require a kind of casualty. Man says: if I am to be held responsible for my action, it had also to be possible for me to do contrariwise; and if my action was determined by God’s eternal decree, I could do no different. In a word, eternal certainty and human freedom stand in relation of opposition. They are two ununitable concepts.
Now this objection ought to be examined with great care. It is not: the execution of God’s counsel and my rational freedom exclude each other. Freedom spells uncertainty, so it is said. Therein subsists its essence. True it is, to be sure, that certainty and uncertainty are contrary concepts. It is evident, however, that the certainty of God’s counsel may not be modified. If the two are ununitable so that either must yield ground, then it is certain in advance that the second will have to give way, that is to say, we shall have to modify our idea of freedom. We shall so have to conceive of it, that it no longer subsists as to its essence, in uncertainty and absolute casualty.
The paramount question is therefore: what is moral freedom, that is to say, that moral freedom of which every one’s consciousness affirms that it is inseparable from responsibility?
How many ideas of freedom are there?
1. The Pelagian idea of the free will which amounts to causeless self-determination. Now if man is to be free in this sense, there must be no grounds from which he acts determining his conduct. At each point of the act of willing he must be capable of contrary actions, and if this cannot be maintained he is not free. Thus the character of man determines not his will, but the will stands above his character and by it character is formed. Man leaves God’s hands a neutral being, neither good nor bad. His nature is a rational scale in balance. Not until the scale has shifted to the right or to the left side is man good or bad, holy or unholy.
2. The idea of freedom that must also be applied to Adam . . .
3. The third idea of freedom is inseparately connected with the concept man and with the concept rational being so that it belongs not only to man but to the pure spirits as well and in the perfect sense also to God. It comes down to this that man always acts from an inward constraint, as there is something within him under the impulse of which he acts. He is thus being moved not as machine from without but as a psychical organism from within.
4. Now it is instantly evident, that the so-called Pelagian freedom of the will cannot be reconciled with God’s decree. The reason is that as to its essence it spells uncertainty, and is therefore irreconcilable with every kind of certainty and thus also with the certainty of God’s decree. So irrespective of whether we have to do with Adam or with fallen man, if man’s will is free in the Pelagian sense, man lies outside the scope of God’s counsel.
5. It is somewhat different with the second freedom which on the basis of Scripture we ascribed to Adam, the possibility of deflecting from good to evil. It is to be observed firstly that Adam’s freedom is not causeless. It is Adam’s originally holy nature, that turns to sin and not his neutral nature chooses in behalf of itself for evil.
6. The third kind of freedom is not in conflict with God’s decree. God can so work upon man, that man nevertheless can freely work from within himself.
Here freedom and certainty are altogether compatible. . . .
It ought to be clear now that God can actualize His counsel without deterministically limiting man’s freedom. Man’s free acts are not uncertain and the certainty which characterized them is not effected by God in a Materialistic, Pantheistic, or Rationalistic manner. So far Vos.
My first observation is that the above successful attempt at reconciliation is representative of the conviction on the part of Vos that Scripture cannot possibly contain pairs of truth actually contrary. Zwier when he reads this will say, “This, too, is my conviction.” What Zwier’s conviction is, I know not, but this is certain, that the teaching of his most recent articles respecting the matter now being dealt with differs fundamentally and radically from the teaching underlying the action of Vos, consisting in his bringing harmony between God’s sovereign counsel and rational freedom or responsibility. This underlying teaching plainly is that Holy Writ cannot possibly contain two truths (or concepts or propositions) actually contrary according to human logic. The evidence that I am not ascribing to Vos a teaching not his is firstly the circumstance that he harmonizes by human logic the very concepts (sovereign counsel and human freedom or accountability) that according to Zwier cannot possibly be brought together by the application of the laws of (human) thinking, and secondly the statement from Vos’ pen (contained in the above excerpt) that “It is evident that the certainty of God’s counsel may not be modified. If the two (concepts) are irreconcilable, so that either must yield ground, then it is certain that the second will have to give way, that is to say, we shall have to modify our idea of human freedom.” The certain implication of this statement is that the student of Scripture may not allow two truths or scriptural doctrines to stand out in his mind as contrary in that to do so is to be taking the stand that Scripture can be at variance with itself. And as this cannot be, the believer finds himself under the necessity of removing the conflict through a modification of the faulty concept. What Vos means certainly is not that the truth as it were actually given may or may not be modified. The meaning is, that, if there be conflict, the fault lies, with our conception of the truth, in that what is to be modified is this conception, idea. The sentiment here expressed was also that of men like Hodge, Kuyper and Bavinck, in short, of every Reformed theologian of note. Wrote Bavinck. “Indien God en zijn schepsel niet andens. dan als concurrenten kunnen gedult worden en als de eene zijne vrijheid en zijne zelfstandigheid slechts behouden kan ten koste van den ander, dan moet God hoe langer hoe meer beperkt worden In zijn weten en willen; het Pelagianisme bant God uit do wereld, en leidt tot deisme en atheisme, en zet de willekeur, de dwaasheid van den mensch op den troon. Daarom moet de oplossing van het probleem in een andere richting gezocht worden, n.l. alzoo dat God, doordat Hdj God en de wereld zijn creatunr is, door zij oneindig groot weten en willen de zelfstandigheid: en vrijheid der schepselen niet vernietigd maar juist schept en handhaaft” (Gereformeerd Dogmatiek, Beet. I, p. 390).
Mark the sentence, “Daarom moet de oplossing van het probleem in eene andere richting gezocht worden. . .” The plain implication of the thought here expressed is that, whereas Scripture does not set forth the lie, the cultivator of the science of theology is in duty bound to so conceive of all that may be known of God that the aggregate of his conceptions will constitute one organic whole, devoid of conflict.
Zwier, as was shown, teaches the very opposite. His contention is that if we apply to Scripture the laws of (human) thinking, we discover actual conflict, and that thus there is also of necessity actual conflict in the thought structure of the believing theologian. I am not concealing the fact that according to Zwier the conflict cannot be actual, but consider once more that Zwier has it that it is only according to God’s logic that the conflict is not actual and that thus according to man’s logic the conflict is actual enough. I assure Zwier that this view of his is nowhere to be found in the works of any of the above-named theologians. It is nonsense that was fed Zwier by the late Prof. Heyns.
This then is the question: Can there be doctrines of Scripture actually contrary according to God’s laws of thought for man (and also for Himself)? Zwier’s answer is an emphatic Yea. The answer of the students of Scripture above-cited is Nay. Closely related to this question is that other: are there or can there be doctrines of or concepts in Scripture which, though they be reconcilable as far as the (human) formal laws of thought are concerned, man’s mind is incapable of reconciling on account of this mind being too much impaired by sin. Zwier’s answer to this question is yea. Vos’ answer is nay, this cannot be. There is still a third question to be put: are the two truths or propositions “God’s counsel is sovereign (or, as Zwier has it, God’s election is sovereign)” and “man is a free moral agent (Zwier, man is responsible for his choice)” actually contrary according to man’s logic. Zwier’s answer is: yea, they are this. Vos’ answer is: nay, they are not so if correctly explained. Acting upon this conviction, Vos made an attempt at reconciliation. And in this he was altogether successful. Thus, according to Zwier’s conception of rationalism, Vos is a rationalist. He did the very thing that, according to Zwier, no believer ever attempts even, to wit, reconcile the sovereign counsel and rational freedom. Once more, according to Zwier, Hodge, Kuyper, and Bavinck, and, we may add, every Reformed theologian of note (they all spoke the same language in respect to the matter under consideration) were during their lives rationalists. Now I wonder whether, in accusing us of this, Zwier speaks from honest conviction or from something else? He may put himself to a test. If he speaks from conviction, under the impulse of love of the truth, as driven by the holy desire to warn the people against men whose teachings he regards as dangerous, he will, he must, without fail, also cry out against Vos and Bavinck and Kuyper. Will Zwier do this? We shall see.
But now further. Zwier should allow himself to understand that his contention to the effect that the two propositions “God’s counsel is sovereign” and, “Man is responsible for his choice”—Zwier, I said, should realize that his contention, to the effect that these two propositions are contrary according to man’s logic can be true only if, as Vos explains, man’s acts lie outside the scope of God’s counsel, thus only if rational freedom and moral responsibility spell uncertainty for God, which, of course, they do not. Is Zwier addicted to this Pelagian view of moral responsibility? If we take Zwier at his word, we find ourselves compelled to say that he is. He insists, does he not, that there is conflict between the above-cited doctrines. Then there is this language from him, “But if we encounter these, namely, two doctrines which we cannot possibly harmonize with our defective, human logic, then we confess our ignorance without risking an attempt to harmonize the two. All such attempts end in tragedy.” What Zwier means by this last statement is again plain from the following excerpt, “The Reformed Confession fails to satisfy man’s mind in respect to what it teaches regarding God’s election and man’s responsibility, namely that God’s election is sovereign and that man nevertheless is fully responsible for his choice.” How much more acceptable the Arminian conception that God’s election and reprobation were determined by the unbelief or belief of man foreseen by God from eternity. This conception involves us in no logical difficulties at all. (Alles loopt daarbij logisch zoo mood los as men’t maar kan begeeren): God chose those of whom He foresaw that they would believe and repent and persevere to the end in their choice; He rejected those of whom He foresaw that they would not believe and repent. . . . Superficially viewed, this is a nice and sensible solution. “They who come with it seem not to realize that they offer up the one truth to the other. They saved human responsibility but denied divine sovereignty” (De Wachter, Nov. 29.1938).
From this language it is clear that the tragedy (ongeluk) of which Zwier speaks consists in the loss of divine sovereignty and results, according to Zwier, from the doing consisting in harmonizing by human logic the two propositions in question. Now Zwier should realize once more that this “ongeluk” will overtake him only whose conception of rational freedom and human responsibility is that of the Pelagian, and who, because he refuses to disallow this conception, denies the sovereignty of the counsel in order to rid his thinking of an unendurable conflict. It means that one who is willing to purge his soul of the lie cannot possibly be overtaken by this “ongeluk.” Was Vos overtaken by this “ongeluk”? Assuredly not. And the reason is that in making plain to his students that there is no actual conflict according to man’s logic between the two truths in question, he disallowed the lie, that is, the Pelagian conception of human responsibility and placed in the room thereof the truth, the right concept. And this is what “harmonizing two truths” can consist in. Rightly considered, truths, actual truths, need not be harmonized by human logic for the very reason that between truths that are actually truths there can be no conflict according to man’s logic. So, harmonizing two truths can only consist in man’s purging himself from the lie that blinds him to the truth. The truth as it is actually in Christ Jesus constitutes one organic, and thus harmonious whole. And this whole is the one Word of God. According to Zwier, God has not His one Word, but a number of unrelated words.
That Zwier tells his readers that he who harmonizes the two truths in question must of necessity be overtaken by an “ongeluk” (ongeluk is the word that Zwier uses), is also amazingly strange. It shows that, if Zwier believes what he says, the only conception of human responsibility and rational freedom he knows of is that of the Pelagian. This accounts for it that he could write, “How much more acceptable (from a purely logical point of view, Zwier means) the Arminian conception that God’s election and reprobation were determined by the unbelief or belief of man foreseen by God from eternity.” Zwier could not have written this (because it is as far from the truth as it can be), if it were not for the fact that his conception of human responsibility is that of the Pelagian. The result is that as often as Zwier renews his effort to relieve his mind of that insufferable conflict, he is overtaken by an “ongeluk,” the ongeluk against which he warns, and which consists in Zwier’s mind (not his heart) repudiating not that Pelagian conception of human responsibility but the sovereignty of God’s counsel. As often as this takes place Zwier stands aghast at the doing of his own mind. Denouncing his “gebrekkige menschelijke logica” which is not at all “gebrekkige” as the refusal of his mind to tolerate contradictions in its thinking, indicates Zwier cleaves to the “two truths” (sovereign counsel and human responsibility) that, sad to say, stand out in his mind as contradictory. Now Zwier should relieve his mind of this contradiction. And he can do so very easily and without being overtaken by an “ongeluk.” It’s so very simple. All that Zwier needs to do is to place in the room of his Pelagian conception of human responsibility and rational freedom, the right concept. This having been done, the conflict will be gone. Let us put this to a test. 1) God’s counsel is sovereign, that is, it is determinative of the free acts of man and thus spells certainty for God in respect to these acts. 2) Man is a responsible being. He is this because he acts from inward constraint and is thus rationally free.
Now what conflict may there be between these two truths so formulated? None whatever. But now place in the room of the truth under 2) the Pelagian lie, “Man is a responsible being. He is this in that his actions are not determined by a divine counsel” and there is logical conflict,—a conflict that can only be removed by disallowing the lie and by placing in the room thereof the truth.
When Zwier in his great consternation cries out, “Beware, make no attempt at reconciliation, lest ye be overtaken by an “ongeluk,” he has his eye fixed upon us and his mouth close to our ear. I think Zwier, upon reading this, will see into it that not we, but that he is the man in need of warning. We are having no “ongelukken” in the domain of logic but he. He should therefore be shouting in his own ears.
Zwier avers (in the above quotation from his article) that the Arminian conception of the foreknowledge of God is a clever solution of the problem how man can be responsible with a sovereign counsel suspended over his acts. They (the Arminians) seem not to realize, says Zwier, that “men op die wijze de eene waarheid aan de ander heeft opgeoffierd.” And then Zwier makes this remarkable statement, “De menschelijke verantwoordelijkheid heeft men gered. . . .” Now is this true? Not at all. The fact is that the Arminian, through his denial of the sovereignty of the counsel, saves or rescues not but destroys human responsibility in that such a denial brings him under the necessity of conceiving of rational freedom as causeless self-determination. I shall let Vos tell Zwier this, “Their freedom, (the freedom of man’s acts G.M.O.) consist in their being the expression of man’s character and in their being in agreement with it. Were this not the case, man would not be responsible” (Dog. Deel. I, p. 127). This statement certainly as equivalent to the assertion that the Pelagian conception of moral freedom—the conception according to which this freedom consists in causeless self-determination—spells the destruction of human responsibility. Now as the Pelagian’s denial of the sovereignty of the counsel necessitates the view that moral freedom consist in causeless self-determination, this denial likewise spells the destruction of human responsibility. The fact of the matter is then that the savior of human responsibility is not the Pelagian but the true, biblical teaching of the counsel, as this teaching only allows one to hold to the right conception of moral or rational freedom. I will let Vos tell Zwier also this, “As the omnipotent, almighty, and personal one, He (God) can so rule man that the latter, though not without God’s will and permission, acts with perfect freedom from within himself. When God sanctifies a man, He is operative in the depth of man’s being, there where the issues of life are and “dan beweegt zich de geheiligde wil vanzelf en onge dwonger naar buiten, niet minder vrij dan ailsof hij nooit onder de bewerking Gods gestaan had.” And now follows this momentous statement from Vos’ pen, “Het werk God’s vernietigd niet die vrij head des schepseis maar is er juist de grondslag van” (Dog. Deel. I, p. 130). In other words, the savior of human responsibility is precisely the biblical view of the counsel and of its execution, the view that the counsel is determinative of man’s actions.
Now further. Zwier avers, “How much more acceptable (from the point of view of pure logic, Zwier means to say. The statement immediately following the one I now quote reads, “Alles loopt daarbij logisch zoo mooi los als men ’t maar begeeren. . . .”) How much more acceptable the Arminian presentation, that “God’s election and reprobation were determined by the belief or unbelief of man, foreseen from eternity by God.” Does this statement of Zwier set forth the truth? It does not. Let me make this plain. The Arminian says, “God’s counsel is not determinative of man’s acts. Hence, the counsel spells uncertainty for God in respect to these acts.” Now place over against this Arminian tenet the biblical teaching of human responsibility—the teaching according to which human responsibility spells not uncertainty but certainty for God and what have you? And the answer: a pair of contradictory (or strictly speaking, contrary) propositions only one of which can be true. To remove the conflict, the Arminian conceives of moral responsibility as consisting in causeless self-determination and thus of human responsibility as spelling uncertainty. So to remove the conflict, the Arminian places in the place of the truth the lie. He thus brings into being two lying propositions which read: 1) God’s counsel is not determinative of man’s actions. 2) Man is responsible. He is this as his moral freedom spells causeless self-determination. This being true, his acts are not determined by God’s counsel. Now there is, of course, perfect agreement between these two lies. Dit loopt inderdaad logisch zoo mooi los als men’t maar begeeren kan. But is what Zwier says true, namely, that the agreement between these two lies attains to a higher point of perfection, en dus logisch veel mooier los loopt than the agreement between the two propositions that set forth the truth about God’s counsel and man’s responsibility? It can’t be. How did Zwier ever come by such a notion? Is the lie much more rational and logical than the truth, Satan than God?
Let me make plain to Zwier how utterly wrong he is in this his contention. As has been said, the aggregate of truths that go by the name of Reformed theology, form one organic whole. This means not merely that they are agreeable the one to the other but that they are so related that if the one be true the other must be true so that the one can be maintained through the maintenance of the other. Let us take as an illustration the two truths: 1) God’s grace is sovereign. 2) Man is by nature dead in trespasses and sin. It is evident that if grace on account of its being sovereign is the sole power unto salvation, man is dead through sin and thus altogether devoid of power to cooperate with God in his salvation. On the other hand, if man has of himself strength, it requires no sovereign Deliverer to save him from his sins. It means that either of these two truths stands or falls with the other. And so it is with the two truths set forth by the propositions: 1) God’s decree spells certainty for God in respect to man’s acts. 2) Rational freedom and with it human responsibility spells certainty for God in respect to these same acts. If what either of these propositions asserts is true, the thought set forth by the other must be true, as the essence of what both assert is that God’s decree is determinative of man’s acts. This being the case, the logical agreement between the two truths set forth by these propositions must attain to the highest possible point of perfection. In the light of these observations one cannot help but be struck with amazement by Zwier’s contention that the Arminian presentation of the matters in question is much more logical than the presentation of Scripture. As if there can be much or anything that is illogical and irrational about the relation between truths so closely and vitally connected that they stand or fall with each other. How can there be even a trace of contrariness between two truths essentially identical? There cannot be. True it is that the Arminian presentation is much more acceptable than the presentation of Scripture. It is this, however, from the point of view not of logic but of the sinful heart.
But, someone may say, is it not after all true that the two truths, 1) “God’s counsel is sovereign, 2) Man is responsible” at least seem to us to be contradictory according to man’s logic? This should never be said. What is there about the two propositions: 1) “God’s counsel is sovereign, 2) God’s counsel is sovereign,” that even seems to be contradictory to us from the point of view of pure logic? Nothing whatsoever. But isn’t there a question remaining that cannot be answered, namely: if God’s counsel is determinative of man’s actions, how can man be free and thus responsible for his acts? This question has been correctly answered by Dr. Vos, “When God sanctifies a man, He is operative in the depth of his being, there where the issues of life are and “dan beweegt zich de geheilig de wil vanzelf en ongedwongen naar buiten niet meer vrij dan alsof hij nooit onder de bewerking God’s ge staan had.” But how about the reprobated ungodly? Paul gives us the answer: God gives them to uncleanness through the lusts of their own heart, so that, in their being given over by the Almighty, they act from the constraint of their own evil lust and in agreement with their sinful nature and are thus rationally free. But, someone may ask, is there not something here that continues to defy our powers of penetration? Indeed there is, namely: how can God sanctifyingly operate in His people whom He saves without in the least limiting their rational-moral freedom? And: How can God give over the ungodly to uncleanness through their evil lusts without implicating Himself in their sins and without destroying or even limiting in the least their freedom? These questions are not to be answered. The Scriptural name for the doings of God that these questions concern is not problem but mystery. To say that from the point of view of man’s logic (and thus also of God’s logic) there is anything irrational and illogical about the above works, is as foolish as to say that there is something irrational and illogical about the works of God consisting in his causing the sun to rise and the flowers to bloom and the trees to grow, and as wicked as to say that there is something irrational and illogical about God Himself. How can there be conflict in God or in his thinking or in His works? There cannot be. Well then, how can there be, according to man’s logic, conflict in the truth about God, about His works? How can there be conflict in the thinking of God as we possess it in His revelation?
In fine, it ought now to be plain to Zwier that he should desist from telling the people that according to human logic the two truths in question are actually contrary and that therefore they need not be alarmed by the discovery that his theory of common grace is in conflict with Holy Writ. The fact is that there is no conflict between the two truths in question. Let Zwier turn away from these two truths and concentrate solely upon his theories. I will do this for him. I will now compel him to admit that between every one of these theories and Holy Writ there is actual conflict according to God’s and man’s logic.
Scripture: God curses the reprobated ungodly. Zwier: God blesses the reprobated ungodly. Now each of these propositions contains a term that as to meaning stands in direct opposition to the other. They are: curses the ungodly, blesses the ungodly. Now will Zwier deny that these two terms exclude each other? No, he will not. Consider now that the subject to which the one term (predicate) is joined is identical both as to meaning and as to the form of the word to the subject to which the other term is joined. Consider finally that the word cursing in Scripture has always the meaning of cursing and no other meaning. The same must be said of the word blessing and of the term reprobated ungodly and of the name God. What does it mean? That the two propositions are according to every kind of logic not apparently but actually contradictory (contrary). Now anybody who will deny this simply makes a laughing stock of himself as a logician. Such a one shows that he has no logic of even the first rudiments of logic. Zwier and the brethren have several more such contrary propositions; of which it is claimed that they are to be found in Scripture. But this cannot be. The Bible is God’s Word. It sets forth the truth, not the lie.
One word in conclusion. Zwier, the brethren, are foisting actual contradictions upon Scripture. Let them not deny but show what they are here being accused of is untrue. They cannot. Now as the contradiction spells the lie, their doing is unspeakably terrible. Why don’t they cast away from them their lying tenets and place in the room thereof the truth?
Scripture sets forth the mystery but not the lie. All God’s works are mysteries. And the mystery is God. Now to believe is not to compel the mind to encompass two contrary propositions. To believe is to worship and adore The Mystery.