Sovereignty, Love, Pink


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Image of Arthur W Pink with text "Love Pink"Among current books I’m reading, some of which I may even finish someday, is A. W. Pink’s The Sovereignty of God (Chapel Library MOBI edition, available free, as are EPUB and PDF versions). I’m only at the eight percent mark in my reading, but have already run across what strikes me as a non sequitur. Though I would accept the label of “Calvinist” (Believing that, because God is sovereign creator of all that exists, including the entire sweep of time, it is impossible for anything, even the decisions of created persons, to lie outside his eternal decree, how could I reject the label?), I am not invariably pleased with Calvinist arguments. This statement by Pink is one such argument I deem inadequate:

In the final analysis, the exercise of God’s love must be traced back to His sovereignty or, otherwise, He would love by rule; and if He loved by rule, then is He under a law of love, and if He is under a law of love then is He not supreme, but is Himself ruled by law. (loc. 327)

While superficially plausible, this argument involves the same sort of erroneous thinking as claims that God must be above, and so not subject to, the laws of logic and morality. True, making God subject to laws external to himself is unacceptable, but Scripture itself makes God “subject” to the “law” of his own nature, informing us that God “cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). God must be logical and moral because logic and morality are expressions of God’s nature. (If you doubt God must be logical, look up the meaning of the Greek term Logos, then see John 1:1. If you then remain unconvinced, Google may help you locate some relevant lectures by Gordon Clark, Ronald Nash, or John Robbins.)

Since God himself informs us through John that he “is love” (1 John 4:8), we know that love is also an expression of God’s nature. Of course, it may be that this only means that God must, “by rule” (rule of his own nature), love someone, something for which the three persons of the Godhead would suffice. So, recognizing that Pink’s conclusion that “God’s love must be traced back to His sovereignty” does not follow from the true premise that God cannot be subject to any law outside himself (since “a law of love” is inherent in God’s own nature) does not obligate us to adopt universalism, Arminianism, or any other anti-Calvinist opinion. It does, however, make this argument of Pink’s valueless as support for Calvinism.

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