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Calvinism's Answer to the Problem of Evil

"Calvinism's Answer to the Problem of Evil" by Stephen Charnock offers an insightful and deeply theological exploration into one of Christianity's most profound questions: How can a good, omnipotent, and omniscient God allow evil to exist? In this meticulous exploration of theodicy, Charnock navigates the complex territories of divine foreknowledge, human free agency, the decree of reprobation, and the intricate interplay between primary and secondary causes, presenting a vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence of evil.

Charnock embarks on a thoughtful journey to address the apparent paradox of God's foreknowledge of sin and human moral responsibility. He explains the nature of God's decrees, emphasizing that divine judgment on sin, manifested in the doctrine of reprobation, underscores God's justice without compromising His holiness. The treatise considers the sovereignty of God in permitting sin, arguing that such permission serves the higher purpose of glorifying His grace and justice, without making Him the author of sin.

Further, Charnock explores the concurrence of God's providential will with the actions of created beings, illustrating how God's ultimate governance does not violate the agency of secondary causes but rather works through them to achieve His purposes. Additionally, the concept of God's restraining grace is examined, presenting the idea that God's withdrawal of grace as a form of judgment is an expression of His justice, perfectly aligned with His character.

Throughout the treatise, Charnock not only engages with theological complexities but also provides pastoral insights into the nature of suffering and evil, affirming the steadfastness and goodness of God in the face of life's trials. "Calvinism's Answer to the Problem of Evil" is not merely a theological exposition; it is a beacon of hope for believers grappling with the realities of a fallen world, offering assurance of God's unchanging goodness and sovereign plan.

This work is an essential read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the relationship between divine sovereignty and the existence of evil, framed within the solid grounding of Reformed theology and Scripture. Charnock's thorough examination and clear presentation make this treatise a valuable resource for theologians, pastors, and lay believers alike, as they navigate the complexities of faith in a broken world.

Charnock's work is not just a theological exposition but also offers pastoral insight into the sovereignty of God amidst the realities of suffering and evil. He aims to reassure believers of the steadfastness of God's character and His ultimate purpose for good, even in the midst of a fallen and broken world.

This treatise stands as a crucial resource for theologians, pastors, and lay believers alike, seeking to understand the complex interplay between divine sovereignty and the existence of evil. Charnock's rigorous adherence to Scripture and Reformed theology provides a solid foundation for engaging with one of Christianity's most profound dilemmas.

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Table of contents

Theodicy & God’s Foreknowledge of Sin

Theodicy & God's Decree of Reprobation

Theodicy & God's Permission of Sin

Theodicy & The Concurrence of Primary & Secondary Causes

Theodicy & God’s Restraining Grace

Appendix: God is Not the Author of Sin by Girolamo Zanchi