Predestination and Free Will by John Calvin – a Satirical Synopsis

Briefly, the essay on predestination and free will by Calvin discusses the preordaining and predetermination of events discussing an incorrigible helplessness towards fate on one hand, and on the other, it demurs the first by discussing ‘free will’, where fate is rendered incorrigibly helpless towards man’s ordaining and determination of events. Calvin propounds the elaborate motif of the choice concerned where the repercussions of one may lead to apathy and the other, to willful sin. There’s evident and sufficient bias elicited by Calvin for predestination, rendering it a favorite. He deters curiosity, criticism, censure and cynicism, and deters it so, that a detractor in the vaguest of attempts shall be reduced to be but contradicting and impugning a religion and not a man, in this case, good old Johnny Calvin.

However, the part indented for a critic’s vindication, is that the essay is not without its flaws. Henceforth, we shall discuss the petty, non-descript ones, for the extraordinary are but too redundantly common to the eye.

To begin with, Calvin has a funny way of presentation, sometimes diverging to metrical verse encumbering the critic with a priority towards scansion (destitute of all rectitude; I am teaching no novel doctrine, but what was long ago advanced by Augustine), and sometimes shifting to a blasé formula of infantile prose (abyss of ignominy), scattered ant-like over the essay in an observable abundance. The process of ‘blaming’ God or speaking on behalf of him commences quite early in the essay (… that his happiness consisted not in any goodness of his own, but in a participation of God). Calvin also crosses over to the disdainful extreme of openly advocating plagiarism, admitting his very own attempt at it (… I am teaching no novel doctrine, but what was long ago advanced by Augustine).

Something need be said on the method and the manner of the essay. Calvin seems to emit personality in the essay, and capitalizes particularly on the one trait of absolute laziness and ennui as he thoroughly gives reasons why writing the essay is a waste of time, for he seems to conclude before he makes even an attempt at making it manifest. (it has now, I apprehend, been sufficiently proved that man is so enslaved… we have also laid down a distinction… from these passages, the reader clearly perceives… it is evidently the result of the… with this similitude, as no better occurs, we will at present be content).

Calvin delves further, now adamant on sponsoring a political agenda in heaven which, as Calvin would find convenient, is biased and God is simply being utterly explicit about it (God’s eternal election: if it be evidently the result of the divine that salvation is freely offered to some and others are prevented from attaining it). The commercial purpose of the essay has been given a due nod as Calvin finally introduces suspense, thrill and the scent of mystery (the discussion of predestination, a subject in itself rather intricate is made perplexed, and therefore dangerous, by human curiosity).

I personally feel that the following bracketed lines need no investigating satire and are accurate evidences of why a satire need be aimed, at all (‘At this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise, grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise, work is no more work’).

Alas, one may perhaps read Calvin’s essay only to unearth the grave disappointment of the dilemma that though God is surely prejudiced, we may never know what the prejudice is towards, i.e., whether Christ is a racist, sexist, feminist or perhaps the worst of all, a Calvinist. (They are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestinated either to life or death).