Dear Mr. Hamilton,
Thank you for your lessons in reference to the determinist or Calvinist's point of view vs. the view of choice or free will:
If one takes the Calvinist's view that only the elect are called to salvation and that this was preordained by God before the foundation of the world (creation), it would seem to indicate, as you presented, that God is partial, and only the preordained by God have hope. No action or choice on their part has any effect. Further, it would bring into question whether the first man, Adam, actually had free will or was predetermined by God to sin and disobedience, based on the Calvinist's view that everything has already been predetermined. That perspective, in effect, would totally charge God with Adam's actions to disobey that which God had presented to him, which was clearly a choice.
This for me this is a totally incomprehensible view of a loving Father God, which you agree and backed up with so many Bible verses to show that God is a God of Love and that we do have free will to choose to love or to disobey. Love, the perfect love of God is not constricted, not partial, but perfect love is benevolent and self-giving, even to the point of sacrifice of that which is love personified in Christ.
As you so carefully applied so many Bible verses to make this abundantly clear, those who view God as a controlling predeterminent puppeteer have no hope. Then one can only hope that they are among the elect but have no peace and live in fear of predetermined condemnation. Christ was love incarnate, God's physical expression of self-giving love even unto death. "Perfect love casts out fear. I Corinthians 13:4-8, among so many other verses is the clear definition of love -- of God's perfection and character -- not pre-condemning, but in His omnipotence, Father God knew the character of his creation not to love, not to obey, but has taken the chance in love to give free will. The risk of ultimate love is to give freedom and in this All-Knowing, before the Creation, God has preordained love in Christ's sacrifice to bring us back into union with Him.
Christ's teachings were always in view of an all-loving Father God, a forgiving and patient God. For instance, the parable of the prodigal son is so very clear. The father in the parable did not preordain the son's disobedience, and possibly knew his son's rebellious nature; but in love gave the son freedom (free will) to choose his path to leave his father's love and presence. The loving father in the parable was patient and forgiving even to the point of running and welcoming his son home.
In my humble view, the ultimate understanding of free will was that of Christ, that even though before the foundation of the world He was preordained to our salvation even unto death. In the Garden of Gethsemane He had the free will, being both human and divine, to accept or reject His Father's will, and in love and obedience prayed, "Not my will, but Thy will be done." Christ's free will choice in love and obedience to the Father for humanity's salvation.
Thus my humble view is that God's perfect love is a gift offered and because love is not constricted to a few elect, but as John 3:16 so clearly states that because God so loved the (whole) world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever (in free will chooses) to believe in Him shall have everlasting life.
Thank you for all your excellent commentaries and biblical references. I will go to your web site and continue the studies offered.
It sounds like you understand the problems with Calvinism quite well. I'm glad you are finding the web site useful.