While Reformed believers are persuaded that faithfulness to the God of the Bible requires us to affirm and really believe that God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11), they acknowledge that many evangelicals find it difficult to swallow what Reformed theologians like Douglas Wilson call “the Godness of God” for reasons having to do with something other than exegesis.
Reformed believers recognize, in other words, that many reject the Augustinian-Calvinist account of divine providence because they have embraced a disjunction that leads them to conclude that any candidate for deity that does not confirm to their standards or govern in a way that aligns with their moral sensibilities not only cannot be God but quite possibly might be Satan.
In response to those who would reject the Augustinian-Calvinist view for this reason, Reformed believers solemnly warn that such individuals need to tread very carefully for at least two reasons.
- In the first place, they need to tread carefully because the antipathy that is manifest in such an attitude bears a striking—even if perhaps only incidental—resemblance to the antipathy that is essential to “true atheism,” the two fundamental tenets” of which are always, ironically, “One: There is no God. Two: I hate him” [quoting Douglas Wilson].
- In the second place, they need to tread carefully lest, by moving from philosophy to the text rather than from the text to philosophy, they justify this attitude, and in the process arouse the wrath of God by suppressing—and encouraging others to suppress—the truth of God in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18–32).
In short, those who cannot stomach the God of the Augustinian-Calvinist tradition would be well advised to remember that God is no respecter of persons (Col. 3:25), not even of really smart philosophers.