Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Is there a link between abortion and Calvinism? (More Problems with Penal Substitution)

A famous politician made some ghastly remarks some years back when he spoke of the need for easy access to abortion since he wouldn't want to "punish his daughter with a baby" if she accidentally got pregnant. I was reminded of those remarks as I was pondering over a passage in Leviticus which spoke of the legal requirement for a woman who had recently given birth to offer a sacrifice to God. Since Protestants (particularly Calvinists) understand the Biblical sacrificial system to be a matter of transferring punishment from the sinner onto an innocent animal, this came off as suggesting that having a baby automatically merited a punishment (worthy of death, in fact) that had to be atoned for. 

The passage I had in mind was Leviticus 12:
2 If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. As at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. ... 6 And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, 7 and he shall offer it before the Lord and make atonement for her. Then she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, either male or female. 
Clearly, at least two animals must die for what this woman did, give birth to a child. But does it make sense to think that in this situation what the woman did was sinful, especially so sinful that it warranted the death penalty? Could a baby really be a punishment, with the alternative being abortion? I suppose that twisted conclusion can be made if one espoused the theory of Penal Substitution. But clearly this conclusion (abortion) is so absurd that the premise (Penal Substitution) must be faulty. 

Really, there's no reason to think that giving birth to a child is a sin at all, and thus this 'burnt offering' and 'sin offering' must not be about punishing an 'innocent' animal in the place of the woman. And thus neither is this atonement about satisfying God's wrath by transferring it to a substitute. This means that the sacrifice and atonement must be about cleansing/expiation, making the person ceremonially clean again to be in the presence of God. This of course would 'map over' to the spiritual realm and indicate that a person's soul must be cleansed in order to be worthy to be in God's presence. 

This proper understanding would also explain the need for those with diseases or bodily discharges to make atonement, as instructed in Leviticus 14-15. Clearly having a disease or bodily discharge is not a sin, especially not a grave one. 

This is yet another good proof for why the Levitical sacrifices did not operate in a Penal Substitution framework. If you'd like to know more about the error of the Protestant doctrine of Penal Substitution, start with this link and search the blog for others.


Daniel said...

So how does this work with the 'satisfaction' view?

Vocab Malone said...

Suggestion for a new article with a similar title:

'Is there a link between universalism and Rome? (More Problems with Papal Infallibility)'

Daniel said...

Catholics aren't universalists (officially anyway, with some ECFs going astray along the way with their version of apocatastasis )...

Nick said...


I used this example to show that the animal could not have been receiving the death penalty, and thus the only application of this ritual was expiatory/cleansing. It's not about God's wrath at all, so satisfaction doesn't really apply either.


Rome's view would be universalist if Rome held to Penal Substitution. But it doesn't.
Rome's view is similar to how God 'redeemed' all the Israelites out from Egypt, but only those actually followed the Covenant Life and Laws benefited from the 'universal redemption' from Egypt.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Nick!

I have a question and a solicitation:

Question: do you know something about Saint Augustine as a support for Limited Atonement? I have found some Reformed apologetic sites arguing for that...

Solicitation: how do you think about make some posts on the Nature&Grace question (as you have started with your post 'Reasons to Reject Protestant Anthropology'). In fact I liked it so much, and it exlains better the Original Sin question...

Also, about Atonement: do you know something about alternate theories? I am studying about participational theories, specially the Incarnational Analogy ( I think it is very in line with the non-Protestant view of salvation - as a continuous relationship with the Father.

Thanks in advance!

Vocab Malone said...

Have you guys been reading the news lately? Example: Vatican’s Secretary of State remembers ‘friendly relationship’ with pro-abortion, Marxist priest -

Nick said...


I've never seen any good evidence that Augustine believed in Limited Atonement, but I've seen good evidence that he did not. For one, Augustine believed that people who were saved/forgiven could fall away, lose their salvation, and be damned. That's in direct and irreconcilable contradiction to Limited Atonement.

I'm not sure what your second question is asking, but for your third question I would say that it's not so much that there are other theories but rather other angles/aspects of the Atonement. So as an example, the Cristus Victor aspect would be true and fit right along with the Satisfaction aspect. It is not one or the other. The only unacceptable/false idea is Penal Substitution.

Anonymous said...

If limited atonement is wrong then that means either everyone is saved or no one is saved. The concept of penal substitution in which Christ’s death is viewed as being on behalf of sinners to satisfy divine justice was a common belief of the church of the
first thousand years.

Anonymous said...

If limited atonement is wrong then that means either everyone is saved or no one is saved.

The Atonement in itself doesn't save anyone. If the death of Christ automatically saves, why the faith?

The concept of penal substitution in which Christ’s death is viewed as being on behalf of sinners to satisfy divine justice was a common belief of the church of the first thousand years.

No, it isn't. At least not in an obvious way.

Anonymous said...

My another question is a request for you posting something about the grace-nature question.

For example, compare and discuss the Protestant's Total Depravity with the Catholic's Original Sin.

Anonymous said...

Clement of Rome (d. 96)
Clement was a bishop in Rome. Eusebius says Clement became bishop in A.D. 92. Like the apostle Paul, Clement wrote a letter to the Corinthians to deal with their schisms. His Epistle to the Corinthians (c. 95) is the earliest extant Christian writing after the NT. Clement declared that Jesus gave His life in His atonement:
“Because of the love he felt for us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave his blood for us by the will of God, his body for our bodies, and his soul for our souls.”

Ignatius (d. 107)
Ignatius was the third bishop of Antioch in Syria. He may have been a personal disciple of the apostle John, and had a special fondness for Paul whom he quoted and of whom he spoke highly. Ignatius is known for refuting Docetism, an early heresy that claimed that Jesus only appeared to be human. Ignatius believed that Jesus died on behalf of sinners when he declared: “Now, He suffered all these things
for our sakes, that we might be saved.”

Basil the Great (330-379)
“By the blood of Christ, through
faith, we have been cleansed from all sin.”

Daniel said...


A good Catholic is free to affirm that.

A good Catholic cannot affirm that Jesus took our place in Hell as our substitute.

John Calvin: "But we must seek a surer explanation, apart from the Creed, of Christ’s descent into hell. The explanation given to us in God’s Word is not only holy and pious, but also full of wonderful consolation. If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual. No — it was expedient at the same time for him to undergo the severity of God’s vengeance, to appease his wrath and satisfy his just judgment..."

No Silly Calvinists, Jesus didn't burn in Hell for us.

Anonymous said...

In no way such quotations confirm univocally the Penal Substitution. They just say Jesus suffered in our favor, not 'in our place'.

Restless Pilgrim said...

Do we have to Anon's now?

Anyway, Meyu/Ralph/Anon, we've been through this before - those quotations from the Fathers don't actually say what you need them to say.

I mean, we recite the Nicene Creed at every liturgy and say "...He suffered for us under Pontius Pilate". Given the way you've interpreted Clement and Ignatius, does that mean that Catholics believe in Penal Substitution?

But since you're in the mood to quote the Fathers, I'd invite you to read two recent posts over at Shameless Popery. I'm suggesting these posts because they address many of the problems we have concerning the way you tend to use the Church Fathers:

Three Ways You Shouldn't Treat the Church Fathers
How to Treat the Church Fathers (According to the Church Fathers)

James Jordan said...

Calvinism (and all Protestantism) indeed leads to abortion in, but in a different way: justification by faith alone. If faith is all that matters, morality goes out the window.

Nick said...

James, while there is some truth to the connection between antinomianism and faith alone, in fairness the classical Reformed say that 'if you're really saved' the Holy Spirit will cause you to strive to live a moral life.

Of course, it can be said that with the massive amount of Protestants accepting abortion and gay marriage that they saw a logical connection between faith alone and not having to be concerned about lifestyle.

James Jordan said...

"'if you're really saved'"

Just a cop out to keep those Arminians who believe one can lose their salvation by being evil from being able to pin them down in teaching false doctrine. Its like the nonsense of saying that "election is based on the good pleasure of God's will with no reference to the object" (i.e. God chooses without referring to any characteristic of the person being chosen) but then when they are caught by someone saying "well, that means it must be RANDOM, like a coin-toss" they refuse to admit that you can't choose without reference to any characteristic of the person in any way other than by relying on randomization. But we would be totally absurd to say, "Because they pretend they don't believe its random, therefore we will stop saying that this is what their view entails": its exactly what it entails; they just lie to prevent you from making the connection.

Nick said...


I was reminded of your post when I saw this Journey Home clip:

James Jordan said...

Exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. Protestantism (from the top down, from the clergy) basically says "If you live a good moral life, you're going to hell because obviously you must be trusting in works." Of course some peons on the bottom disagree, but they're labelled Pelagian heretics.

Anonymous said...

You don't understand Calvinism nor its implications.

James Jordan said...

Its funny if I accidentally forget to login Calvinists are all over me claiming I'm a horrible sinner for hiding behind anonymity. And I just forgot. But they come on here and purposefully hide behind anonymity to make asinine comments: "You don't understand Calvinism." According to Calvinists, nobody does. You could be quoting their exact words, and they'll say you are misrepresenting. Because like any other cult, they need plausible deniability in everything they say.

Anonymous said...

That's the beauty of being a Calvinist.

James Jordan said...

I know Calvinism is nothing but smart-allecism. Its nothing but positioning yourself to where you're always right even when you're wrong. You say posting comments anonymously is a sin, when anyone who isn't a Calvinist does it, then you go do it yourself. You require Scripture from your opponents, while you just blow smoke. You act as if you understand everyone's position perfectly or even better than they do, while nobody could ever possibly understand yours to refute it. Its nothing but straight-up smartallic child's play. Its all about getting your jollies by riling up poor Arminians who are too stupid to take the one position that defends one against Calvinism so completely they need never be riled up.

Anonymous said...

If Calvinism was false it would have been refuted long ago. Nick tries his best to refute it but has failed at every attempt.

James Jordan said...

"If Calvinism was false it would have been refuted long ago."

Because everything that is false and gets refuted immediately ceases to exist. That's why Islam no longer exists. Mormonism no longer exists. Wicca no longer exists. They were all refuted and instantly disappeared. So the fact that Calvinism is still here clearly proves it must be true.

cwdlaw223 said...

Sin will never go away. Calvinism will always appeal to the sinful heart because it makes you feel like you're in charge and you don't need a Church to tell you anything different. Forget 73 books, 66 is enough.

The heart of the Reformation was pride. Man doesn't need anyone to tell him what to do and he thinks he's intelligent enough to interpret scripture on his own. There's a reason Calvinism is called after a man, because it's man made just like Mormonism.

Steve Finnell said...


1. Meritorious works cannot save you.
2. Works of the Law of Moses cannot save you.
3. Works of righteousness (good deeds) cannot save you.

Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, (NKJV)

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, (NASB)

Titus 3:5 then he saved us---not because we were good enough to be saved, but because of his kindness and pity--- by washing away our sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit(The Living Bible ---Paraphrased)

Ephesians have been saved...9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV)

Ephesians 2:8-9 ...have been saved...9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (NASB)

Ephesians 2:8-9 have been saved...9 Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take credit for it.(The Living Bible---Paraphrased)

Galatians 2:16 "knowing that a man is not justified by works of the law..... (NKJV)

Galatians 2:16 and yet we Jewish Christian know very well thatwe cannot become right with God by obeying our Jewish law,...(The Living Bible--Paraphrased)

1.It is not a work of righteousness.
2. It is not a good deed.
3. Men are not baptized because they are good enough.
4. Water baptism is not administered as a reward for good deeds.
5. Baptism is not a work of the Law of Moses.

Water baptism is so men can be saved. (Marl 16:16)
Water baptism is so men can have their sins forgiven. (Acts 2:38)

1. They are not works of righteousness.
2. They are not good deeds.
3. Men do not believe, repentant, and confess because they are good enough.
4. Faith, repentance, and confession are not works of the Law of Moses.

Faith, repentance, and confession are so men can have their sins forgiven and be saved. (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-10)

SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT FROM GOD. But men have to accept that gift through faith, repentance, confession and water baptism.THERE IS NO WORK REQUIRED.

Men can be saved in the time it takes to believe, repent, confess, and be immersed in water.

(Note: Repentance in Acts 2:38 means to change from unbelief and to make the commitment to turn from sin and to turn toward God)

YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG> Google search>>>steve finnell a christian view

zuma musa said...

Both Big Bang Theory and Evolutionary Theory support that this entire universe would take billion years to be formed and yet the scripture supports a short while.

What did the scripture describe about the timeframe of God’s creation?

Psalms 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. (King James Version)
Psalms 33:7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
Psalms 33:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
Psalms 33:9 For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

The phrase, By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, as mentioned above implies that the heavens were created at the time of His speech. The phrase, For he spake and it was done, in Psalms 33:9 implies that the creation of heaven was speedy so much so that the heaven was created at the time of His speech.

Let’s link up Psalm 33:6 and 33:9 with Genesis 1:1, it would come to the conclusion that God should have created the heaven and the earth speedily in Genesis 1:1 since, at His speech, the heaven and the earth stood fast and they were created in the beginning of the first day.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Big Bang Theory supports the heavens have not been finished in its evolution since they support that they are still in construction currently that have led to current view of speedily expansion of this universe. Or in other words, Big Bang Theory supports the unceasing generation of new planets as well as the extension of the universe. The scripture supports otherwise since the phrase, For he spake and it was done, is mentioned in Psalms 33:9. As the phrase, For he spake and it was done, is mentioned in Psalms 33:9, it implies that God has finished His creation of the heavens at the time of His speech. Unless Psalms 33:9 mentions with the phrase, For he spake and it was on construction or on evolution, He had not finished His creation of heavens and that would have led to the current expansion of the universe as a result of His continuous work in construction of the heavens by expansion and forming more new planets. Nevertheless, the scripture supports that God has finished His creation of the heavens at the time of His speech.

The phrase, all the host of them by the breath of his mouth, in Psalms 33:6 implies whatever things that were in this heaven were created by His spoken words. The phrase, For he spake and it was done, in Psalms 33:9 refers the same that all the host of them, such as, stars and living creatures, were created instantaneously at the time of His speech.

Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. When Genesis 1:3 has been read with Psalms 33:9, it would turn up to be the light stood fast on the first day.

When Genesis 1:6 has been read with Psalms 33:7 and Psalms 33:9, it would turn up to be that the division of water, such as, ocean or clouds or whatever, was created speedily at the time of His speech and this fell on the second day.

Genesis 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

When Genesis 1:9 has been read with Psalms 33:9, it would turn up to be that the land appeared on earth speedily after His speech on the third day.

Genesis 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

When Genesis 1:11 has been read with Psalms 33:9, it would turn up to be that all the plants were created instantaneously at the time when God has finished His speech on day three.

Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

zuma musa said...

The instantaneous creation of all living things should apply the same throughout Genesis 1 since the phrase, all the host of them by the breath of his mouth, is mentioned in Psalms 33:6. Unless Psalms 33:9 mentions with the phrase, For he spake and it was in construction or evolution, He did not have the power to create things instantaneously at the time of His speech but would take ample time, i.e. million or billion years to accomplish His creation.

From the above explanations, it would come to conclusion that God had created the heavens and the earth within six days literally and they were done but Big Bang supports the heavens have not been finished their construction and that has led their assumption of the continuous expansion of the universe currently. If the heavens were not done in their creation, they need further construction work so as to expand. If the heavens were done in their creation in the beginning, current movement of galaxies away from the earth does not imply God has not finished His construction. Instead, it implies the movement of galaxies in which this universe could be created already in infinity.

Is God omnipotent?

Revelation 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Luke 18:27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.