“Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages [were] heavy loaden; [they are] a burden to the weary [beast]. They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity” (Isaiah 46:1-2).
“They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, [one] shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble” (Isaiah 46:7).
John Murray and Ned Stonehouse play the ventriloquist for their idol’s “ardent desire” to deliver the burden, but cannot.
“We have found that God himself expresses an ardent desire for the fulfilment of certain things which he has not decreed in his inscrutable counsel to come to pass. This means that there is a will to the realization of what he has not decretively willed, a pleasure towards that which he has not been pleased to decree. This is indeed mysterious, and why he has not brought to pass, in the exercise of his omnipotent power and grace, what is his ardent pleasure lies hid in the sovereign counsel of his will. We should not entertain, however, any prejudice against the notion that God desires or has pleasure in the accomplishment of what he does not decretively will” (Murray & Stonehouse).
With the risible rope of a “permissive decree” R.L. Dabney, Lorraine Boettner, and A.A. Hodge pull along their execrable idol in a Reformed Radio Flyer Wagon:
“This, then, is my picture of the providential evolution of God’s purpose as to sinful acts; so to arrange and group events and objects around free agents by His manifold wisdom and power, as to place each soul, at every step, in the presence of those circumstances, which, He knows, will be a sufficient objective inducement to it to do, of its own native, free activity, just the thing called for by God’s plan. Thus the act is man’s alone, though its occurrence is efficaciously secured by God. And the sin is man’s only” (R.L. Dabney, Systematic Theology, p. 288).
“God so presents the outside inducements that man acts in accordance with his own nature, yet does exactly what God has planned for him to do” (Lorraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, p. 38).
“Yet God’s permissive decree does truly determine the certain futurition of the act; because God knowing certainly that the man in question would in the given circumstances so act, did place that very man in precisely those circumstances that he should so act” (A.A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology, p. 210).
The Reformed consensus of a “permissive decree” is a proud and presumptuous declaration that “He hath no hands.”
“Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! [Let] the potsherd [strive] with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9)
Since the Calvinist-Reformed idol is unable to speak through his throat, one of his skillful artificers must needs speak for him.
“Does one ask how then a permissive decree can have entire certainty? The answer is, because God knows that men’s natural disposition certainly prompts them to evil; for instance, I know it is the nature of lambs to eat grass. If I intentionally leave open the gate between the fold and the pasture I know that the grass will be eaten, and I intend to allow it just as clearly as if I had myself driven them upon the pasture” (R.L. Dabney, The Five Points Of Calvinism, pp. 49-50).
Compare what Dabney says with what God says:
“The king’s heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Proverbs 21:1).
“He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants” (Psalm 105:25).
These Scriptures teach that God ACTUALLY TURNS hearts. Those like-minded with Dabney teach that God does everything but turn hearts in this way (e.g., arrange, group, or surround the king’s heart with the circumstantial rivers of water but not turn his heart as water).