Calvinism and Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11 - Francis Turretin

Francis Turretin answers the argument that Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11 disproves Calvinism because it teaches that God does not desire the death of the wicked.
Calvinism
Unconditional Election
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Introduction

Some argue that Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11 disproves Calvinism because it teaches that God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather wants the wicked to turn and live. If this is true, then the argument is that God would not predestine some to salvation and others to hell.

Here are the relevant verses:

18:23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?

18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

32:11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Below is Reformer Francis Turretin's (1623–1687) exegesis of these verses.

Source: Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 1, pp. 229-230, 408

Francis Turretin on Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11

"When God testifies that 'he has no pleasure at all in the death of the sinner, but that he should return from his ways, and live' (Eze.18:23), this does not favour the inefficacious will or the feeble velleity of God because the [Hebrew] word chpts (which occurs there) does not denote desire so much as delight and complacency. Thus God may be said not to delight in the punishment of the wicked inasmuch as it is the destruction of the creature, although he wills it as an exercise of his justice. So he is said to will the repentance of sinners approvingly and preceptively as a thing most pleasing to himself and expressed in his commands, although with respect to all of them he nills it decretively and effectively ... Although God protests that 'he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but in his conversion and life' (Eze. 33:11), it does not follow that from eternity he willed and intended under any condition the conversion and life of each and every man. For besides the fact that conversion cannot be intended under any condition (because it is itself a condition), it is certain that here is treated the will of euarestias and of complacency, not the will of good pleasure (eudokias) (which the verb chpts proves, meaning everywhere to be pleased and to hold as grateful, to imply that God is pleased with the conversion and life of the sinner as a thing grateful to him and agreeing with his perfectly merciful nature, rather than with his destruction, and therefore exacts it from man as a bounden duty to be converted if he desires to live). But although he wills not (i.e., is not pleased with the death of the sinner, as it denotes the destruction of a creature), yet he does not cease to will and intend it as an exercise of his justice and as the occasion of manifesting his glory (Prov. 1:26; 1 Sam. 2:34). Take, for example, a pious magistrate who is not pleased with the death of the guilty, yet does not cease justly to decree their punishment in accordance with the laws. Nor is it the case that if God does not properly intend their repentance and salvation, does he to no purpose say to the reprobate who are invited to repentance, 'Why will ye die?' For he rightly shows them by these words what they must do to avoid death and that by their voluntary impenitence, they alone are the cause of their own destruction, not God. For although by the decree of reprobation, he had passed them by and determined not to give them faith, yet no less voluntarily do they sin and so obstinately bring down their own destruction upon themselves"

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