What is "good," and what is "bad?"
We can only know what is good or bad by God's interaction with creation. God is totally consistent. We sees God's goodness in God sending the rain on the just and unjust. We see God's goodness in that He sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to be the savior of whosoever will. Now, it must be said, we are not born "good." We are evil to the core. We have original sin which is we choose our own way and thoughts as being the best, the ultimate, and our own comfort is first. Nor, is there some spark in us that in our own strength we can see God. We do not seek God! "
What then? Are we any better? Not at all. For we previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. Just as it is written: "There is none righteous, no not one. There is none who understands; there is none who seeks God. All have turned aside; together they became unprofitable; there is not one doing kindness, there is not so much as one." (Romans 3:9-12, EMTV)
Salvation is initiated by God Himself. If God did not initiate salvation, no one would ever be saved, forgiven, or go to heaven.
I know what evil is, because God shows us His character, which is good. The opposite then is bad, evil. God has a way of life:
- "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him." (Genesis 18:19, NKJV)
- Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them. (Hosea 14:9, NKJV)
- He said, "O full of all guile and all craft, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? (Acts 13:10, EMTV)
Sinners (all of us) have a different way of life.
- Who in the generations gone by permitted all the Gentiles to walk in their ways. (Acts 14:16, EMTV)
- For we have spent enough of our past lifetime to accomplish the will of the Gentiles—having walked in wantonness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. (1 Peter 4:3, EMTV)
Dr. Roger Olsen penned an article on his Patheos blog that is a very worthy read.
For years now I have been insisting that the main reason I am not a Calvinist (or any kind of divine determinist) is that, taken to its "good and necessary consequences," Calvinism makes God morally monstrous. I fully realize and understand that many Calvinists do not see this and disagree. Of course they do. In my opinion, most simply close their eyes to the fact that if God creates some people, created in his image and likeness, for hell or even merely "passes over some" when he could save them (because election is unconditional and grace irresistible), then God is not good in any meaningful sense. If God does this, then "God is good" means nothing other than "God is God"—a tautology. "Good" tells us nothing about God in addition to "he is God."
When I push this "button" on Calvinism to a Calvinist he or she usually retreats…
The difference between a Calvinist (full TULIP) and Classical/Reformed Arminian is wide. This article definitely is worthy of 5 minutes of your time.