X. WHY THE OLD TULIP IS ILLOGICAL
This section is provided for those who would like categorized highlights of what is wrong with the traditional TULIP, and why it needs overhaul. Some of what is said here is repeated (or implied) elsewhere in the TULIPS? website, usually in blue fontface.
Traditional TULIP's illogics (and thus the inability to see Scripture which points out the illogics) stem from a misunderstanding of the nature of God. That is partly why, in this proposed rewrite of TULIP, the "S" is added.
TULIP is worth rewriting and correcting. Those who are critical of it say it should be completely scrapped. I submit they are "throwing out the baby with the bathwater", which is why I've taken the time to construct this website. I truly hope that Calvinists who read it will give it attention, for it contains an answer to the many objections heard by non-Calvinists...that is, if TULIP's errors were corrected to fit the Bible (which of course TULIP intends to fit).
I fully realize that the proposed re-construct here is incomplete (i.e., in an attempt to keep it simple, I've largely left off documenting the points from Scripture). The objective is to present an overview of how TULIP might be fixed; it is not intended to be a full-blown scholarly work, nor do I wish any credit. As always, any truth here comes from the Holy Spirit, not from me. As always, any one who seeks to understand a thing needs His Mentorship, and should "test" what he reads/hears, "like the mouth tastes food", as Elihu put it (Job 34:1-4).
So much for preamble. Let's move on to considering the problems with TULIP.
THE ROOT ILLOGIC in TULIP is that it misapprehends God's Attribute of Sovereignty, aka "Free Will" or "Volition". According to the "logic" of TULIP, because God is meritorious, and He has free will (aka Sovereignty), His Free Will is meritorious. So, to say that man has free will must mean that man is meritorious. Note how TULIP deems merit "married" to free will in ALL PERSONS. The possibility that this "marriage" is not true (i.e., not scriptural) is not considered. Such a marriage was invented by the likes of Acquinas and Augustine (or perhaps before them, I didn't look farther back), as a debater's artifice to formulate their treatises. (I don't see any evidence in their writings that they intended their audiences to accept such a marriage as Gospel, but rather as a means of furthering consideration of the structure of the topics being covered in their writings.)
This meritorious concept of free will was one of the Arminians' mistakes in their formulation of salvation's structure; and the Council of Dordt, who branded it heretical, didn't challenge their claim that merit resides in free will, but instead countered that man didn't have free will. Hence, TULIP has the "stamp" of illogic running throughout, and the verses used to justify it are jammed together; the verses which contradict TULIP are bypassed or rationalized away.
One wonders why. Let's pretend for a moment that there was such a thing as meritorious free will. So what? If a person has merit, from where did he get it? God. And if he managed to have free will without merit, where did that come from? God. In either event, if he wants to be saved, so what? God owes him nothing, and is under no obligation to say "yes". In short, free will, meritorious or no, has no power to make up for sin, no power to do good-enough works, no power over God, no power to create a spiritual life, so no power to save. 'Even if perfect.
In short, free will, meritorious or no, is powerless with respect to God (Rom4:1-10). His Authority is completely unaffected, His power is unaffected. In no event is His power or choice "conditioned", for He is just as free to say yes or no absent the person's consent, as with it.
Yet to deny free will was seen as important by the Council; so much so, all of TULIP was invented.
Even today, when "free will" is heard by the Calvinist mind, (despite Calvin's writings in his French Sermons, and Articles III and IV of the Institutes), it's automatically branded "Arminianism", and the possibility of some OTHER definition of free will goes unconsidered, throughout the centuries. In short, if it's free will, it MUST be Arminian/pelegian, etc. In short, if it is not a cat, it MUST be a dog. Such a dogmatic, scribal attitude is what has kept the illogic of TULIP alive for so long, wasting the Calvinist's time in trying to defend it rather than invest his time in refining and resizing it to fit the actual Bible.
Let's look into this "logic" a bit more.
To TULIP, because free will in anyone MUST be meritorious, only perfect humans can have free will (Adam pre-Fall, and Christ). So, if man is fallen, he must not have free will. Thus, total depravity means a depravity of will, in which sin rules and man is little more an animal, basically, due to the sin nature. ALL OF TULIP's TENETS DEPEND ON THE FOREGOING "logic", as premise. So if the premise is incorrect, so are the other tenets: all would need, then, to be corrected, in light of whatever would be the correct premise.
That "logic", that premise, is not correct. What makes God meritorious is His OTHER Attributes: Free Will is just Will. It by itself would have no merit at all. Will is one of the components of personhood (along with attributes like self-consciousness, for example), what distinguishes personhood (i.e., from animalhood). Animals are ruled by their (instinctual) natures, but persons (God, angels, humans) have will as well, so can RULE OVER their other attributes. Note the "CAN" RULE: it's voluntary, an act of volition, will. God made man in His image, not in the image of animals. He made man a person.
Because fallen man is totally depraved, he's constantly assuming that because he makes a good choice, he must be a good person; if he makes a bad choice, he must be a bad person. Such conclusions are illogical, and illogic is a hallmark characteristic of total depravity. In short, the idea that free will has merit is a "depraved" idea.
But the truth is this: volition by its nature always must have an object to "rule" on. To will "A" over "B" is to have two objects and you are ruling on them, preferring "A". The merit of that choice resides in the true properties of the objects, NOT in the act of choosing them. Having free will per se is neither good nor bad. The objects wanted have the good/bad qualities. Free will, then, by itself is but one of the mere characteristics of personhood, just like faith: it's the object, never the will/faith, which has or lacks merit.
If God doesn't have volition, He's not a Person. If angels don't have volition, they are not persons. If man doesn't have volition, he's not a person. The QUALITY of personhood depends on the QUALITY of the other attributes of the person, but the EXISTENCE of personhood depends on having volition [well, and on other attributes like faith (the ability to believe, which is a necessary adjunct to volition, self-consciousness, memory, etc]. Volition, in turn, is NOT volition if it is not free. If not free, it is not "volition" but "instinct", such as animals have, or something like instinct which rules the creature.
So, free will aka volition aka Sovereignty is a necessary component of personhood, and in itself has no merit at all. Indeed, the way such a will is used will determine the quality of any finite person, so he can MAKE himself "of depraved mind", as the Bible puts it. In short, the person can WANT/WILL anything, and whatever he wants/wills has a certain programming momentum with respect to the object of his desire. Such a choice in itself carries no merit whatsoever, but is merely a component of the aliveness of personhood. Any merit (even if "merit" included the ability to make good on a want) would be based upon things EXTERNAL to volition (i.e., the object chosen,OTHER attributes, etc). As we all know, only God and what God does makes for merit; so if merit is produced in any creatures, be they perfect or not, all such produced merit came from GOD. It can't come from any other source. Even a perfect person is that way ONLY because God made him that way, no matter how well he uses his volition afterwards.
Example: The Humanity of Christ did not make Himself; the Humanity of Christ depended on the Holy Spirit, RATHER than on His Own Humanity, RATHER THAN on His Own Deity, as we know from such passages as John 1. The resultant Quality of His Humanity's Personhood was Perfection of so Great a QUANTITY that He was able to "rest" on the Cross, thinking Bible Doctrine in response to all the unimaginable horror of the imputation and total judgement of all the sins of all mankind. (Please read the "U" below and in the "U" section of this website to see why the "all mankind" term is used here.)
Now, it is true, that since God is perfect, every Attribute in Him is perfect, so His Sovereignty (Will) is Perfect. HOWEVER, two additional facts make for this quality, which unfortunately the writers of TULIP either misunderstood or neglected to take into account:
Example: In fact, Adam had to depend on his humanity in order to sin: an act of volition. The resultant Quality of Adam was Total Depravity: his body became ruled by the sin nature acquired from that first sin. His brain, being part of his body, was likewise tainted; witness his goofy "fig leaves" idea to correct the "evil" of nakedness; the goofy idea that nakedness even needed correction to make right on his relationship with his wife, and even with God! (What had happened to his memory of being naked and "okay" beforehand? What happened to his ability to reason? This isn't loss of free will; it's a knowledge failure, a thinking failure.)
Isn't it interesting, that even fallen man faces the same issue as Adam, despite the Fall; no one is sinning ALL the time. So the will to resist sin remains. Adam had been perfect, yet he sinned. Fallen man is totally depraved, yet able not to sin. So fallen man's soul is not enslaved to sin, although we know his body is. So perhaps fallen man's will is shielded in some God-provided way, despite total depravity.
Example: Satan choose to rebel against God. Yet he has not been incarcerated (a fact which doesn't occur until the 2nd Advent). That is why we live in the devil's world (rulership of which he took from Adam due to the fall). So, Satan could choose to stop his rebellion, but for all these eons keeps on choosing to rebel. He remains responsible for his decisions. True, he cannot make himself perfect again (only God can do that), but he CAN choose to change his mind and submit to God, at least until the time he is finally put into the Lake of Fire.
The resultant Quality of Satan is that of supreme evil. He still remains as beautiful as the day he was created (apparently, from what I know in Scripture) yet in his soul is completely antagonistic to any truth whatsoever. He well knows Hell exists, yet would rather fight God and take his chances than submit. To him, submission to God is clearly WORSE than hell.
1) Perfection is due to the SUM of all Attributes, so God's Will would NOT be meritorious if alone. Thus, Will per se has no merit in itself. (You can prove to yourself that Perfection is due to the SUM of His Attributes by taking out an Attribute and then cycling through the effect on the other ones.)
These two facts make for Sovereignty's perfection. Since Sovereignty, like all other Attributes, is indivisible in God, Sovereignty is thus perfect, owing to His Other Attributes. Since Sovereignty has these Other Attributes, Sovereignty WILLS THE STANDARDS which such Attributes "carry" inherently in them. So, these STANDARDS are an inherent demand of Sovereignty in all that God wills and "does" (God, being Spiritual, just thinks a thing into being; so, strictly speaking, "does" nothing).
2) God has STANDARDS, which are all expressions of, and inherent to, His Sovereignty. These STANDARDS are that all things must measure up to His OTHER Attributes. Not merely co-exist, or be compatible with, but "measure up", be as Good as He is. He has no desire to and no need to tolerate any standard less than His Own. That is why there had to be an efficacious Cross: no creation could be justifiably created if the Success of His Work was not foreknown, foreordained, foreprovided (predestination is provision, not forcing, as the "P" section explains). As a result, it doesn't MATTER that creatures do not meet His Standards: Christ paid for the entire loss, AS WELL AS the ransom to remake us good enough, which is why we can be "redeemed" at all. Thus the STANDARDS of God are not violated, and neither is freedom.
Consequently, God would violate His own Standards of Freedom to NOT make free will an attribute of the soul of any creature. And, He would violate His own Standard of Justice were He to condemn anyone who did not have free will. THERE WOULD BE NO NEED FOR THE CROSS IF MAN DIDN'T HAVE FREE WILL. God could have, instead, just made us perfect robots. It's truly that simple.
TULIP is thus fatally flawed at heart, because it misunderstands God's Nature, and thus the nature of personhood. Let's next cycle through each TULIP "letter". Each one has its particular flaws as a consequence of such misunderstanding.
"T" for "Total Depravity"
..is flawed because it diagnoses the depravity in will. This is obviously incorrect for 2 primary reasons:
1. Will is created by God as an attribute of the human soul. God is Perfect, and what He makes is Perfect, so the attributes of the soul, like the soul itself, cannot be destroyed. So the will per se is indestructible. What the person thus MAKES of himself via that will can clearly be corrupted (Satan being the highest end of the spectrum-of-corruption in persons, apparently). One programs oneself. The will and soul are developed further, for good or bad capacities, depending on the merit of the objects chosen. We know from Scripture that the soul "grows" due to learning truth, for example. So, one's integrity grows, and thus one's capacity for love/enjoyment grows. Bible metaphors for this growth abound: some use the eating/nourishment category of metaphor; some use the exercise/athletic metaphor; some use physical-growth (i.e., child, adult) metaphors.
[Some "grow" verses: 2Pet3:18, the "soul enlarged" verse(s) and the the middle of Eph 1,3 (Paul's two prayers). Most Christians understand the immaterial nature of the soul, so presumably know those verses also.]
The knowledge depravity must be corrected by means of transmitting knowledge of God; due to man's state, man cannot receive such knowledge on his own: God must transmit it and provide the interface to the soul. (The "draw" and "drag" verses which Calvinists like to use to prove irresistable grace actually prove instead that God does all the communicating to ANYONE. In fact, you'll notice in those verses that it doesn't say GOD ONLY chooses to draw or drag the "elect", but rather that only by MEANS of God can someone come to Him. The Holy Spirit's communication ministry is part of how He accomplishes such a goal, in accordance with the "not willing any should perish" and like verses illustrating God's Will on the subject.)
In short, the objects learned affect the quality of the person you become via such choice to learn..again, the merit always being in the object, never in the volition/faith which chooses/believes.
2. The depravity is one of knowledge, not will. Adam exchanged the knowledge of God for the knowledge of good and evil, thus dying spiritually. This choice depraved his BODY, of which the brain is a part, so the desires of the BODY, often mistaken as will, naturally tend to be human good, sin, evil. Since the soul is immaterial, we can't inherit Adam's soul; instead, these are CONGENITAL proclivities due to the self-destructive "knowledge of good and evil" subroutines contained within the cell structure of the body, which we do inherit (which is why we age, and die physically). The soul receives them from the brain, just as the brain receives impulses from the body. These proclivities are very urgent, analogous to the feeling to urinate, for example. Thus a person gives in to them, though not always. However, just giving in once is a personal volitional act, which is hostile to God's Perfection. (Note therefore how it thus doesn't matter that man is born in this state. Inheriting Adam's post-Fall sin nature only increases the TEMPTATION to disobey; it does not FORCE it.)
The Holy Spirit acts as a human spirit in transmitting Gospel information to the unbeliever; the Holy Spirit transmits Bible Doctrine taught/read/heard to the human spirit of the believer. In both cases, He cycles the information throughout the soul, building the information in it, SOLELY based upon how much the person wants it; for the believer, another prerequisite is that he cannot be in a carnal state. 1Jn explains this process in great detail. So does 1Cor2, Eph6, Eph5:18, John 14, among other passages.
Regarding the fact that the depravity is one of knowledge, there are hundreds of verses, too many to include here. (Run a bot-search on "know", its cognates; on its metaphors, like "darkness","light"; and synonyms and antonyms for such words; and, verses which relate to knowing/not knowing..'probably takes at least a year to go through them all.)
One such verse springing to mind is, "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free". See how knowledge is the key to freedom. See how a person can have free will, but not be free to make good on that will. The inability to make good on a thing does not mean the person has no free will. I can be paralyzed, yet not want to be, for example. In short, freeDOM is the ability to make good on the will, but will is still will, however trapped by external conditions (i.e., by sin). Knowledge of God, which God alone enables for all persons (no exceptions), thus produces freedom to know and want Him, insofar as the will of the person desires to receive such knowledge.
At this point the cleverer of the Calvinists will say, "but the will is corrupted by having depraved desires". No. That is not what's actually occurring. The PERSON, not the will, is corrupted. The will remains, as always, nonmeritorious, a mere volition. That volition moves in a particular direction is due to the OTHER attributes of the person, which the person has willed to program/make his standards for will's choices. (Remember, how we saw above that God's Standards are what they were due to His Other Attributes?) The depraved desires are essentially bodily ones (including brain, so including thought), which have no force in themselves UNTIL the volition AGREES with them. At which point, they add to the standards of will, freely made a part of that person. That is why the person is responsible for not wanting God, as Romans 1-3 explains (among many other passages).
But, the clever Calvinist will counter, man does not naturally want God. True. He has no knowledge of God upon which to choose to want Him. Instead, he has a knowledge of good-and-evil, and that is all he has. Worse still, he has all the genetic proclivities (evidenced by brain impulses, for example) which of themselves are totally dependent on such knowledge, genetically.
That is where the Holy Spirit comes in, to provide man with an alternative: God. Now, since man has no natural way to know God, and since he instead "knows" good-and-evil, he will not be predisposed to want God, but due to the fact that he has free will, the Holy Spirit can communicate information to him in a manner which hits him at the opportune strategic time(s). That is, although man is so evilly predisposed, on any particular moment he does not want "x" yet is stuck with it. He thus WILLS a way out of being stuck with "x": at such a moment, his will is positive to an alternative, and the Holy Spirit provides him with one.
For example, natural man does not want to die, but knows he will. Naturally he wants to live longer, and the Gospel is good news, for it explains how he can live forever with God. True, God must make such an alternative clear to the natural man, but the Holy Spirit is omnipotent and this is no problem. True, man will naturally react negatively, but now he has the KNOWLEDGE of the Gospel, at least in part, and the Holy Spirit can build on that KNOWLEDGE in successive communications so to create an alternative knowledge base for free will to choose from.
In short, man wants based on what he knows; the more truth he knows, the more he is able to have freedom. As stressed earlier, and in the "T" section of this site, MERIT is in the object chosen, but NEVER in the ability to choose it.
Man is also more able to enslave himself by rejecting truth. This is also a property of free will, and of course such self-enslavement is the key reason he becomes completely hostile to truth by the time of death.The having-exchanged-the-truth-for-a-lie verse in Romans 1 illustrates the mechanics of this voluntary enslavement; the "knowledge" of the lie is more attractive than the truth, so the lie is adopted AS the truth by volition. This knowledge then adds to the existing knowledge base of the person, which in turn affects the other attributes. At any moment in time, a person's quality is based upon the choices he's made to know or not know: he has programmed himself. In this case, he is programming his desires for hell as opposed to heaven, via the "exchange".
So, logically, just as for Satan, such a man's standards "make" Heaven much more a torturous place than hell. God is thus being kind to provide Hell instead of forcing such a man to live in Heaven. (Soul torture is far more painful than body torture, so Heaven is not a place the unbeliever will want in preference. The essence of pain is KNOWING; the body's ability to feel pain depends on it being KNOWN as pain; the body's limitations in feeling pain are much greater than the soul's limitations in KNOWING pain. This parenthetical statement will make no sense to you, if you don't yet know how to recognize soul pain in yourself or other people.)
The novel WUTHERING HEIGHTS(?) (movie form: Rebecca), and the short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" (by Edgar Allen Poe) aptly illustrate soul pain despite pleasant circumstances; in effect, the very pleasantness of the circumstances intensifies the soul pain. The new wife, in WUTHERING HEIGHTS, was constantly tortured by the comparative beauty of the dead wife she replaced, however much her husband assured her that he loved her and gave her everything wonderful. The guilty man in "Tell Tale Heart" kept imagining hearing the heart beat in the man he'd murdered and put under the floorboards, despite the people in the room who clearly were oblivious to the imagined sound. (You can probably think of many other stories from real life or literature.)
The second big illogic in "T", which is a corollary of the misdiagnosed depravity, is the claim that man has to be regenerated BEFORE he can have faith. So, salvation PRECEDES faith in Christ. All the believe-and-be-saved verses just get tossed out the window, I guess. No Bible verses support this idea, as stated.
HOWEVER, if instead "regeneration" in 1610 MEANT merely that the ability to change the mind about the Gospel and believe in Christ depends on some other type of work by the Holy Spirit (His Gospel transmission to spiritual brain death), that's true, and many verses support it. (Examples: 1Cor2, and the "drag" and "draw" verses apply to EVERYONE, not merely the elect; they say NO one can understand Gospel or be saved apart from God's work.)
One does not need to be regenerated (by the Bible's definition) to receive the Gospel and believe in Christ. One DOES need the Holy Spirit's work, but the "name" of His Ministry there is NOT "regeneration".
The person who has no attribute of faith is a person who is physically dead or comatose. In order to learn, one MUST possess the faculty of belief, which is the SOLE meaning of the Greek word "pistis" in its active sense (mental belief, no more). It is a faculty of the soul, like volition, and essential to personhood. It is not anything more. That is why it is also nonmeritorious. The person who freely believes in Christ is still spiritually dead when he does so. The Holy Spirit "picks up" that spiritually-dead faith and makes it efficacious for salvation -- creates the human spirit (aka regeneration/born again). The Father then imputes His Righteousness and Eternal Life to that human spirit. These real imputations cannot be lost, any more than one can become unborn once born.
One could say more about the problems of the "T" in TULIP, but the foregoing is plenty enough to warrant a rewrite. Let's move on to the "U".
"U" for "Unconditional Election"
The Arminians strike me as well-intentioned folks who needed to work a lot more on their formulation of salvation. TULIP, being a tit-for-tat to the Arminians' five-point formulation, was designed to be the opposite of each point they'd made in their formulation. We just saw the mistake in TULIP's "T". It flows through to this "U" also.
But back to the Arminians. They'd attempted to say that man must choose to be saved in order for God to save him, which is true; unfortunately they'd already said free will was so meritorious, man could actually give a gift(!) to the Almighty; so when they get to this point of formulation, they called it "conditional Election". Bad move.
The Dordt people naturally needed to make it the opposite of what the Arminians said. Unfortunately they merely called Election Unconditional, again claiming man has no free will; further, that God made his election before "knowing" anything about them. ("lest any man should boast", I guess..as if God would be impressed by anyone other than Christ?)
The Dordt "logic" was:
1) no personal criteria being officially "foreknown", God's choice of elect couldn't be based ON any personal characteristics OF the elect (they're saying this to head off any claims of merit or partiality by God);
2) man due to depravity has no free will; besides, if man could choose to be saved, somehow that detracted from God's Sovereignty or Impartiality (again, they're trying to stave off merit claims).
Wow, God was right, to protect Himself, huh?
All joking aside: neither group took into account that the "conditions" of Election are GOD's CONDITIONS, not man's, reflecting His Standards. So ELECTION is always unconditional; God doesn't have to shield Himself from human free will or foreknowledge in order to be "fair". And no amount of free will nor foreknowledge is capable of influencing His Perfect Standards. This was what the Dordt group were TRYING to convey in the above two points. Their intent was accurate; both statements are nonetheless wholly incorrect.
The Dordt reply should have been, "Salvation is Unconditional, based on God's Standards, not yours; He will not save you unless you believe in Christ; He has freely given you the ability and enough knowledge to do that, so your belief "contributes" nothing. Why? because Christ is GOD's Standard! And He only wants to save those who meet the standard of believing in His Son; all of whom He foreknows, yet He will save you DESPITE foreknowledge, because Christ is the Standard, not you."
Alas, they did not. I guess John 3:15-36 was not available then?
Were God to be swayed by what He foreknew as the personal characteristics of anyone, He'd elect NO ONE. Even were someone attractive, Justice is one of His Attributes. Attractiveness would never be a standard or criterion -- except Christ's. So Election properly SHOULD depend on Foreknowledge, because it is unjust for God to select anyone who would reject His Son. It is likewise unjust for God to elect anyone based upon any other criterion, since only Christ is perfect Atonement. Again, the Dordt people meant well, but their way of trying to illustrate impartiality and no-merit was inimical to the very Justice they tried to honor.
Free will should not be denied, either. If I want to wear a red suit, and choose to wear NO suit if there is no red one, the suit is not as powerful as I am! I'm just saying that on the subject of suits, I will ONLY wear "bb0000".
Likewise, on the subject of salvation, God is saying He only wants those who freely believe in His Son. While He DID WANT to provide for salvation to be AVAILABLE to all mankind, and in fact did so, He DID NOT WANT TO SAVE those who NEVER wanted to believe in His Son during their lifetimes. In short, the chicken precedes the egg. God made the choice of what He wanted FIRST. So, it is NEITHER true that salvation is conditioned on man, NOR is it true that God somehow relinquishes some of His Sovereignty to elect those who, of their own truly-free will, have at least ONCE believed in Christ. It's really that simple.
Ironically, in an attempt to say God is Just (the noble motive behind the Dordt folks' wording), God's Justice is unwittingly negated. JUSTICE is an Attribute of God's, but so is VERACITY. Justice isn't "Justice" absent veracity. You can't have justice absent facts. But God has to "create" the facts, doesn't He? Exactly. That is why FOREKNOWLEDGE is required for Justice to function Justly.
It goes like this: JUSTICE demands VERACITY for Justice to function justly, and VERACITY means there must be facts; RIGHTEOUSNESS demands that there be no compromise to it, either. SOVEREIGNTY wants ALL of these conditions met, and FREELY, because God is FREE and will not tolerate slavery (Gal5:1). So, to make sure all conditions including freedom are met,
- Righteousness and Veracity (and all other Attributes, really..God is not divisible) demand that all potential FREE realities be considered.
- Then, all Attributes demand that the potential reality which is NO compromise to Attributes be the one selected.
- Since one of the Attributes is Sovereignty, freedom may not be denied anyone. Since one of the Attributes is Veracity, >ALL Elections must be based on Foreknowledge of that one, non-compromising FREE reality.
Thus, the problem in TULIP with respect to "U" is simply one of illogic re God's Nature. They are so busy looking at man's volition and characteristics, they forgot God's, even though trying to honor Him. They look at the fact God ONLY elects some, and don't consider that equipping man with free will has no effect on God; even if everyone had believed in Christ, it's still up to God to decide if He agrees. So in no event is salvation "conditioned on" man. GOD SET THE CONDITIONS HE WANTED, and because He is Justice and Truth He WANTED the conditions to be based upon Foreknowledge. We either agree to believe in Christ, or not.
(More on Foreknowledge is covered in "P", below.)
Secondly, all parties seem to have ignored the fact that no one can even exist apart from a) God willing you to exist from eternity past, and b) God making your soul. Material bodies don't create immaterial souls. So, there's ANOTHER ELECTION which precedes the salvation election: that of ELECTING WHO TO CREATE.
Clearly, all provisions of God are tied to the elect; but there are TWO ELECTIONS. So, provision for the unsaved must be made also. So "L" has to reference everyone who's the object of an Election: that's a central theme of Calvinism.
In fact, the provision is for the Gospel to be made known to EVERYONE. Atonement is provided for everyone; and (by implication) a certain amount of logistical support (so Gospel can be sufficiently transmitted, for example). There's also blessing-by-association ("salt of the earth", etc.).
Far more importantly, there's the Election of Christ, the FIRST Election which justifies all the rest. Absent His Efficacious Payment, no one could be justifiably created. This is the biggest flaw in "U". By missing this Election, the Dordt people missed their big chance to trump over Arminianism once-and-for-all. Worse, by missing this primary doctrine, they unwittingly malign God completely. (In the "P" subpage of this website I briefly explain Christ's Election, so the reader is referred there.)
The Election issue Dordt faced with the Arminians was merely the one involving believers; but if these other two Elections were considered, the utter mess which is "L" would have been spotted right away and cleaned up.
There are other flaws in TULIP's "U", but they are minor by comparison or are covered elsewhere. So we'll now move on to the "L".
"L" for "Limited Atonement"
The Arminians' formulation of Atonement was basically correct,but it sounded like Christ's Work was only efficacious if one believed in Christ, which is incorrect. They attributed too much to the role of man's acceptance of salvation, again assigning that acceptance a role of merit it did not have.
What was the Council of Dordt to do? Well, they could have straightened them out by saying they oversimplified salvation to the point of distortion, because clearly salvation is NOT efficacious due to anything on man's part. (God must be TRULY paid, and only Christ can do that; man's assent has no merit whatsoever, and certainly does not make salvation efficacious.) But, instead, since the Arminians called Atonement "unlimited", the Council called it "Particular" or "limited". Which would be okay, if they'd explained in TULIP that Atonement was nonetheless universal toward GOD, but the "Particular"/"limited" aspect was the application of it to the elect. But they didn't include that clarification in the acronym.
So, In TULIP, though not in sophisticated Calvinism, this "L" is the most illogical letter of all. It says that ONLY those elected for Salvation were Atoned for by Christ. Sophisticated Calvinism acknowledges that all mankind was atoned for, but salvation is "applied only to the elect". So, why wasn't the "L" corrected? Because it was simple, concatenating the true meaning of Atonement with the APPLICATION of Atonement to the elect. Thus was born a running confusion which one hears even today, the false idea that Christ did not die for the un-elect.
The "U" and "L" sections of this website explain what is the sophisticated Calvinist view, along with other facts. That view is the Biblical one.
Sadly, Calvinists not acquainted with the sophisticated view conclude that somehow Hell compensates God for the sins of the non-elect (since they are not aware that Christ atoned for all). They thus double-damn God in such innocent blasphemy: first, God is damned because He didn't receive full Atonement from His Son, so God must be unfair to Himself; second, God is damned because He sent his Son to the Cross in the first place, inasmuch as He could be paid instead by the sufferings of Hell. Of course, God would be a lover-of-suffering, that He could be compensated by Hell at all. In sum, the entire idea that even one sin escaped the Cross is completely blasphemous.
These same Calvinists honestly believe that unless ONLY the elect were atoned for, Christ's Work would have been "wasted", by paying for those who go to hell anyway. Their root idea is that God is compensated by having saved creatures, then, NOT by the Cross. Or, conversely, that (as above) God is compensated by everlasting punishment. So, Christ's work is of no more value than those persons whom He saved. This is another way of saying Christ's value is of no more worth than those persons whom He saved. Again, it is an unintentional blasphemy.
Yet, who doesn't honestly wonder about the seeming-waste? Unlimited Atonement DOES mean that what He paid didn't result in all persons being saved. But wait! If even one teeny sin goes unpaid, the person who committed it could not be allowed to be born in the first place! This, because Righteousness deserves FULL payment for ALL offenses by the Christ. Else, there would be no Cross needed, if man's punishment could atone or compensate(!). But wait! Christ DID pay for all mankind, TO THE FATHER, and because the Father IS Righteous; it's a secondary issue of wanting all men to be saved. The Father is FIRST; we are not. Christ did this voluntarily. And that's the key to why God and Christ's Humanity did not "waste" anything: everything was a gift to Each Other, everything was made freely, and to be free (Gal5:1). (Freedom as God's STANDARD is the running theme in this website. I can't repeat all its contents here.)
Much Scripture is distorted in bizarre fashion to suit the notion that Atonement was not unlimited. For example, strange twists are made of Bible verses which have blanket-Greek words (like "pas" in the plural, which in that case is a substantive, not an adjective, meaning "all/everyone/anyone without exception"), in order to try and make those verses fit the idea that Christ didn't REALLY pay for all mankind. ("Pas" is frequently used in verses on the topics of both Atonement salvation's universal availability.) A quick example is "that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). The distorter tries to say that "whosoever" really means only-the-elect. The Greek (or even the English) makes it clear that ANYONE is in view.
There are many other such verses, and any non-Calvinist is quick to point them out, so no more need be said. The best solution for someone confused on this point is to consult someone who has a sophisticated knowledge of what Calvin REALLY taught on the topic.
Let's move on to the "I".
"I" for "Irresistable Grace"
Here, the root flaw of man having no free will reaches its full bloom. As we saw in "L" above, the Arminians stated that The Holy Spirit's Ministry of Gospel Grace was given to all mankind, and all mankind could resist it. In this, they were right. Yet the Council, in order to keep to its tit-for-tat rebuttal, made the egregious error of saying Grace is resistable only by the non-elect, because God only wants to give the non-elect an "outward call", which can be resisted, but does NOT want to give them the "inward call", which cannot be resisted. In short, the Grace extended is greater to the elect, even during their unsaved period, than to the non-elect, so that's why the non-elect aren't saved. That this double-standard makes God "a respecter of persons" (which the Holy Spirit inspired James to excorciate), wasn't noticed.
So, "I" has come to mean the "elect" have no choice but to respond to the Gospel. It's hard to imagine how anyone can logically accept the idea that God would want robots, but that's exactly what this "I" says. It's harder still to imagine why no one has corrected it over all these years. Just as with "L", the verses teaching the resistability of man to grace are all over the Bible. 'Both before, and AFTER salvation. The Exodus Generation and the Corinthians in the Bible were all believers, yet their behavior has shocked readers for centuries. So how is it that a person can't resist the "inward call" when "elect", but AFTERwards can just resist, resist, resist? Hmmm...
On closer inspection, it's obvious that this two-tier explanation was an attempt to say that the grace which makes for salvation is the Holy Spirit's work, not man's; that is wholly correct. However, since the premise was that man had no free will, "inward" grace illogically becomes a coercive act by a Free, Sovereign Holy Spirit, which is wholly INCORRECT. Again, the trump play over the Arminians was missed by the Dordt people, as indeed it has been all along since they hastily accepted the insane notion that free will is inherently meritorious.
By contrast, the real Biblical answer is: 1) God extends the SAME grace to everyone; 2) everyone has free will, so everyone can resist the "call"; but 3) those who believe in Christ aren't contributing squat to their salvation; since 4) God gave EVERYONE the attribute of faith as a component of personhood, in the soul; so 5) faith in Christ, like free will, is NONmeritorious, and 6) The Holy Spirit makes that faith in Christ efficacious for salvation, not man.
In short, the truth is a MIX of both sides' positions, as is usually the case in any polemical, dogmatic squabbles.
It's 6) that resolves the conundrum the Council faced. Free will, however total in man, STILL doesn't have the power to create a spiritual life. (A will to do is not a power to do.) Only the Holy Spirit can. God has the power, God sets the conditions, not man. God does not WANT to make the powerless faith efficacious for salvation unless the person freely WANTS to be saved. Man's want is a powerless want, "contributing" nothing. God does not WANT to coerce, which is why He only wants to save those who want to be saved.
So why did the Council have to say man had no free will to explain he was powerless? He'd have been powerless anyway. One can want a thing all day long, but having the power to actually GET it is another attribute. No one but God has the necessary power to create spiritual life. So it isn't necessary to say man has no free will, especially here.
Now, the sophisticated Calvinist will point out that man has free will "within the confines of his depraved nature" or something similar, in order to explain how it is that grace can be resisted even a little bit. Thus he is granting a partial-free-will status to man. Again, this partial status is based on the false idea that will was what was depraved, and the false idea that God's Sovereignty is somehow curtailed if man is granted free will.
Such a partial-free-will "credit" is likewise illogical; if it were true that God's Sovereignty would be compromised/limited by man being granted free will, then it is STILL compromised by man's having partial free will. The compromise would be less, that's all. Further still, if will was what was depraved due to the fall, but depravity is total, then it is illogical to say man has ANY free will, unless depravity is NOT total (which the Arminians claimed). So, either way, one must rework TULIP "from scratch".
Of course, if Grace exists at ALL, man must have free will, else there is no need for Grace (robots would just be pulled in when desired). Of course, if man can resist grace at ALL, he must have free will; Romans 9 is on that very topic. It is a graphic demonstration (first regarding the Jews, then regarding Pharoah, then regarding the "straw man complainer") that man programs himself to hell. Remember back in Exodus, where Pharoah FIRST hardens his OWN heart, and then God sarcastically blames Himself for "hardening" Pharoah further, by means of yet more witnessing-plague-miracles? That should be a big HINT that Free will is present.
Yet the unlearned argue the Pharoah passage and Romans 9 proves man has no free will. Re the latter, anyone who knows how the Greeks used the particle "ei" and structured their debates would know right away, from the Greek, that Paul is saying man DOES have free will..and has been saying so since Romans 1:1. (Simple logic proves it too: If free will were a compromise to God, so man shouldn't have any, then it surely would be a compromise to God to create anyone who is non-elect, no? Oh, because it glorifies Him, some Calvinists will reply. Ah, but what glory is there in making non-elect robots who complain? Would you make a thing such that you force it to hate you? Would a Righteous God be glorified in doing such a stupid thing?)
Worse still, the "I" in TULIP makes the Grace given out to the non-elect intentionally insufficient; so, whole sections of the Bible have to be thrown away, like most of the Book of Romans. That God would a) have His Son pay for those who had no choice but to believe anyway and b) throw away those who God didn't force to come to Him, is hardly friendly, let alone Grace.
Again, this is NOT what the Council meant to convey by dividing Grace into two classes. They were trying to explain that man can't save himself, only God can do it for him. They did a very bad job of explaining why, essentially. They botched the explanation because they too believed the false notion that if man has a voice in salvation, he's somehow "contributing" or "cooperating" (which false notion was the Arminians' cornerstone), so they mistakenly thought they must "take the will out" to prove God alone does the work. So, in an attempt to put down one heresy (merit-is-in-will), the Council unwittingly created a worse one.
Let's move on to the "P".
"P" for "Predestination"
"Provision" should really be the name, here, to include all the facets of what God does; but "Predestination" was chosen as the title, since it is the Biblical word. It was also chosen to answer the Arminians' weird notion that man is capable of causing salvation, therefore man can LOSE his salvation (though some Arminians believed in eternal security). So, the Council formulated "Predestination" principally to assert man CANNOT lose his salvation (which is true); but instead of phrasing it as a guarantee, they phrase it as an imposition..again, because they have to contend man has no free will. "Predestination" was a big word for a narrow question, "can one lose salvation". The Council was right to say "no".
Predestination, though is very much more than this. Because the fact of free will was deemed untrue, the inestimable Glory of God's Provision due to Christ's ELECTION was curtained off. The "P" subpage of this website, plus IV and V try to hint at this Glory: it is so vast, and so misunderstood!
The main flaw with TULIP's "P" response is that it's way too small; since it is predicated on no-free-will, it doesn't recognize the underwriting-nature of provision for all mankind, due solely to Christ. Of course, at the time it was written, it was solely to answer the Arminians' narrow conception of salvation, which was even more in error.
So, the rest of this "P" section will try to explain why the Glory that is Predestination is different from either sides' notion of it; The "P" subpage of this website provides an overview on the "what" of Predestination.
The Dordt people erroneously believed that God's "Arm" was "too short": it couldn't be true that man's free will and God's free will could co-exist by Divine Decree; that if man were empowered with free will, it somehow cuts into Divine Sovereignty. That is, to make Sovereign decisions based on man's choices couldn't be anything other than a prohibited ceding of Sovereignty. Further, the Dordt people deemed it a loss(!!!!) of Sovereignty to ALLOW something He wanted to remain unfulfilled. In short, the idea that God will forever forego something He wants for the sake of freedom is "beyond" them. The fact that Christ's voluntary payment would be so high as to "finance" this freedom, including the financing for a permanent Hell, is likewise "beyond" them. So, to them, Predestination is an imposition, and they see no self-contradiction in saying so.
Small wonder, then, that the Glory of God choosing to choose from His Foreknowledge is likewise deemed some kind of restriction on Sovereignty. Small wonder, then, that they entirely miss the Glory of God's provision in the Election of Christ. Both sides miss it; the Arminians, who are preoccupied with man having merit, and the Dordt people, who are preoccupied with denying man's merit. If ever there was empirical evidence of total depravity, it is here.
The fact that God's Foreknowledge is not coercive, even though God must MAKE reality for it to exist, escaped everyone's understanding.
Today, some Calvinists still have the tangled notion that if Election/Predestination came AFTER Foreknowledge, it would restrict Sovereignty. So God had to choose, first, and THEN foreknow. (This, because the theological definition of Foreknowledge is that section of Omniscience which comprises all known realities, and for reality to exist, God had to choose it.) So election must precede foreknowledge, lest God be threatened by a reality based on freedom.
The essential error in "P" is the same one as plagues their concept of Foreknowledge, that the facts and man's choices should not be referenced prior to Divine Choice (Election, Predestination). The Arminians thus denied Predestination. The Council of Dordt, rather than reconsidering the nature of Foreknowledge and Predestination, retained the false notion that Predestination is a work of God setting everything in stone, no matter what man's will wants. That Predestination is rather the insurance of freedom due to Christ of course escaped the attention of both sides. And still does...
This misunderstanding on both sides is most unfortunate, for in "P" the adamancy and Glory of God's Sovereignty is most beautifully displayed.
The truth is, "Election" and "Predestination" are GOD's STANDARDs. Having a Standard doesn't mean FORCING anything; rather, God's Standards are the basis for God's Provisions..here, entirely due to the Cross. The real illogic here regards the nature of Omniscience. Foreknowledge is but a subsection of it. So it's not as if there was a time when Omniscience existed but Foreknowledge did not. Likewise, there never was a time when the Election/Predestination Standard was not in Omniscience.
But God has another Standard, which is also an Attribute: Veracity. This means He applies His Standards of Election/Predestination ONLY to reality He FOREKNOWS, and NOT before. Applying the Standard doesn't force anyone, either. Why? Because none of these provisions can be done by anyone BUT God; man can't fashion his eternal state, his resurrection body, his benefits in Christ (etc.), only God can. So if God doesn't do so, nothing will exist. And, His Standards being reflective of His Nature, He provides for all contingencies, because one of the Truths is that you are free to choose: for that freedom to be realized, He'd have to provide for it to be realized. So, the provision MUST be based on foreknowledge of what would freely happen, so that all contingent freedoms can be provided. Such provision is the antithesis of imposition; such provision does NOT require the restriction of creature free will. Rather, such provision maximizes the freedom.
REALITY is a type of truth. So, if one of God's Standards is Veracity, and it is, then it is imperative to first foreknow what would freely occur so not to violate that free truth. Truth is not truth if it is not free to become true. Gerrymandering is a way to violate truth, deny free reality. For God to choose to violate Freedom although He is free; for God to choose to violate Truth/Reality when He IS both; for Him to do these things is impossible..for the moment He did them, He'd no longer be God (would be sinning against His own Standards). Therefore, Foreknowledge is a requirement of Righteousness, and would be "consulted" first. Any approved "reality" would have to meet ALL Standards, or it would not be Righteous, True...etc.
This is how God determines reality: it must meet Divine Standards or it cannot be approved. So, doesn't it make sense that, when looking down the corridors of time not-yet-in-existence, God foresaw the way to make free will such that inherited sin could not alter it? Especially since free will would have to exist so to meet God's Standard that He would not want to save anyone who did not freely want to believe in Christ during an entire lifetime? And, having foreseen, being Omnipotent, He could freely make creatures' free will be in the soul, so the sin taint of the body was a strong tempter, but never a forcer of that will? Bearing in mind that only God can structure the creation of man's nature? And, most of all, wouldn't such a forseen structure be ALONE Just, since man thus retains free will?
The Council of Dordt would of course disagree. After all, the term "free will" is used. It's of course NOT possible that free will can exist nonmeritoriously; not possible that God could have created it so, thus bypassing any need to holler free-will-must-be-denied in order to deny merit. Oh no. Instead, their standard was: God should neither look at man's choices nor his characteristics prior to deciding whom to elect. God should also not take foreknowledge into account, for this restricts His Sovereignty.
The Bible predates the Council of Dordt: God did not consult either the Arminians or the Dordt people when He wrote, "those whom He foreknew, He also predestined."
So Foreknowledge must be first. That is, all choices, including God's STANDARDS would be examined, and from there any further choices would most honorably be made. Veracity, which is one of God's Attributes, is thus served: Truth is first considered. Actually, all God's Attributes are thus honored..as they should be, for they are also His Standards.
Remember, God never had to decide anything, so this issue about the logical order of Foreknowledge and Election is but really a display of His Integrity.
Integrity is the Glory of God. He doesn't NEED to gerrymander anything. He doesn't NEED to force anything. He doesn't NEED to prevent freedom in order to get what He wants. Not even with respect to the smallest speck of dust. So, Predestination is not a system of coercion, but RATHER A SYSTEM OF FREE BLESSING due to the Cross. Sure, He has Standards. Those Standards are every much a part of the reality as those who did/do/will exist. But He is so INFINITELY INTEGRITY that He doesn't need to curtail any "free fact" from existing. He can afford to "predestine" free will, and free effects of all kinds, yet STILL get what He wants. And He did.
TULIP's "Predestination" references only the provision for Christians, but a broader definition ought to be given to it, so the proper CONTEXT for the believer's riches can be clearly seen; so the proper UNDERSTANDING for the unbeliever's role can be clearly conveyed; so CHRIST IS SEEN AS CENTRAL AND PRIMARY.
After all, there's MUCH more involved, here, than we mere believers. All the "elections" can only be made BY God:
- He had to elect the creation of the Humanity of Christ, and His King-Priesthood Role of Savior, Seed (Gal3:16's "spermati" in the Greek), without which, no one could be justifiably created.
- He had to elect every person to be born, and He'd have to personally make each soul at birth;
- He had to elect to provide the Gospel to everyone He elected to be born (and if He had chosen otherwise, then Christ's work really would have been wasted, but we know instead that the Gospel is known everywhere, insured so by that same Divine Integrity).
- He had to elect to save those who'd believe in Christ, and
- He had to elect what "salvation" would mean.
In none of these elections could man make any choices how they should be. We can't make ourselves, we can't understand the Gospel, we can't save ourselves, and we can't construct salvation's components. God has to do that. So, yes, it must be "cast in stone": in the sense of insurance, not restriction.
So, too, though, with everything that enables us to live. If I choose to have a hot dog, God had to provide for the ability of man to make one, and has to provide for my ability to earn money or get money to buy it. See, the scope of "Predestination" must include all that exists, or COULD exist (so freedom is preserved..you don't have freedom if you don't have options which can exist). It is of an underwriting nature, not a restrictive one. And, since so much evil exists, we know God didn't force it to exist because He doesn't want evil. Yet, being Integrity, He allows it and even underwrites it...and also provides blessing compensation to those who suffer under it, for Justice is one of His Attributes. Most important of all, He SEES and has always SEEN everything, so if He is free, what He wants to see is freedom. That is His Standard. And so, He predestined all mankind to have free will, too. The Cross is the financing for it all.
Which brings us to God's Love. Nowhere is His Love so stunningly portrayed as in Predestination. Foreknowledge is the very desire of Love, for Love loves to GIVE what the recipient will WANT. So, Love wants to know in advance, so to lovingly plan, provide, insure, deliver. With maximum joy and happiness.
There is no Integrity without Love. Love is the entire motivation for it. Love is the deliverer of Righteousness and Justice, having already loved those FIRST. What good is love if it is not Just, if it is ignorant, if it has no Righteousness? Righteousness, I keep reminding myself, looks like "RIGHT" + "(GOR)GEOUS". Mere Rightness is not enough, and is ugly, anyway. If relationships were based on mere Rightness, they would be sterile. But if Gorgeous Rightness ---> Righteousness, then Glorious.
"We love, because He FIRST loved us." That's Foreknowledge. Love doesn't love unreality. Love doesn't love falsehood. Foreknowledge depends on Truth, on facts. In short, Predestination is an expression of God's Love...first, for His Attributes, without which He'd not have motive to stay God; next, for the other Members of the Godhead; next for Christ's Humanity..and next, because of Christ, for us.
So, Provision is Predestined for the maximum FREE enjoyment of all.
This Provision, coming as it does in Integrity, motivated by Love, necessarily is free. So, the recipients are free to reject the Providential Provision of Predestination. So, whatever is provided remains "on deposit" (a Biblical term meaning "in escrow" in today's English) if the recipient doesn't want it. That is what the Father's Love wanted to do with the financing of the Cross, to make a gift to His Son. But at no time does Love wish to coerce. So, whatever is freely foregone, remains foregone. Not wasted, but a tribute to the Vast Provision in Christ. (Eph 1:1-14 -- and passim throughout all Epistles -- prove that the Father gave this eternity-past Provision TO Christ at the Session, so it is IN Christ, so there's no such thing as "waste".)
The topic of this Provision is largely covered in Ephesians, Colossians, Phillipians, and Hebrews, but all other Epistles reference it. The keywords usually used are covered in the "P", IV, and V subpages of this website.
TULIP's "P" unfortunately misses all this glory, again under the false notion that man has no free will, without considering that maybe God constructed free will so to insure it against the ravages of Total Depravity; under the false notion that God doesn't reference man's will in His decisions; that God doesn't base His decisions on Foreknowledge. So the glory of having a loving God underwriting even one's bad decisions, yet without compromise to Himself (because of the Cross), remains excluded by TULIP's way-too-narrow blinders.
TULIP was quickly and narrowly invented to forestall a split in the ranks of Calvinists. Both Arminius and Calvin had recently died; people were in a nervous time in history; the wording of both sides' arguments at Dordt was obviously not well-thought out. It's understandable that the formulations at the time were hasty.
Why TULIP hasn't been better formulated since, is a mystery. Is it still 1610? Has Calvinism grown, refined? Presumably so. Why then, hasn't TULIP "kept up"? It remains frozen in time, an anachronism of a new faith, babyish in its understanding of God.
TULIP's historical formulation has the effect of "shrinking" God down to a mean tyrant, which it clearly did not intend to do. Every Attribute is short-shrifted, not merely Sovereignty. It's ironic that the acronym which intended to display the Glory and Guarantee of Sovereignty ends up maligning it so. One wonders if the Council of Dordt really meant for the acronym to be the common guidon it has become. It doesn't honor God, and it doesn't honor Calvin. It needs rewriting from scratch.
When any summary of doctrine maligns the Essence of God, when a formulation of a doctrine stagnates despite opposition, it's a big hint that Bible verses are being neglected.
Here's a sampling of the Divine Attributes TULIP unwittingly maligns:
- Sovereignty, in "T", for not preserving free will against the ravages of Total Depravity (which God could foresee, yet chose to become coercive rather than preserve free will);
- Veracity, in "U", by making Christ pay for sins, yet forcing the "elect" to be saved and the nonelect to be damned, apart from the facts (since man has no voice in his salvation);
- Righteousness, in "L", by making nonelect persons, yet having Christ pay only for the elect, per the "L" commonly-espoused: for thus Righteousness is pleased by unrighteousness (suffering in Hell, and unpaid sins);
- Justice, in "I", by forcing the "elect" to be "irresistably" saved, yet the non-elect to be "resistably" cast into the Lake of Fire;
- Love, in "P", by claiming God should choose WITHOUT considering the facts He foreknows would exist if He instead ordained freedom ("P").
You could cycle each Attribute itself through each letter of TULIP and see how that Attribute is maligned. If even only ONE Attribute were maligned by even only ONE letter in TULIP, the entire acronym would have to be reworked. As it stands, all the Attributes are maligned. God "comes off" as being very, very small. Some would say, even Satanic.
Such misrepresentation was ASSUREDLY NOT anyone's intention, just as it was not intended to neglect Bible verses which clearly contradict TULIP. Over the centuries, many folks have objected to the acronym on these grounds, yet the acronym has never been changed. One only hopes that sometime in this new century, some brave Calvinist will undertake a rewrite, so that God is no longer misrepresented by the acronym, and so Calvin is not maligned any longer.