This is part 7 of the thirteen part series in response to Jay Dyer. The previous part may be found here (link).
Jay Dyer says:
6) “[A consistent Calvinist must be] A pagan, in that the Father can damn the Son of His love in wrath, splitting the Trinity: something more akin to Zeus.”
a) The Calvinist Position (whether right doctrine or error let Scripture decide)
The Father that spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all, shall also freely give us all things (Romans 8:32). This was no pagan sacrifice, but a fulfilment of the pious type (“type” in the sense of “shadow”) that Abraham provided by offering up Isaac his son (Hebrews 11:17-19). Jesus was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted (Isaiah 53:4) and it pleased the LORD to bruise him, to put him to grief, and to make him an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10). Nevertheless, God did not utterly forsake him, but raised him up on the third day when the work to obtain our justification was complete (Romans 4:25).
b) The Accusation Disputed
There’s really nothing similar to Zeus here. Zeus did not offer his onlybegotten son as a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice. Zeus was generally placated with animal sacrifices and gifts to his temples and priests. Zeus’ intra-familial intrigues are doubtless too numerous to mention, but it is mostly absurd to compare them to Christ’s work.
Consistent Calvinists would generally limit the analogy to Zeus to that provided by Paul himself, who quoted from this hymn to Zeus:
“They fashioned a tomb for thee, O holy and high one—
the Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!
But thou art not dead: thou livest and abidest forever,
for in thee we live and move and have our being.”
(cf. Titus 1:12 and Acts 17:28). That is the extent that Calvinists (being followers of Paul and Christ) compare their true and living God to the false idol of Zeus. Zeus (like all the other false gods) is a cheap imitation and a dumb idol, the LORD is the true and living God.
c) The Accusation Redirected
Sadly, the view of Christ’s sacrifice in Catholicism seems to be closer to paganism’s view of sacrifice than to that of the Bible. I say “seems” because one finds differing explanations within Catholicism, even today. The pagans wrongly viewed the sacrifice in terms of creating merit – so that sacrificing 100 bulls would be more pleasing than just 1. Likewise, Catholicism has (from time to time) superstitiously said large numbers of masses with a similar purpose, seemingly, of trying to produce a greater influence than could be achieved once for all. Scripture, in contrast, teaches a once-for-all sacrifice of Christ that is complete, and that is remembered, not repeated or continued in the Lord’s supper.
We see similar pagan influences in Catholicism in the use of icons and statues in worship. We also see pagan influences (more or less clear) in other aspects of Catholicism, from the treatment of Mary as a virtual goddess, to the treatment of the saints as a virtual pantheon of lesser deities – even to the selection of some feast days apparently (and I say “apparently” because this claim is disputed) to correspond to the pagan feast days. Others have noted apparent pagan influence in the vestments of the Roman clergy. Even the title “Pontifex Maximus” has its origins in Roman paganism.