[11-10-09 Note: In retrospect, the title of this post should be "Double Payment?," since there is a technical difference between that argument and "Double Jeopardy." Also, the reader should be sure to read the comments section of this post, since many other primary sources are quoted. Or one can click on the label "Double Payment" and see many of the references.]
I am weary of so many people repeating John Owen's double jeopardy arguments without thinking it through critically. Contrary to popular opinion among "Calvinists" (they are really more Owenic than Calvinistic), Owen's double payment argument has very serious problems. Here's one of my lastest online interactions:
Tony, I'm reading your arguments and the same problem of Double Jeapordy comes to mind with those who hold to unlimited atonement. If we take your arguements and interpretations as true (I'll agree that the word "world" by itself or even in some contexts allows for multiple definitions to be applied), then we have the problem of double jeapordy come up.
...if Jesus actually paid for the sins of everyone, you have double jeapordy if anyone suffers hell, as God exacted payment first from Jesus and THEN from the person. What is more incredible, I think, if it is a possibility for no one to have accepted Christ's sacrifice, then you have the Father exacting punishment on a perfectly just and holy person, this makes God unrighteous for punishing someone who did not break the law. For these reasons I never preach unlimited atonement, I preach Christ paid for the sins of believers.
You're confusing a pecuniary payment with a judicial satisfaction as R. L. Dabney, A. A. Hodge, W. G. T. Shedd and Charles Hodge seek to correct below.
1) If your position is correct, then on what basis are Christians subject to the wrath of God prior to faith? After all, your sins were paid for as one of the elect.
2) How then can God hold you subject to his wrath even as the others? Christ paid for your sins when he died.
3) What kind of double jeapordy is in your own system?
Do not deny that you, as one who professes to be one of the elect, are really subject to divine wrath and judgment prior to your faith. If you do so, then you're speaking contrary to scripture.
NKJ Ephesians 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Dabney, the Hodge's and Shedd, who were solid 5 point Calvinists themselves, have the solution. We must distinguish between a pecuniary and judicial satisfaction. Also, we must look at the covenantal nature of the satisfaction, i.e. there are important conditions and agreements in the terms of this judicial satisfaction or transaction(s).
R. L. Dabney says:
"Nor would we attach any force to the argument, that if Christ made penal satisfaction for the sins of all, justice would forbid any to be punished. To urge this argument surrenders virtually the very ground on which the first Socinian objection was refuted, and is incompatible with the facts that God chastises justified believers, and holds elect unbelievers subject to wrath till they believe. Christ’s satisfaction is not a pecuniary equivalent, but only such a one as enables the Father, consistently with His attributes, to pardon, if in His mercy He sees fit. The whole avails of the satisfaction to a given man is suspended on His belief. There would be no injustice to the man, if he remaining an unbeliever, his guilt were punished twice over, first in his Savior, and then in Him. See A. A. Hodge on Atonement, page 369."
A. A. Hodge says:
"5. The doctrine of the Reformed Church is that there is no limit whatsoever in the Redemption of the Lord Jesus except that which resides in the eternal purpose of God to save thereby the elect and none others. A divine person suffered the penalty due to human sin, and obeyed that law obedience to which was made the condition of man’s well-being. He did this because of his divinity exhaustively and without limit as to intrinsic sin-expiating and justice satisfying sufficiency. If the work itself, therefore, be viewed seperately from the intention (Tony's comment: I would qualify this like his father Charles Hodge does by saying "special intention") with which it was undertaken, it plainly stands indifferently related to the case of each and every man that ever lived and sinned. It is not a pecuniary solution of debt, which, ipso facto, liberates upon the mere payment of the money. It is a vicarious penal satisfaction, which can be admitted in any case only at the arbitrary discretion of the sovereign; and which may have a redemptive bearing upon the case of none, of few, of man, or of all; and upon the case of one and not of another, and upon the elect case at whatsoever time and upon whatsoever conditions are predetermined by the mutual understanding of the Sovereign and of the voluntary substitute. The relations of the Atonement as impersonal and general or as personal and definite do not spring from considerations of the degree, duration or kind of suffering or acts of vicarious obedience which Christ rendered, but solely from the purpose he had in rendering them."
A. A. Hodge, The Atonement (Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1867), 368–369.
W. G. T. Shedd says:
"Vicarious atonement without faith in it is powerless to save. It is not the making of this atonement, but the trusting in it, that saves the sinner: “By faith are you saved (Eph. 2:8 ); “he that believes shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). The making of this atonement merely satisfies the legal claims, and this is all that it does. If it were made but never imputed and appropriated, it would result in no salvation. A substituted satisfaction of justice without an act of trust in it would be useless to sinners. It is as naturally impossible that Christ’s death should save from punishment one who does not confide in it as that a loaf of bread should save from starvation a man who does not eat it. The assertion that because the atonement of Christ is sufficient for all men therefore no men are lost is as absurd as the assertion that because the grain produced in the year 1880 was sufficient to support the life of all men on the globe therefore no men died of starvation during that year. The mere fact that Jesus Christ made satisfaction for human sin, alone and of itself, will save no soul. Christ, conceivably, might have died precisely as he did and his death have been just as valuable for expiatory purposes as it is, but if his death had not been followed with the work of the Holy Spirit and the act of faith on the part of individual men, he would have died in vain. Unless his objective work is subjectively appropriated, it is useless so far as personal salvation is concerned. Christ’s suffering is sufficient to cancel the guilt of all men and in its own nature completely satisfies the broken law. But all men do not make it their own atonement by faith in it by pleading the merit of it in prayer and mentioning it as the reason and ground of their pardon. They do not regard and use it as their own possession and blessing. It is nothing for them but a historical fact. In this state of things, the atonement of Christ is powerless to save. It remains in the possession of Christ who made it and has not been transferred to the individual. In the scriptural phrase, it has not been “imputed.” There may be a sum of money in the hands of a rich man that is sufficient in the amount to pay the debts of a million debtors; but unless they individually take money from his hands into their own, they cannot pay their debts with it. There must be a personal act of each debtor in order that this sum of money on deposit may actually extinguish individual indebtedness. Should one of the debtors, when payment is demanded of him, merely say that there is an abundance of money on deposit, but take no steps himself to get it and pay it to his creditor, he would be told that an undrawn deposit is not a payment of a debt. “The act of God,” says Owen (Justification, chap. 10), “in laying our sins on Christ, conveyed no title to us to what Christ did and suffered. This doing and suffering is not immediately by virtue thereof ours or esteemed ours; because God has appointed something else [namely, faith] not only antecedent thereto, but as the means of it.” (See supplement 6.2.7)
The supposition that the objective satisfaction of justice by Christ saved of and by itself, without any application of it by the Holy Spirit and without any trust in it by the individual man, overlooks the fact that while sin has a resemblance to a pecuniary debt, as is taught in the petition “forgive our debts,” it differs from it in two important particulars. In the instance of pecuniary indebtedness, there is no need of a consent and arrangement on the part of the creditor when there is a vicarious payment. Any person may step up and discharge a money obligation for a debtor, and the obligation ceases ipso facto. But in the instance of moral indebtedness to justice or guilt, there must be a consent of the creditor, namely, the judge, before there can be a substitution of payment. Should the Supreme Judge refuse to permit another person to suffer for the sinner and compel him to suffer for his own sin, this would be just. Consequently, substitution in the case of moral penalty requires a consent and covenant on the part of God, with conditions and limitations, while substitution in the case of a pecuniary debt requires no consent, covenant, or limitations. Second, after the vicarious atonement has been permitted and provided, there is still another condition in the case, namely, that the sinner shall confess and repent of the sin for which the atonement was made and trust in the atonement itself."
W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology (Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing 2003), 726–727.
Again, Shedd says:
"Supplement 6.2.7The expiation of sin is distinguishable from the pardon of it. The former, conceivably, might take place and the latter not. When Christ died on Calvary, the whole mass, so to speak, of human sin was expiated merely by that death; The claims of law and justice for the sins of the whole world were satisfied by the “offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10); but the sins of every individual man were not forgiven and “blotted out” by this transaction. Still another transaction was requisite in order to this, namely, the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sinner working faith in this expiatory offering and the declarative act of God saying “your sin is forgiven you.” The Son of God, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, “sat down on the right hand of God” (10:12); but if the redeeming work of the Trinity had stopped at this point, not a soul of mankind would have been pardoned and justified, yet the expiatory value of the “one sacrifice” would have been just the same."
Shedd, Dogmatic Theology (Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing 2003), 758.
Read what Charles Hodge said as well. This is why I posted him.
Some of those who are holding to a strictly limited atonement are not adequately studying the issues. They are picking up Owen's arguments through popular Calvinistic books, and no one is questioning the assumptions and reasoning processes. It's a major problem among those who adhere to the doctrines of grace. If you think that the Arminian resistance to the doctrines of grace is strong and persistent, then I dare you to try to correct the unbiblical and bad thinking among the High Calvinists. It's at least as bad.
For critical comments on Owen's Triple Choice argument, go to Chambers on "Unbelief as a Sin Atoned For"
A brief word of clarification:
I am not associating High Calvinism with 5 point Calvinism necessarily. I would say that those who hold the L in the strict sense are high, but not every 5 point Calvinist holds the strict view of L in TULIP. Not every 5 pointer holds to a STRICTLY LIMITED atonement view. Those that do I am calling "High." There are other ingredients that go along with High Calvinism, but this strict view is one of them. This strict view is built on limited imputation assumptions, i.e. that only the sins of the elect were imputed to Christ when he died. The High Calvinist thinks that Christ only bore a legal relationship to the elect when he died because his work is exclusively filtered through the grid of the covenant of redemption. This is called limited imputation.
One may be a 5 pointer and not agree with the strictly limited/Owenic view. I am of this variety (even though some of the strict advocates will seek to bias the discussion and call me a "4 pointer" of some sort). Others at the Synod of Dort held my views, but there were differences of opinion present (High's and Low's etc.). However, all were in agreement that the Remonstrants were wrong, and the delegates all signed the Canons.
UPDATE: I've posted many more relavent quotes in the comment section, so be sure to read those.