Limited Atonement in Islam and Calvinism
Updated: Jan 28, 2020
In the five points of Calvinism, the doctrine of Limited Atonement (the 'L' in TULIP) causes the most emotional reaction and controversy. This is because it is natural for people, no matter if they believe in any religion or not, to refuse to believe in a god who would choose to send people to Hell before they had ever been born because it makes God out to be a spiritual abortionist. Both Calvinism and Islam preach this doctrine in their sources.
Limited Atonement: the belief that when God created the world, he chose to only predestine some people in His creation to eternal life, while choosing that the others should burn in Hell of all eternity. He does not offer his mercy to everybody. Within groups that are Christian in name, they believe that Jesus didn't die for everyone's sins, but only for the chosen ones.
The Calvinist and Islamic View of Limited Atonement
When comparing Calvinism and Islam regarding this topic, we must first address how each religion explains non-deity non-human entities. In Calvinism, they adopt the Christian view by calling them angels or demons, with demons sometimes being called fallen angels. In Islam, there are angels and there are jinn. These beings are put into separate categories. Therefore, when speaking of limited atonement, we will only be focusing on the human aspect that is shared in both religions.
(Calvinism) The Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.3 Sec.3: "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death."
(Calvinism) The Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.3 Sec.4: "These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished."
(Calvinism) The Institutes By John Calvin Book 3 Ch.21 Para.7: "Although it is now sufficiently plain that God by his secret counsel chooses whom he will while he rejects others, his gratuitous election has only been partially explained until we come to the case of single individuals, to whom God not only offers salvation but so assigns it, that the certainty of the result remains not dubious or suspended."
(Islam) Quran 11:118-119 Abdel Haleem Translation: "118 If your Lord had pleased, He would have made all people a single community, but they continue to have their differences- 119 except those on whom your Lord has mercy- for He created them to be this way, and the word of your Lord is final, 'I shall definitely fill Hell with both jinn and men.'"
(Islam) Quran 7:179 Abdel Haleem Translation: "179 We have created many jinn and people who are destined for Hell, with hearts they do not use for comprehension, eyes they do not use for sight, ears they do not use for hearing. They are like cattle, no, even further astray: these are the ones who are entirely heedless."
(Islam) Quran 10:99-100 Abdel Haleem Translation: "99 Had your Lord willed, all the people on earth would have believed. So can you [Prophet] compel them to believe? 100 No soul can believe except by God's will, and he brings disgrace on those who do not use their reason."
Refuting Calvinism and Islam's View of Limited Atonement
The true Jesus Christ of the Bible paid the price for the sins of every person who has ever existed and ever will exist, showing that the atonement for sins was not limited. This is because the true God of the Bible is a God of love and a God of forgiveness regarding salvation. He wants everyone to be saved and obtain eternal life.
(True Christianity) John 3:16 King James Version: "16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
(True Christianity) 1 John 2:1-2 King James Version: "1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
(True Christianity) Isaiah 53:4-6 King James Version: "4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
(True Christianity) 1 Timothy 2:5-6 King James Version: "5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
We see in 2 Peter 2 that even the sins of the false prophets were paid for, but they are not saved because they believe damnable heresies. The truth is that a person is either saved or unsaved based on what they choose to believe.
(True Christianity) 2 Peter 2:1 King James Version: "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
The doctrine of limited atonement has been the most easily debunked of the five points of Calvinism because of its direct attack on the Gospel. Limited atonement preaches "another Jesus," a Jesus who didn't die for everybody. Therefore, those who believe it and preach it are not saved.
This post is part of the series The Hard Truth About Calvinism and Islam under The Five Points of Calvinism in Islam
Calvinism and Islam Compared: Total Depravity
Calvinism and Islam Compared: Unconditional Election
Calvinism and Islam Compared: Irresistible Grace