Psalm 33 does Not teach Calvinism

‘Calvinist James White insists that his deterministic Calvinism is unquestionably outlined in such passages as Psalm 33, that free will does not exist, and that God has exhaustively and meticulously decreed, rendered certain, and brings into reality whatever occurs. Other Calvinists assume the same from reading Job, that free will does not exist, and that God has exhaustively and meticulously decreed, rendered certain, and brings into reality whatever occurs. If both claims are true, then we have explicit contradictions among the Hebrew prophets, notably Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Hosea, to name a few, neither of whom espouse hard determinism nor any semblance of a notion that free will is a farce. Do the Psalmist and Job contradict the prophets?

The Psalmist begins his song by extolling the LORD and calling on His people to praise Him, noting that praise is “becoming to the upright” (Ps. 33:1 NASB), thus praise is befitting because “the word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.” (Ps. 33:4, 5, emphasis added) God, again, loves righteousness and justice. This is of paramount significance. The Psalmist continues glorifying the LORD for His creativity and His providence (Ps. 33:6, 7, 8). The sovereignty of God is rightly defended here: “For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” (Ps. 33:9) Created order bespeaks of God’s omnipotence and sovereignty — He rules over all the earth, the seas, and “all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (Ps. 33:8).

God, every moment, “looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men” (Ps. 33:13, 14). No creature can hide from God’s gaze (cf. Heb. 4:13). God “fashions the hearts of them all” and “understands all their works” (Ps. 33:15). Mortals are to place all their hope in the LORD and not in a mighty army, the great strength of a warrior, nor the grandeur of a great horse (Ps. 33:16, 17). Here at v. 17, having only five verses from the end of this song, we have yet to encounter White’s exhaustive determinism; for the statement insisting that the counsel of the LORD stands forever, “the plans of His heart from generation to generation” (Ps. 33:11), does not actually say enough: the verse does not suggest that God has decreed, rendered certain and brings into reality the thoughts, words, and decisions of each individual. If that is not troubling then we fail to understand why. Exactly what exegetical method renders James White exhaustive determinism from this text?

Perhaps we will engage meticulous determinism in the final five verses:

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You. (Ps. 33:18, 19, 20, 21, 22 NASB)
If you are surprised that the Psalmist fails to expound upon or defend James White’s and the Calvinist’s exhaustive, meticulous, divine determinism then you are not alone. Astonishingly, White then chides the Society of Evangelical Arminians on Twitter for not considering Psalm 33 as propagating exhaustive determinism, stating: “I love Psalm 33 … I got into a little Twitter war with the Evangelical Arminians … and I even said to them that Psalm 33 is such a glorious refutation of what you’re saying, because, there in the Psalm, you read ‘Man plans this’ and ‘Man intends to do this’ and the very next verse says ‘But God’s plans are going to be what’s established’ and ‘God’s intentions are going to be what happens’ and ‘Man’s [plans] are frustrated.’ God does away with them.” (link) The Psalmist merely insists that the counsel of God stands forever — and does not mention all that is included in such counsel — as well as the plans of God’s heart throughout all generations. Just read the words for yourself and determine if the Psalmist mentions God exhaustively and meticulously decreeing, rendering certain and necessary, and bringing to fruition the thoughts, words, and decisions of His creatures.’

source: Will Birch, “James White, Twitter, and God decreeing Evil” (williambirch).