First, you’re not wrong about Calvinists declaring God is determining all, the whole situation and outcome:
All events whatsoever are governed by the secret counsel of God.
- John Calvin in Institutes
I discuss Calvinist thinking on the general topic, and then apply it to your question: the answers to what was asked are in the second section. Finally, some words about what in Calvinism imo usually causes the balking.
Calvinist Take on The General Topic
In addition to references, we can reason out what other responses would likely be if consistent. Some less famous who havent faced the implications will dance around saying “No don’t put that on God” then “Yes He is sovereign” in a complex loop that avoids facing and addressing the issue. What I would call real Calvinists, who have faced all the implications and addressed all the questions, have something like layers:
Even though God created and predestined a sinful world, God then righteously rules it, post-creation, as love and truth and light. As a righteous God, He abhors sin. Calvinists stick to that, including especially His dealings with us after creation in both aspects (love and judgment). There is a kind of implied division between the Creator and Sovereign with Calvinism. So why did He do it?
Ultimately, as MacArthur and Spurgeon and Calvin often make explicit, all for Gods glory. Period.
Including MacArthur here: https://youtu.be/6LFzk1afiD8 If you ever wanted a picture of the glorious, awesome, dreadful, saved-assuring cosmos outlined by an unyielding neo-Calvinist, that talk of his on the problem of evil will do it. Creating in advance a situation with sinners where He will love them but will have be righteous and therefore judge them, and yet to mercifully provide a way out that some as He created them will take and some won’t... all for His glory.
Additional reasons for creation include 1. living through vessels made in His image, and 2. that they may glorify him too, and finally 3. the idea that we cannot really know the mind of God:
[Before creation, H]is all-sufficiency could spirit of no lack. Consider next, if ye can, the eternal purpose of God that he would create... He creates that he may display his own perfections. He does beget, as it were, creatures after his own image that he may live in them; that he may manifest to others the joy, the pleasure, the satisfaction, which he so intensely feels in himself. Certain I am his own glory must have been the end he had in view; he would reveal his glory to the sons of men, to angels, and to such creatures as he had formed, in order that they might reflect his honour and sing his praise.
- Charles Spurgeon, 1916, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
Applying that here: “makes a way out” could mean anyone seeking God’s will can escape. But some were designed and predestined such that they wouldn’t be seeking God’s will. But if they were, there would be a way out. So they were free to. But couldn’t due to Him, so kindve not free. This is the sense in which God provided a way out as I see that a Calvinist would answer.
Secondly.. a command which any God-seeking person could obey. “Could” if they had chosen to follow Christ, which they (in some sense) also “could” have done, as the offer is for all. But he made them such that they wouldn’t. Yes, it’s harsh. But fairness seems to presuppose free will. Am I being unfair to my hammer, or screwdriver? All for His purposes and glory.
This “liberty” is compatible with our being depraved, the servants of sin, able to do nothing but sin. In this way, then, man is said to have free will, not because he has a free choice of good and evil, but because he acts voluntarily, and not by compulsion. This is perfectly true: but why should so small a matter have been dignified with so proud a title [as “free will”]?
- John Calvin, On God’s Sovereignty
(To choose independently of their sinful nature requires divine intervention. I find this rings true. Calling that free will is indeed generous. Were you free before Christ?)
In Calvinism, the universe is about God not us. Any “real” Calvinist won’t (because he can’t) pretend it’s all roses. They often unofficially separate God’s creating from Him thereafter, but ultimately God created sinners to damn. Some upfront ones will say that in those words. The implication for us, come to the Cross. In practice we still function this way.
Romans 9:22 ESV
What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction
Key Points of Calvinism
This is mostly opinion about the challenges neo-Calvinism presents. Calvin himself didn’t run from them, but rarely discussed the trouble spots like those after him, “neo-Calvinists). He hammered home the hope and the opportunity.
One factor making Calvinism seem harsh might be naive and fanciful notions of omnipotence. God is God, hence in control of all. But what constraints are inherent in reality? Omnipotent not meaning He can make the truly impossible happen (eg literally and mathematically make 3+3=10 be true), or other constraints. He has all the power there is, that is obvious. Beyond that we cannot know what realities can or cannot actually be made even by the Omnipotent.
The fine-tuned universe discoveries show that coherent reality is inherently difficult, not inherently robust, and that a universe where anything meaningful could happen is already not just a challenge but a miracle: https://youtu.be/bc44f_3QfwE?t=122 (next minute or so, sans his conclusion about it)
With that understanding of omnipotent, the shaking of all things, creating a new heaven and earth, and whatever else He is up to, are not simple to pull-off where it can be done in any easy fashion, and perhaps it requires some unrepentant? Or something else we cannot know.
Much of the problem comes from eternal damnation. If we did not believe that, then this plan of God’s would not seem so bad. Much of the objection hinges on that. Destroying the unsaved after then being used in this drama to save and glorify and eternally love the regenerate is more palatable. There is a link in the comments about the extent of support for Annihilationism.
Romans 9:23 ESV
in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory
Sovereignty would then be much more palatable, but eternal damnation is part of Calvinism. The point is that Sovereignty and predetermination in and of themselves are obviously compatible with Annihilationism as well.
Humility makes it easier. Who am I judge Him?
Job 38:1-7 ESV
38 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
And it goes on for two chapters challenging Job about the process of creating and running the cosmos since he claims it should be done better.
The Almighty is maintaining a cogent universe, creating a new heaven and earth. Can we understand the mind of God? Dogmatic clinging to any interpretation seems overconfident.