Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over…
Please click on the link to view Albert Taylor Bledsoe, Examination of President Edwards’ Inquiry Into the Freedom of the Will (1845). Bledsoe’s takeout of Edward’s argument seems accurate.
Wesleyan-Armininan Daniel Denison Whedon’s response to Jonathan Edwards’ The Freedom of the Will is wonderful; both complete and acurate. (link) [This links to the original book available for free viewing or download.] The book has…
Over and over and over again I am told that I do not truly believe that God is sovereign. Sure, I think I believe it, but God cannot really be sovereign if He doesn’t minutely…
In his book Primitive Theology, John Gerstner, in the chapter entitled “A Primer on Free Will,” writes, “Dear reader, you have in your hands a booklet entitled A Primer on Free Will. I don’t know you, but I know a good deal about you. One thing I know is that you did not pick up this book of your own free will.
“You have picked it up and have started to read it, and now continue to read it, because you must do so. There is absolutely no possibility, you being the kind of person you are, that you would not be reading this book at this time.”1
So, at the outset today, let me also say to you, dear reader, I do not know you, but I do know some things about you. One thing I know is that you did in fact choose to visit this site of your own free will.
In his blogpost on The Absolute Sovereignty of God, John Piper recalls a time in seminary when his notion of free will was challenged. According to Piper, this experience was one of “two experiences in…
In part 2 section 12, Edwards attempts three demonstrations of the incompatibility of LFW and God’s foreknowledge: 1) based on the connection between foreknowledge and the event, 2) based on the impossibility of knowing things without evidence and 3) based on knowing a contingent event with certainty.
The Connection between Foreknowledge and the Event
P1: Things in the past are now necessary
P2: In the past, God infallibly foreknew our future choices
C1: therefore, God’s foreknowledge of our future choices is now necessary
P3: if something necessary is infallibly connected with something else, that something else is also necessary
P4: God’s necessary foreknowledge is infallibly connected with our future choices
C2: therefore, our future choices are necessary
Outline of Edwards’ Arguments in Part III.IV Commands inconsistent with LFW God commands the acts of the will, not the acts of the body executing the will’s commands. If there’s a sequence of acts of…
Outline of Edwards Arguments in part V.I Arminians say if something causally predetermines our choices, we are not responsible. But responsibility is not the cause of choices, it’s in the nature of choices If responsibility…
Edwards’ arguments in part V.III and part V.IV Edwards splits necessity into two categories: natural and moral. Natural necessity relates to our actions, moral necessity relates to our wills. If an act is naturally necessary,…
The discussion concerning God’s sovereignty usually spurs more arguments than decent dialogue. Place a Calvinist and an Arminian in a room to discuss God’s sovereignty and an hour later nothing was settled except the agreement…
One of the questions we invariably get from Determinists is “But HOW does God know the future??” Determinists often seize upon the difficulty of understanding God’s knowledge, and insist that if God didn’t cause the future, then He could not have known it. Besides being a rather silly stretch, this claim requires several unfounded assumptions about the nature of God.
The Basic Views
Now before I jump in any deeper, let’s define what the major views of God’s knowledge in relation to free will are (this is just a basic list, variations of these views exist):
1. Determinism: God determines absolutely all that will be, making absolute foreknowledge trivial. There is no such things as libertarian free will, and our choices cannot be otherwise.
Affirms foreknowledge, but has the very unfortunate side-effect of making absolutely everything that occurs the will of God, and possibly essential to His nature, as we’ll touch on below.
“Consider the words of Christ to the church at Thyatria [sic.] concerning the prominent woman referred to as ‘Jezebel’ and His servants, who were practicing immorality and pagan customs, doubtless in a religious context after the manner of the cults:
“I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not. Behold I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Rev. 2:20-22)”
This post completes our series on Ralston’s defense of the Arminian belief in self-determinism. This is the grand finale where Ralston tackles the favorite argument against free-will, the doctrine of motives as presented primarily by…
Thomas Ralston now begins to examine and respond to various objections posed by “necessitarians” against the Arminian view of self-determinism. My comments are in bold print.
WE propose in this chapter, to examine some of the principal objections which have been urged against the view taken in the preceding chapter of the freedom of the will. Those most worthy of notice are the following, viz.:
I. It is said to be absurd in itself.
II. It is said to be irreconcilable with the Scripture account of the divine prescience.
III. It is said to conflict with the doctrine of motives.
We propose a respectful attention to each of these grand objections.
I. It is alleged that the view we have taken of the proper freedom of the will is absurd in itself.
Thomas Ralston now concludes his positive arguments in favor of self-determinism. My comments are in bold print.
(4) In conclusion, upon this part of the subject, we think it proper briefly to notice the absurdity of attempting to reconcile the doctrines of necessity with the proper freedom and accountability of man.
Ralston continues with his defense of free moral agency from Scripture. My comments are in bold print.
(2) In the next place, the Scriptures everywhere address man as a being capable of choosing; as possessing a control over his own volitions, and as being held responsible for the proper exercise of that control.
In Deuteronomy 30:19, we read: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” And in Joshua 24:15: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” Now, to choose is to determine or fix the will; but men are here called upon to choose for themselves, which, upon the supposition that their will is, in all cases, fixed necessarily by antecedent causes beyond their control, is nothing better than solemn mockery.
Thomas Ralston begins his appeal to Scripture with his third evidence for self-determinism in his Elements of Divinity. My comments are in bold print.
3. Our third evidence of man’s proper free agency is founded upon the divine administration toward him, as exhibited in the Holy Scriptures.
Here we shall perceive that revelation beautifully harmonizes with nature; and those clear and decisive evidences of our free agency, which, as we have seen, are derived from experience and observation, are abundantly confirmed by the book of God.
We continue with Ralston’s second argument for self-determinism from his Elements of Divinity. My comments are in bold print.
2. Our next argument for the self-determining power of the mind over the will is founded upon the history of the world in general.
We now continue with Ralston’s defense of free will from his Elements of Divinity. My comments are in bold print.
II. We proceed now to consider some of the leading arguments by which the free moral agency of man, as briefly defined above, is established.
1.We rely upon our own consciousness.