Edwards on Responsibility

, posted by Godismyjudge

Outline of Edwards Arguments in part V.I

  1. Arminians say if something causally predetermines our choices, we are not responsible.
  2. But responsibility is not the cause of choices, it’s in the nature of choices
  3. If responsibility is in the cause of choices, we search through an infinite regression of causes, and nothing is ever responsible.

My Response
Point 1 is close, but not quite accurate. While our actions can be predetermined, our choices cannot be. Choice cannot be predetermined, else it’s not choice. Predeterminism leaves us with only one possible action, but choice requires alternatives (i.e. more than one). A “predetermined choice” is self-contradictory, implying we can choose something we can’t choose. So we think Calvinists are inconsistent for saying we can choose.

Also, Arminians agree that we are responsible for our choices. Even though we deny we are responsible for things we are causally predetermined to do, we are not saying responsibility lies in the cause of choices, and not choices themselves.

Part of a Critique of Jonathan Edwards’ Enquire into the Will at Arminian Chronicles.