In Dunn’s article, A Discourse on the Freedom of the Will he dispatches Jonathan Edwards two main arguments in a quick and decisive manor. He responds to Edwards’ cause of a volition dilemma (infinite regression of causes or causeless cause) by pointing out that Edwards begs the question regarding the definition and nature of causes and that his argument undermines God’s freedom. Following Edwards’ principles, Dunn argues: therefore there never was a divine volition without a pre-existing motive. Hence there was a time when there was no force in the universe, but the force of motive; and when there either was no God, or else no active God. If we take one horn of the dilemma, and say there was a God, but a God without volition, and consequently without activity or character, we have the Pantheist’s God. If we take the other, and affirm that previous to volition there was no intelligent God, we have the God of the Atheist. In either case, the universe presents but a vast blind machine, driven by fate through the immensity ,of space and duration.
Dunn counters Edwards claim that Calvinism explains how God knows the future and Arminianism does not, by stating God is infinite, filling all space, and even filling all duration, there, can be no object or evidence between him and the object or fact known. God knows the future directly, not indirectly by way of predetermining it or any other mediating factor.
Dunn also address the practical implications of Calvinism, point out that is it not universally known, that in their efforts for changing the hearts and characters of men–for promoting morality and religion, they leave entirely out of sight their peculiar views upon this question, and address themselves to common sense and common consciousness… Does not this fact go to show most conclusively, that our opponents themselves have no confidence in the practical influence of their doctrine, and especially when any great practical interest is at stake?
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