Everything is about God in one way shape or form. So my biggest problem with Edwards’ arguments regards the nature of God.
Outline of Edwards’ Arguments About the Necessity of God’s Will – Part IV.VII
- Arminians say that if God doesn’t have LFW, God is stuck in fate.
- The Arminian argument is based on the idea that LFW is a good thing, but acting according to nature is not disadvantageous – especially in God’s case where His nature is perfect.
- The sovereignty of God is in His ability and authority to do as He pleases. His power is infinite and His authority supreme.
- His will is not dependent on anything outside Himself, but it is determined by His infinite wisdom.
- God’s wisdom determines His will to what is most wise. Otherwise God is unwise, which is unworthy of God.
- Arminians themselves say God cannot choose contrary to the fitness of things due to His wisdom.
- If the fitness of things necessitating God’s actions doesn’t detract from His glory, neither does it detract from His freedom.
#6 doesn’t mean God doesn’t have LFW, but rather that He can choose between good options, as has been discussed here. #5 has a similar resolution – God’s options are equivalant (none of them being best), so He can choose between them.
The Real Problem
Here Calvinism may diverge from “Edwardsianism”. Edwardsianism contends that since LFW is illogical, God doesn’t have LFW. Calvinists could simply say LFW is logical, and God has it, but man does not. But if LFW is logical, most of Edwards’ arguments fall.
Denying God’s LFW conflicts with His Omnipotence, sovereignty and goodness.
If Edwards is right, God can’t choose anything other than what He will choose. But scripture says God is able to make children of Abraham out of stones (which God didn’t do) and that Christ was able to ask the Father for angels (which He didn’t do). These are positive statements about God’s abilities, not just denials of man’s ability to stop God. Scripture further declares that with God all things are possible. If Edwarsianism is true, God cannot do these things.
Edwardsians speak of God’s sovereignty in terms of unconditional election and God’s predetermination of all things. They also use scriptural language, stating God predestines us and governs the world. Is this consistent with Edwards’ notation that “the fitness of things” necessitates God’s actions, such that God is unable to choose otherwise? No. Edwardsians speak inconsistently about sovereignty. If “the fitness of things” precedes (both logically and temporally) God’s actions and necessitates all things including God’s actions, such that God cannot do anything about it, God is not sovereign in either the scriptural or Edwardsian sense.
Since “the fitness of things” is not God, and they determine God’s actions, this undermines God’s aseity as well. But to give Edwards the benefit of the doubt, we will assume for him that the fitness of things arises from God’s nature, which leads to the next problem.
Scripture declares God is good, not just in His actions, but also in His nature. But if His nature makes evil necessary, and He is unable to avoid evil, what does that say about His nature?