A Calvinist who believes in freewill

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by dwmoeller1, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. dwmoeller1

    dwmoeller1
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    I am what one would commonly call a "Calvinist". Yet I believe in free will. How? Here is my line of reasoning:

    1. Assumption: If man has free will as a moral good, then God also has free will. It would be absurd to insist on free will for man and deny it to God.
    2. Assertion: God has free will.
    3. Assertion: God cannot sin. God cannot lie.
    4. Conclusion: Since God has free will and God cannot freely choose among all moral options, then 'free will' must be modified by something. If God has free will, then 'free will' cannot logically be defined in terms of the ability to choose without reference to anything from all moral options.
    5. Assertion: If God cannot freely choose from all moral options, then His free will must be informed by something other than simply the will.
    6. Assertion: There is nothing higher than God which might restrict or inform His free will. God Himself does not restrict His freewill by choice (otherwise, to say that God *cannot* lie has no real meaning).
    7. Conclusion: God free will then must be informed by the nature of God Himself. God's own nature informs the actions of His will.
    8. Assertion: Yet God can still whatever He wants. Thus His nature and His desire to choose must be in perfect conjunction at all times.
    9. Definition: Thus, the best Scriptural definition of free will must be "The ability to choose, without compulsion, whatever one desires."

    10. Assertion: Cists would all agree that God does not compel any man against their will to choose or reject anything.

    Therefore, if free will is defined Scripturally, then there is no conflict between it and Cism. What Cism would reject is more properly defined as libertarian will - will that chooses without reference to anything.
     
  2. reformedbeliever

    reformedbeliever
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    I completely agree. I would rather use the word moral agency. Free will is not consistent. There is not much free about our will.
     
  3. skypair

    skypair
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    I think you try to limit God, thereby limiting His free will when, in fact, it is God who limits Himself. If man were like God, then, man's free will would be only self-limited which is to say he has choices that, to him, he would in no wise take -- like suicide. He would be free to commit suicide but wouldn't do it, right? That doesn't limit his freedom to do so.

    As to your "definition" of "free will" -- you can't put "compulsion" into the definition and say it is free anymore so why try to redefine it with an oxymoron?

    I like what you say about God's own nature informing His actions. That's half of the equation. The other half is His "foreknowledge." :D Or in man's case, KNOWLEDGE gained by hearing!

    And finally, if there is "no reference to anything," then there are, by definition, no choices to freely or to be compelled to choose. That wouldn't lead to any defintion of "free will" -- that would be "unintended will" or some such! :laugh:

    skypair
     
    #3 skypair, Feb 15, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2007
  4. Andy T.

    Andy T.
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    I essentially agree with the OP. I think this is the same argument used by Edwards in Freedom of the Will.
     
  5. npetreley

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    I only partly agree with the OP. The Bible is packed with statements that God directs what men do, both in general, and in specific instances such as Ezekiel 38:

    How can anyone read free will into something like "[I will] put hooks in your jaws and bring you out...". I don't care of anyone claims the chief prince, who God is against, is evil to begin with (aren't we all?), and the fact that he's evil is why why God is going to escalate His behavior (the old "he's already hardened his heart, God is just making it harder" argument"). There's no question from this text that God is going to manipulate this person almost like a puppet to accomplish God's purpose.

    I totally disagree with the response that God limits Himself. God cannot lie because God is truth, not because God has to restrain Himself from lying. God cannot sin because it is a logical contradiction, since sin is to disobey God. God cannot disobey Himself. It's not because God has to limit his ability to sin.
     
  6. dwmoeller1

    dwmoeller1
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    It is totally free in that it is not compelled by any outside source. One can freely, in every sense of the word, choose whatever one desires to choose. That the will is informed by the desires and nature should be self-evident. I have no problem with using 'free will' as long as it is defined properly. Of course, most non-Cists have stolen the term and use it equivocally.

    Personally I think Cists should emphasize more often the freedom of the will - the fact that the will is in no way coerced by God and that everyone chooses the thing(s) they desire.
     
  7. dwmoeller1

    dwmoeller1
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    First of all, lets be extremely clear...*I* do not limit God - Scripture does. It is Scripture which says God *cannot* lie. I merely reason from this fact. If you wish to argue that God limits Himself, I invite you to bring forth the Scripture which supports this while dealing with the fact that it also says that God *cannot* sin. Granted, if one is not will to take this statement about God at face value, then my logic falls apart.

    Now, as to self-limitation in terms of the will, I partly agree with you. However, you miss the larger picture. Lets say, for instance, that I hate eating spinach above all else. Do I have the power to reach out, take spinach and eat it? If we limit the sense of power to simply that which I am physically capable of doing, then certainly. So up to this point we are agreed. However, do I have the ability to FREELY reach out take the spinach and eat it? No, I certainly don't - not if I truly hate eating spinach above all else. So, while in once sense I have the ability to eat spinach as an action of free will, when it comes down to it I don't have the ability to *freely* choose to eat spinach.

    Therefore, it becomes perfectly accurate to say that I *cannot* make certain choices without violating free will NOR being self-limited in my choices. Certainly, God does self-limit His choices in some sense - He could justly choose destroy us all this next minute, but He chooses not to because it serves His purpose. This is not the case however when it comes to not sinning and not lying, etc. Those are statements of His nature, not of His self-limitation.

    ?? I defined free will as being *without* compulsion.

    Agreed. Only the madman makes decisions without reference to his nature or desires. Thus the downfall of libertarian will and the proper definition as I give it.
     
  8. dwmoeller1

    dwmoeller1
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    I agree that God directs what men do. However, what I don't find is any reference to His directing men by compelling their will. In all cases, men freely choose, without compulsion of the will, that which they desire.

    Manipulation of the person and compulsion of the will are two different things. That God 'manipulates' men is true - He is, after all, the one who brings all circumstances to pass in the manner they do. So, yes, God, by virtue of allowing/causing some things to happen and others to not, restricts and defines the sorts of choices men must make, BUT men still make the resulting choices based upon what *they* want and not upon what God compells them to do.

    So, in human terms for example, if I want you to select option X, but know that you might also choose option Z but would never choose option Y, then I can manipulate you into selecting option X by offering the choice of option Y or X (but not Z). Did I violate your free will or compell you against your will to select option X?

    Does that answer your question?
     
  9. Allan

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    I an not a Calvinist and yet...
    I agree as well. Free will conjures up in the minds of some the wrong idea. Most free-willers/free-willies (as we are so quaintly called) do not hold to the conotation that most Calvinists define it as (libertarian will). We are responsible for the choices God sets before us. Romans 1 - they rejected the truths God revealed and turned them into corruptness - and God gave them over...

    God by revealing truth to them, gave them choices (accept or reject) and thereby became the cause of whatever the outcome He knew they would accent to - God iis causitive in this manner by. (God directing their steps)

    Man being held responsible to his choices decides what to do with the revealed truth (accept or reject) and thereby devises his path.

    Prov 16:9
     
  10. dwmoeller1

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    Understood. Myself though I can't stand how 'free-willers' use the term free-will so ambiguously - as 'libertarian' when they explain their position but then as 'free-will' when they beat the Cists over the head with it. I find it much better to force them to clearly define what they mean by free-will and then argue from that basis. Why have to explain a 'new' term to them to defend my position when they won't bother to clearly define an 'old' term they have hijacked for their purposes?

    In my mind, the first and primary issue is not whether we have free-will or not, but what free-will actually means. ...But thats just me :)
     
  11. johnp.

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    1 Sam 15:29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind."

    1KI 22:23 "So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you."

    He gets others to do it for Him. :)

    2 Thess 2:11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. :)

    The only thing the will is free from is you. :) It might be free but you haven't got control of it it is in control of you. Unless you are controlled by the Spirit of God you are controlled by your fallen nature and it's desires. Romans 8:5-8.

    Gal 5:17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

    With a God who shares Sovereignty?

    john.
     
  12. AAA

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    I like how you freely admit this, because as you say: "Therefore, if free will is defined Scripturally, then there is no conflict between it and Cism. What Cism would reject is more properly defined as libertarian will - will that chooses without reference to anything."

    Every Calvinist that I have talked to believes in a "free will" doctrine, but many of them deny that they believe in it, even though they really do...It is how it is defined: on the basis of scripture or libertarian..........

    May God bless you.
     

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