"Freedom of the Will"

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Ray Berrian, Jun 11, 2002.

  1. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    "A Companion To The Study Of St. Augustine"
    Edited by Ray W. Battenhouse
    Oxford University Press

    Introduction "Significance of St. Augustine" by Daniel D. Williams

    p. 4 ‘In the medieval period St. Anselm and Aquainas directly depended upon him. (Augustine) In the Protestant Reformation Luther and Calvin reaffirmed Augustinian concepts of God and of man's need for His grace.'

    p.8 ‘Martin Luther, it is important to recall, was a monk in the Augustinian order. He came a long way toward his even more radical doctrine of grace through his training in the thoughts of Augustine.'

    ‘Divine grace upholds and fulfills a right use of freedom; it does not destroy freedom.'

    ‘Pelagius was first to brake away from Augustinian Catholicism. He was a native of Wales and was attached to a monastery at Bangor. (He was a monk there) His book, was the "Defense of the Freedom of the Will" and he also believed in Divine activity. He made theoretical statements but failed to include references to God and laid stress upon human volution.'

    ‘Only freedom of the will has a basis for authentic moral experience and endeavor.'

    Ray's comment: If we do not have freedom of the will we cannot be held accountable by Almighty God because we would no longer be human.

    Three Claims For Pelagius' Position

    1. ‘The nature of willing had to do with the power and possibility of choice.'

    2. ‘There is no denial of the grace of God and the saving grace of Christ in this view of freedom of the will.'

    3. ‘Only on his position could the ways of God with men be comprehended. If man could never of his own and natural freedom choose to do God's will, then the mysteries of God's Being and of His redemptive purpose was reduced to arbitrariness. And this would mean that God was ultimately incalculable and could not be depended upon at all.'

    Ray's comment: If we were human robots controlled autocratically by God, He would not have given us the intellectual power of discrimination. If we did not have the freedom of the will and choice we could not comprehend the mandates and alternatives designed in the claims of the Gospel.

    Apparently, God believes in our freedom of the will as noted in John 3:18. 'He that believeth on Him is not condemned; {notice the choice} but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.'
     
  2. EPH 1:4

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    JOHN 1:11-13
    He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
    But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
    Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, but of God.
    How hard is this to understand? Steve
     
  3. Nelson

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    Steve, from my perspective this is not at all hard to understand.

    What is being contemplated here is not man’s free will but his independent will; it is man determining his own methods for salvation apart from proper recourse to and utter dependence upon God.

    It is the attitude of mind that says, “I am a Christian because that is who I am;” or, a priest conferring a “blessing” on his baptismal candidate, after having sprinkled water on him saying, “You are now a Christian.”

    I think Ray's comment here is very enlightening: "If we do not have freedom of the will...we would no longer be human." I have come to that same conclusion. The Calvinistic definition of free will as that exercised within the confines of our nature is misleading and falls short of, what I believe, is its Biblical presentation.
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    Is God's "free will" different than man's?
     
  5. Nelson

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    Is God Himself different from man?

    [ June 12, 2002, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: Nelson ]
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Is God Himself different from man?
    </font>[/QUOTE]How is this an answer to my question?

    The answer is yes, but the volitional aspect of man is a part of the image of God man and therefore, there is a great similarity. Non personal beings (such as animal) do not share the volitional aspect of existence. They act out of instinct, not self objectivity or rational thought.

    So the question remains, Is God's free will different than man's is?
     
  7. Daniel David

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    I will never be amazed at how many people expect God to let them and everyone else have a free will while denying that God Himself has one. Simply amazing...
     
  8. Ray Berrian

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    Since God has the sovereign power and autonomous will over everything and person, He chose to give us a free will because we are created in His Image with an intellect, emotion, and a sense of our destiny.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    But as pointed out before, you have engaged in an inherent inconsistency, either by slip of the keyboard or slip of the thought process. If God has sovereign power and autonomous will, then he can certainly give us a free will. But once he gives us a free will, he no longer has sovereign power and autonomous will. As you just said, he gave it up. Therefore, your sentence would more accurately reflect your belief is you said "God had sovereign power and autonomous will."

    However, the problem is a bit mroe concrete than that. If God has a free will, does that mean he can contradict his own nature or should we understand his free will to be bound by his nature? Obviously, the latter is true for there are certain things that God cannot do (i.e., change, lie, deny himself). Yet we do not impugn the freedom of God; we maintain that God is a free being. In the same way, we can assert without contradiction that man is a free being and yet is limited by the confines of his nature.
     
  10. Ray Berrian

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    God has sovereign control as to where He will place never dying souls. Some will enter Heaven and other will enter Hell forever.

    The Queen of England is a sovereign but she allows human freedom with life and liberty. Through law she also has the power to deliver judgments against those who disobey the law. The same is true of the Godhead. The rightful law of the Lord is to demand obedience and faith from all of His created human beings. When this law is broken and death overtakes that person, they suffer the result of their waywardness and sin. In fact, people are under His judgment from the day of their birth. [John 3:18b]
     
  11. Ray Berrian

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    Dr. Norman Geisler in his book, "Chosen But Free" in the chapter, "The Origins of Extreme Calvinism" said this on page 167.

    ‘Were it not for one significant blip in pre-Reformation history, there would have been no notable extreme "Calvinists" for the first 1,500 year of the church. This exception is found in the late writings of St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430). As a result of his controversy with the Pelagians (who emphasized free will at the expense of grace), Augustine overreacted with an emphasis on grace at the expense of free will. Later, in response to the Donatists, a schismatic group that had broken away from the Catholic Church, St. Augustine overreacted by affirming that heretics could be coerced to believe against their free choice to confess the Catholic faith. The logic seemed irresistible to him: If the Church can coerce heretics to believe against their will, then why can't God force sinners to believe against their will? This, of course, fit with his long-held belief that infants could be regenerated apart from any free choice on their part. Why, then, he reasoned, could not God force adults to be saved against their will?' Ray's comment: {This was the seed-bed that lead to Augustine/Calvin's view of irresistible grace.}

    Ray's comment: As you can see, the Reformation leaders like Luther and Calvin borrowed heavily from the noteworthy Augustine. This Catholic leader has and is still affecting some of the Western Churches who hold staunchly to "Calvin's Institutes."

    Ray's comment: Balance is everything. God is sovereign and has nevertheless endowed human beings with an independent will to either receive Christ or ignore His claims. Eve chose to eat of the forbidden fruit and as we move toward eternity we also are making our monumental decisions.
     
  12. Aki

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    God, in His sovereignty, can sovereignly choose not to exercise His sovereignty on anything or everything, or exercise it wholly, or anything in between. in reference to man's volition, including that of salvation, God, as the Scriptures teach, sovereignly chose to let man choose for himself (upon instruction and conviction), as He let Adam chose to eat or not of the forbidden fruit (again upon instruction and conviction).
     
  13. NateBordeaux

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    Hello everyone,
    This is my first post on the board, so, goodday.
    :cool:



    Ray,
    The Queen of England is by no means a sovereign. (though that may be her title)
    The sovereign is the person at the top of authority. Though they Queen of England may be the chief ruler in her country, the only true sovereign is God. Who has called her into existence out of nothing, sustains her every breath, and has preappointed the borders of her kingdom?
    The very fact that you would try to compare the Queens "sovereignty" to Gods makes me very dubious about the value of anything that you have to say.

    It is? Sola scriptura. Give me some references.


    Well, It's interesting that you think that and I'm happy for you, but your experience isn't mine. Could you give me some more objective evidence to support your theory?

    That should be an easy one for Christians.
    I'll name just a couple of ways God's will is different than mans.
    1. It's creative.
    2. It's absolute.
    3. It's holy.

    Again, I think that you would be hard pressed to find in scripture where God relinquishes His sovereignty.

    On a finishing thought.
    Do you freewillers pray to God that someone you know will be saved???
    Now, I want you to think about it long and hard.
    Why do you pray to God for Him to save someone He doesn't have the perogative to save?
     
  14. Aki

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    hi, young-guru. it's a priviledge to be one of the "firsts" to converse with you.

    Again, I think that you would be hard pressed to find in scripture where God relinquishes His sovereignty.
    </font>[/QUOTE]this topic has been passed through many times from other threads. i think you should read other posts before pressing hard. but for one, consider John 3:36

    this should not be a matter of thought, for the above statement pushes its subjects to think about a conclusion whose premise they do not even agree with. the point is, God wants everybody to be saved, and Christ died for everybody. thus in that thought, God has the prerogative to save everybody, but sovereignly chooses to respect man's volition for faith in Him for that matter.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    Once God gives up part of his sovereignty to allow man to have a "free will" (as you define it). God is no longer sovereign. Now he can take it back to be sure. But once you have given up control, you are not sovereign. The Queen of England is a horrible example since she is not sovereign.
     
  16. Nelson

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    Just in passing, similar means "nearly but not exactly the same or alike"

    However “great” the similarity of the "volitional aspect", nevertheless, by your "yes" to the above question, are you also agreeing that, due to the difference between God and man, man’s free will and God’s “freewill” are essentially different?
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    Just in passing, similar means "nearly but not exactly the same or alike"

    However “great” the similarity of the "volitional aspect", nevertheless, by your "yes" to the above question, are you also agreeing that, due to the difference between God and man, man’s free will and God’s “freewill” are essentially different?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Not at all. I am arguing that they work in the same way ... both bound by the confines of the nature in which they operate. God's freedom cannot contradict his nature. He cannot choose to sin for instance. That would be a choice contrary to his nature. In the same way, man's freedom is bound by his nature. The image of God in man is what we are talking about here.
     
  18. Primitive Baptist

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    RAY: If we do not have freedom of the will we cannot be held accountable by Almighty God because we would no longer be human.

    PRIMITIVE BAPTIST: "Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" [Rom. 9:19-21] I once heard Elder Lasserre Bradley Jr. of the Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church say that one could say the water of Niagara Falls was free but only free to go down. The waters cannot turn and flow upward because that would be against it's nature. Likewise, the natural man is free to go further and further into sin but not free to come out of it. Until you humanists understand the total depravity of mankind, you will not understand election, particular redemption, effectual grace, or the perseverance of the saints. Wait...actually you do believe in the perseverance of the saints. Isn't that weird? We get salvation by our own free will, but can't get out of it the same way we got into it. There are too many verses in the Bible that clearly teach man's will is in bondage to sin.

    "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they COULD NOT believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [their] eyes, nor understand with [their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them." [John 12:37-40]

    COULD NOT COULD NOT COULD NOT COULD NOT COULD NOT COULD NOT COULD NOT COULD NOT COULD NOT COULD NOT

    I think you all are starting to get like the people in those verses...BLIND EYES and a HARDENED HEART! Look at what the Bible PLAINLY SAYS!!! Pretty inconsistant for a God who wants every single man, woman, boy, and girl of the world to be saved...i mean, to blind someone and harden their hearts so they CANNOT believe...that's not fair...is it???
     
  19. Nelson

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    Because I, as an adult, allow the 3-year-old to stick his tongue at me without smacking him in the head, does that mean I am no longer stronger than the 3 year old?

    Somewhere the Bible says that God "humbled himself and became a slave;" and again, "He emptied himself." Does that mean He he is no longer sovereign?

    Jesus was put on the Cross by the hands of wicked men. Was it because he was no longer powerful?

    I once heard a story about an atheist who declared, "If God exists, let him strike me down dead right now!" Nothing happened. He was not struck down dead. Aside from the main point of the story, does the idea that nothing happened mean God is no longer powerful enough to strike him because of the atheist's free will? Or did it mean that the sovereign God, rather then exercise his almighty power, decided to restrain it in mercy?

    There is a difference between God being "no longer sovereign" and restraining such sovereignty. The question is for you to decide if, in creating free will beings, God is "no longer sovereign" or restrains such sovereignty.

    [ June 13, 2002, 11:25 AM: Message edited by: Nelson ]
     
  20. KenH

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    Your statement caused me to wonder if "Open Theists" who teach that God does not know the future, are saying that He doesn't know the future because He can't know the future or He chooses not to know the future?

    I am not saying you are an Open Theist, by the way, your statement just raised this question in my mind. [​IMG]

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ken
     

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