The limits of free will...

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by glfredrick, Mar 28, 2011.

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  1. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    Some here on the board are very open in their adoption of libertarian free will.

    Others do not see eye-to-eye with libertarian free will as commonly expressed by the first group mentioned above.

    One of the questions concerning libertarian free will (if it should exist as suggested) is what are its limits, or are there limits to free will?

    What say the persons holding a free will perspective? Limits or not? Please justify your response in some fashion instead of making "I think so..." statements.
     
  2. JesusFan

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    Please correct me if I am wrong, but don't both those who believe in election and free will teach free will, just a matter of degrees?

    That the reformed perspective would say we are free to choose, but being totally corrupted and tainted by the fall, cannot chose God on our own devices?
    have free will to do the wrong, but not to turn to do the right as regarding coming to the LORD. not until God regenerates and saves?

    Free will would hold that man DOES have a full free will, that through grace of God, all people have within them the means to turn and believe, as we are 'marred" from the full, but partially restored, enough to have full free will by grace of God extended to all?
     
  3. StefanM

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    It depends on your definition of "free will." Calvinists would generally advocate a compatibilist understanding of free will, not a libertarian understanding.
     
  4. glfredrick

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    I'd say that both of you above are on the right track as far as describing a Reformed position.

    I'm looking for limits (or lack thereof) on free will from the crowd that holds that as a major tenet of their theology. I understand that the Reformed crowd has seen biblical limits based on our depraved nature and on the extent of God's permissive will.
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Or Roman Catholics who insists that the will of man is the decisive factor in salvation! BTW ....please define compatibilist. Is that a word?:smilewinkgrin:
     
  6. StefanM

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    Yes, it is a word!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compatibilism

    It's also known as "soft determinism."

    The spectrum is determinism--compatibilism--libertarianism.
     
  7. Van

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    I would toss limited free will (meaning the ability to make choices that change the outcome of our lives) into the spectrum between Compatibilism and libertarianism. Compatibilism is simply exhaustive determinism by another name. It is still advocating all the world is a stage and we are only speaking the lines in a play without alternate endings.

    If you flip a coin to determine whether you go to McDonalds or Coco's, guess what, the outcome was foreordained. Your past, your willingness to accept the outcome of the coin toss predetermined your choice. In the case of choosing to trust in Christ, if you have not been altered by Irresistible Grace, you will reject Him 100% of the time. So its a rose by another name, and is still in the exhaustive determinism camp.
     
  8. JesusFan

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    Question though to consider is can there even be an absolute Free Will viable apart from that held by God Himself?

    Wouldn't it all come back to there being vary degrees of it, but that only God's can be considered "fully free" as His will cannot be stymied by any external force/power /influrnce as His only is Soverign?
     
  9. StefanM

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    I can agree with you to a certain extent. The distinction between compatibilism and determinism is almost entirely nuance. It may be a distinction without a difference.

    I don't see much difference with your idea of "limited free will," either. It seems to be libertarianism.
     
  10. quantumfaith

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    True, one can argue that only God himself has LFW, but could also argue not, as scripture has taught us that He will not violate His character. Our "free will" to whatever degree it can be defined, is quite obviously limited within the parameters and sample space of possibilities designed by the creator himself. Man also lacks the ability to create ex nihlio.
     
  11. Van

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    Hi StefanM, the difference is that God can deterministicly control whatever we choose, or He can allow us to make choices that alter the outcome of our lives. This view is consistent with "we make plans, but God directs our steps." Take the case of the unbelieving Jews hardened by God in Romans 11. Before they were hardened they could have chosen Christ and obtained mercy because that choice was allowed by God. But, when He hardened them, their free will became even more limited, now to the point where they could not choose to trust in Christ. So if scripture says something is foreordained, predestined, whatever it is has been applied to us, then we no longer have the ability to choose overwise. So, according to my eternal security view, when God puts us spiritually in Christ, our free will to walk away from our faith and devotion to Christ is taken away. We can sure still backslide and quench the Spirit, but I believe in the heart of hearts of every born again believer, they love Jesus till the day they die because God keeps them by protecting their faith. 1 Peter 1:3-5.
     
  12. JesusFan

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    Are we all just saying basically then that IF we were to ask God about this topic...

    Are YOU absolutely in control , fully soverign
    Or
    is mankind born with free will?

    "YES"
     
  13. quantumfaith

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    I am "compatibly soft libertarian". :)
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    We now need to get Luke in here to tell us what Edwards taught about free will. I'm not really up on it but I'm sure he is. Has anyone read "The Freedom of the Will" ?
     
  15. StefanM

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    I agree partially with this. I believe God does limit our choices at times. However, I don't believe we have the capacity to choose other than what we will choose. The lack of the ability to do otherwise is what makes this understanding compatibilist. This is not due to compulsion but due to the fact that we will choose what we desire.
     
  16. MB

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    I don't necessarily believe we choose to go to a meeting where preaching is going on. I believe we are drawn there, by means of the Holy Spirit. I do not believe man set's out to be saved, yet if he has heard preaching of the gospel some where, he may surrender as a result of the workings of the Holy Spirit. I don't believe man seeks God with out the drawing. I don't believe He chooses God directly, if he is convinced of Jesus Christ and His gospel. He will be convicted and the conviction can be such that the man can't find any way of ignoring his own convictions and will see his need of a Savior. This still doesn't mean the man cannot resist although for my self I chose to submit.

    There are many who go through all the things I did. My conviction was such that it hurt so much I could not bear it. It was as if the rug had been pulled out from under me, and all the filth of my life was all of a sudden visable to the whole world. It was really just visable to God and me. I was so ashamed because, I had known better. You see I was raised in a Christian home. I believe man has a choice to stop rebelling against God and just do nothing.

    Do we choose Christ then? When we stop the rebellion we become passive and then we can choose to submit or continue to rebel. Yes when we choose to submit we are infact choosing Christ, because it is He that we must submit to. It was God who first chose me. I just surrendered because I couldn't handle the conviction. He won that battle.

    I also need to say it isn't enough that we just believe we must also submit.
    Romans 10:1-4
    MB
     
  17. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Amen, :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     
  18. Van

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    I agree partially with this. I believe God does limit our choices at times. However, I don't believe we have the capacity to choose other than what we will choose. The lack of the ability to do otherwise is what makes this understanding compatibilist. This is not due to compulsion but due to the fact that we will choose what we desire.

    The problem with this view is God says He sets life and death before us and desires that we choose life. If our past dictated our choice, we would have either life or death before us because the alternative would not be available. Thus the view turns the meaning of choice into non-choice. If a person cannot pick one or the other, but must pick one and cannot pick the other, it is a non-choice. Thus the view is completely unbiblical.
     
  19. StefanM

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    The alternative would be available, but the individual would not desire to choose it.
     
  20. Van

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    According to compatibilism, because of his past, he could only choose one or the other, not either. Thus non-choice. Compatibilism is just exhaustive determinism by another name. We are actors in a play with no alternate endings. A rose by any other name...

    The inspired word of God says God sets before us life and death, not life for some and death for others. Therefore Compatiblism is unbiblical. A ruse, a work of words to nullify scripture.
     
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