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Friday, April 18, 2008

Some of the water marks of "free will"

I'm gonna do this by using some of the early (pre-Augustine) christians. I am only doing this because a few calvinists would like to believe(speculate) that they(pre-Augustine christians) didn't believe in LFW. No, instead they want to assume that they believed in "compatibilism/soft determinism". They reject the fact that christian determinism has its beginning with Saint Augustine in his later years. Before then "determinism" was only believed by the gnostics(anti-christs). We can see this in the writings of those that fought against them.

I will try to keep the quotes focused on the issue at hand. And those issues are "responsibility implies ability", "self determination", and "potentiality". These three things automatically weed out any soft deterministic concept of "free will"......which isn't freedom of the will at all.

Lets begin with:

1.) "Human responsibility". Those who don't believe in the doctrine of free will "believe that God asks us to do things we can't do", yet, they still would like to believe that humans are held responsible for their actions anyway.

Those who believe in free will, know that God wouldn't ask us to do something HE first wouldn't give us the power to do. So one of the water marks of "Human responsibility" is "Ability".

Thus we can say "Responsibility implies ability"

"I do not think that God urges man to obey His commandments, but then deprives
him of the power to obey or disobey........He does not give a command in order
to take away the power that he has given. Rather, He gives it in order to bestow
a better return for his having rendered obedience to God. For man
had power to withold it. I say that man was made with free will."
Methodius 290 A.D.

In regards to accepting or rejecting with the use of the will.

"Those who work it will receive glory and honor, because they have done that
which is good when they had it in their power not to do it. But those who do not
do it will receive the just judgement of God, because they did not work good
when they had it in their power to do so. But if some have been made by nature
bad, and others good, these latter would not be deserving of praise for being
good, for they were created that way. Nor would the former be reprehensible, for
that is how they were made. However, all men are of the same nature. They are
all able to hold fast and to do what is good. On the other hand, they have the
power to cast good from them and not to do it. For that reason, some justly
receive praise."
Irenaeus 180 A.D.

"If then, it were not in our power to do or not to do these things, what reason
did the apostle have, and much more the Lord Himself, to give us counsel to do
some things, and to abstain from others? But because man is possessed of free
will (in whose likeness man was created), advice is always given to him to hold
fast to the good, which is done through obedience to God. God has preserved the
will of man free and under his own control. This is not merely in works, but
also in faith."
Irenaeus 180 A.D.

"Neither praises nor censures, neither rewards nor punishments are right if the
soul does not have the power of inclination and disinclination and if evil is
involuntary.....In no respect is God the author of evil. But since free choice
and inclination originate sins, .....punishments are justly inflicted."
Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

"I find, then, that man was constituted free by God. He was master of his own
will and power.....For a law would not be imposed upon one who did not have it
in his power to render that obedience which is due to law. Nor again, would the
penalty of death be threatened against sin, if a contempt of the law were
impossible to man in the liberty of his will.....Man is free, with a will either
for obedience or resistance."
Tertullian 207 A.D.

"When a malignant power has began to incite us to evil, it is quite within our
power to cast the wicked suggestions away from us.....Similarly, when a divine
power calls us to better things, it is possible for us not to obey the call. Our
freedom of will is preserved in either case."
Origen 225 A.D.

The second Water mark is:

2.) "Self determination". Those who believe in LFW are "self determinators" according to the Protestant Evangelical Norman Geisler, in the book Chosen but Free 2nd edition(copyright 1999 & 2001. published by Bethany House). He says on pages 181-182 that:

"Much, if not most, of the problem in discussing "free will" is that the term is defined differently by various persons in the dispute. As explained in chapter 2, logically there are only three basic views: self-determinism (self-caused actions), determinism (acts caused by another), and indeterminism (acts with no cause whatsoever). Indeterminism is a violation of the law of causality that every event has a cause, and determinism is a violation of free will, since the moral agent is not causing his own actions.
There are, of course, several varieties of self-determinism. Some contend that all moral acts must be free only from all external influences. Others insist they must be free from both external and internal influences, that is, truly neutral. But they all have in common that, whatever influences there may be on the will, the agent could have done otherwise. That is, they could have chosen the opposite course of action."

And then he goes on to defend "self-determinism" for the next 4 pages. I only quoted Dr. Geisler so that people would know that it's an actual term.

But lets look at what some of the early christians had to say about this:

"This is the mind and judgement of man, which has freedom in itself and self
-determination in the treatment of what is assigned to it."
Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

"This will be the power of the grace of God-more potent indeed than
nature-exercising its sway over the faculty that underlies itself within us:
even the freedom of the will.....We define the soul as having sprung from the
breath of God. It is imortal....[and] free in its determinations."
Tertullian 210 A.D.

"God, who created [the World], did not, nor does not, make evil.....Now man (who
was brought into existence) was a creature endowed into a capacity of
self-determination, yet he did not possess a sovereign intellect.....Man, from
the fact of his possessing a capacity of self-determination, brings forth what
is evil......Since man has free will, a law has been given him by God, for a
good purpose. For a law will not be laid down for an animal that is devoid of
reason. Only a bridle and a whip will be given it. In contrast, man has been
given a commandment to perform, coupled with a penalty."
Hippolytus 225 A.D.

3.) Potentiality

"The Liberty of believing or of not believing is placed in free choice. In
Deuteronomy, it says: "Look! I have set before your face life and death, good
and evil. Choose for yourself life, that you may live." Also in Isaiah: "And if
you are willing and hear me, you will eat the good of the land."
Cyprian 250 A.D.

"Man was made with a free will....on account of his capacity of obeying or
disobeying God. For this was the meaning of the gift of free will."
Methodius 290 A.D.

"Since those rational creatures themselves....were endowed with the power of
free will, this freedom of the will incited each one to either progress (by
imitation ofGod), or else it reduced a person to failure through negligence. And
this, as we have already stated, is the cause of the diversity among rational
Origen 225 A.D.

Do Calvinists believe that "responsibility implies ability"? NO!

Do Calvinists believe that we are "self-determinators"? NO!

Do Calvinists believe in "potentiality"? NO!



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