The Staunch Calvinist

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards

Search


You searched for 'Libertarian Free Will'

I've found 5 results!


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 9: Of Free Will - Commentary

...ey must be of His sheep, meaning they must have a different nature. A new and a freed nature from sin must be given to them so that they may be able to believe. The reason that they do not believe is found in the fact that they are not part of His sheep, not the other way around. They do not believe because they are left in their sin by God as a judgment (Rom. 1:18ff). See also John 8:43-47; 12:37-41; Romans 8:5-8; 1 Corinthians 2:14.

Conclusion

If we consider the above, we cannot, without doing harm to the biblical testimony, accept the idea that fallen man always is able to make the choice between good and evil, God and Satan, while he is dead in sins. Libertarian Free Will is inconsistent with the biblical testimony, to which we now turn.

The Inconsistency of Libertarian Free Will 

Libertarian Free Will is basically the concept that, metaphysically and morally, man is an autonomous being, one who operates independently, not controlled by others or by outside forces. According to the Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (InterVarsity Press, 2002), Libertarian Free Will is defined as “in ethics and metaphysics, the view that human beings sometimes can will more than one possibility. According to this view, a person who freely made a particular choice could have chosen differently, even if nothing about the past prior to the moment of choice had been different.” In the Libertarian Free Will paradigm, the power of contrary choice reigns supreme. Without this ability to choose otherwise, Libertarian Free Will proponents will claim that man cannot be held morally responsible for his actions.[29]

That which is contrary with Libertarian Free Will to the biblical testimony is especially the idea that our actions cannot be ordained by God, but also the idea that we can choose and will contrary to our inclinations. There is no need to recite the biblical evidence that fallen man is unable to will that which is contrary to his nature as we did cite them above. That alone is enough to refute the idea of Libertarian Free Will and declare it as an unbiblical concept. But that is not the only problem which the opponents of Calvinism often suppose to be the essence of liberty; the fact is that such a will is self-inconsistent. That, Edwards endeavors to show in part II of his work. Edwards says that Arminians place the liberty of the will in three things:[30]

  1. Self-determining power in the Will or a certain sovereignty that the Will has over itself;
  2. Indifference: The mind previous to the act of volition is in an equilibrium;
  3. Contingence in the sense as opposed to all kinds of necessity or any fixed and certain connection with some previous ground or reason.

Self-determining power and sovereignty over itself

One problem that the Arminian or non-Calvinist Libertarian Free Will has with the self-determining power of the will is that the very notion of that leads to absurdity. It is wrong to speak of the will determining itself as it is the soul that determines things because actions are ascribed to agents, not to properties or faculties. But even if we say that the agent determines every prior will of theirs, how is that determination done but by a prior will and so ad infinitum? But if we go back to the link and find that the first act of choice in the chain was not caused by a prior free act of choice, then the notion of such liberty is destroyed. If the first choice in the chain is not fr...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator - Commentary

...t it indirectly does speak of it as all of salvation is based on the atonement of Christ. This is also a verse which is used against Unconditional Election. It is often brought up against the U and the L in TULIP in order to establish that God really wants everyone saved, but somehow He is frustrated and does not accomplish His desire. Is this is how the Bible speaks of God?

The reason that God does not accomplish His purpose, according to non-Calvinists, is because He has a higher desire, that is for people to autonomously (Libertarian Free Will) choose for Him. Arminians believe that people have a Libertarian Free Will and that is one thing that "God will not violate.” In the Arminian scheme, God deems it higher to give man Libertarian Free Will and that man autonomously come to God, rather than have all saved. Some even speak of the impossibility of genuine freedom (by this they mean Libertarian Free Will, not as chapter 9) if there is no opposite choice, good and evil is necessary for true freedom. In Arminianism, God desires the salvation of every single soul, yet His desire to leave them to their Libertarian Free Will is greater and He will “never violate their free will.”

What do we do when God does not desire to save people? How is this passage then consistent? Paul begins in verse 1 by giving a charge to Timothy (1Tim. 1:18ff), this charge is to pray for all –

1Tim. 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,

As Dr. James White likes to say, is what Timothy being told here is to get the “phonebook” and pray for everyone there? That is hardly the case. Rather, verse 2 specifies and clears up what is meant by "all people” –

1Tim. 2:2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

By “all people" Paul has in mind all kinds of people and not everyone without exception. He specifies what he means by all people, for Timothy’s purpose. He was to pray for his government so that they would be free to lead a godly life. So that God would cause their leaders to be born again or not persecute the believers. Therefore, the phrase “all people” is to be understood to be speaking not of all people without exception, but about all kinds (kings, those in high positions, etc...) of people. This is not something strange, in fact, look at how 1 Timothy 6:10 is translated:

1Tim. 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils

The word “kinds” is not in the text, but it is supplied by the translators because the statement then would be false. The word πάντων (panton) is used in both verses. The love of money was not the root of the Fall. Adam and Eve did not desire money, nor did the Devil. But it is a root of all types and kinds of evil, not a root to ALL evils. There exist other motivations for wickedness than money. See also Matthew 5:11; Acts 10:12; for the insertion of the word “kinds” by the translators. Therefore, the meaning of the word “all” is dependent upon the context. We are not saying that it does not ever mean all without exception, but what we are saying is that the meaning must be proven from the context and not merely assumed. There are a lot of texts which use the word “all” but mean by that not all without exception rather all without distinction or many (Jer. 13:19 with 39:9-10; Matt. 2:3-4; 3:5; 5:11; 10:21-22; Mark 1:5; Luke 3:21; John 4:29; 8:...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 3: Of God's Decree - Commentary

...g sovereignty of God. Every molecule moves the way it does because God from all eternity has willed that it be so. From eternity past to eternity future nothing will occur to the mind of God which He didn't already know and ordain. He possesses all knowledge, actual and possible (chapter 2:2). The Confession doesn't go into the Hyper-Calvinistic error of disregarding man's will and responsibility, but rather affirms that the liberty of second cause agents (men) are established because of God's decree. The liberty here discussed is obviously not the mythical Libertarian Free Will. There is no such thing as Libertarian Free Will. Libertarian Free Will says that one can go against all inclination and nature, which is impossible and ridiculous. Jonathan Edwards, in his The Freedom of the Will, shows the absurdity and impossibility of such a will. Rather, moral agency or free will, biblically defined, would be the freedom to do whatever one desires. The Bible speaks about a limitation upon the desires and inclinations of the natural man; this limitation is our sinful natures from which sinful actions are born. See !--cke_bookmark_600S--!--cke_bookmark_600E--chapter 9 for our discussion of man's free will, moral inability, moral necessity and Libertarian Free Will.

God orders every event in such a way that He is sovereign over every step, yet at the same time, the second cause agent is not being coerced to do anything against their desire, but out their own desires and freedom carries whatever God has from all eternity decreed. We may not understand how this is done, but I believe that such is the testimony of Scripture. It is not for me to understand how the two work together, rather, it is for me to believe that it is such if I see both in Holy Writ. On a personal level, there is no truth that I cherish more than knowing the Triune God and knowing Him as the only Sovereign. It is not merely “in the head” doctrine, but it is a doctrine that I praise God for, cherish and find comfort in daily.

Some years ago, I came across the Doctrines of Grace through the Facebook page called Reformed Memes Daily and I remember seeing something from Romans 9:18. I was amazed that the Bible had such things to say and wanted to study this issue. Apparently, I had not read that passage before. It was not easy, but I promised God that I would believe anything that His Word teaches, no matter how painful. Through my study, I tried to collect as many verses as possible in regard to God's sovereignty as are relevant and that I could find from daily Bible reading and other books. More about my journey can be read here. The document where I put these verses was the reason that this website was made; it is found here.

What I will seek to provide below is a case for God's absolute control of everything, thus justifying paragraph 1 of this chapter. Here we will touch on issues which are relevant to chapter 5, Of God's Providence, but we will direct the interested reader from chapter 5 back to paragraph 1 of chapter 3. Under the section General Sovereignty, I will deal with texts which speak of God's sovereignty over history and His counsel. Under Particular Sovereignty, I will try to deal with God's sovereignty over specific things such as evil and human actions. By no means is this an extensive case or discussion of God's absolute sovereignty, but I believe that it is nonetheless a decent biblical case for it.

General Sovereignty

First, let's start with ver...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence - Commentary

!DOCTYPE html

Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence

Are divine sovereignty and human responsibility incompatible? What do we mean by providence? How does the providence of God work? Does God use means? How does the providence of God relate to the wicked and the Church?

This chapter is in many ways connected with chapter 3 about God's Decree. Therefore, the interested reader is directed there for more about God's divine sovereignty.


§1 God the good Creator of all things

  1. God the good Creator of all things, 1 in his infinite power and wisdom 2 doth upholddirectdispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created, according unto his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will;  7 to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy. 8
    1. Gen. 1:31; 2:18; Ps. 119:68[1]
    2. Ps. 145:11; Prov. 3:19; Ps. 66:7
    3. Heb. 1:3; Isa. 46:10-11; Dan. 4:34-35; Ps. 135:6; Acts 17:25-28; Job 38-41
    4. Matt. 10:29-31
    5. Prov. 15:3; Ps. 104:24; 145:17
    6. Col. 1:16-17; Acts 17:24-28
    7. Ps. 33:10-11; Eph. 1:11
    8. Isa. 63:14; Eph. 3:10; Rom. 9:17; Gen. 45:7; Ps. 145:7

God the good Creator is the One Who is sovereign over all things and the One who upholds, directs, disposes, and governs all creatures and things (Heb. 1:3; Eph. 1:11; Isa. 46:10-11; Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Rev. 4:11). His sovereignty extends from the greatest even to the least (Matt. 10:29-31). God is as much concerned about little things as He is about big things because they all work out for His glory and according to His most wise plan. By His most wise and holy providence, He has assigned an end and purpose for everything that was created (e.g. Prov. 16:4). This was done according to God's infallible foreknowledge of that which He has ordained and according to the free and immutable counsel of His own will. The purpose for disposing and directing all things as He does is to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy which is seen in His providence.  


Providence may be defined as:

Divine providence is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. The doctrine of divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe as a whole (Psalm 103:19), the physical world (Matthew 5:45), the affairs of nations (Psalm 66:7), human destiny (Galatians 1:15), human successes and failures (Luke 1:52), and the protection of His people (Psalm 4:8).[2]

It is the God, the good Creator, Who governs and directs every step in the universe. He is the standard of goodness. He means and intends everything for good (defined by Himself), while man means it for evil (Gen. 50:20). Everything He does is most holy and wise, free and immutable, and for His glory (Isa. 46:8-11). He upholds the universe by the power of His word and He directs history to its predetermined end (Heb. 1:3; Eph. 1:11). He disposes of good and evil and governs every molecule and atom the way He pleases (Dan. 4:34-35; Isa. 45:7; Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Eph. 1:11). Why? To the glorification of His attributes! See chapter 4 for the purpose of creation. This is closely connected with God's decree in chapter 3 (see the commentary there). God's sovereign decree could be seen as the blueprint of history, while God's Pr...


Welcome To The Staunch Calvinist

...mentary/" target="_blank">Of God’s Covenant (1689 Federalism)
  • Of Christ the Mediator (including a case for the Substitutionary Atonement, Active and Passive Obedience of Christ, Definite Atonement and answers to passages used against the doctrine)
  • Of Free Will (with the help of Jonathan Edwards, the consistency of moral agency being found in carrying one's desires, the inconsistencies of Libertarian Free Will, explanation of necessity and inability)
  • Of Effectual Calling (with a case for infant salvation)
  • Of Justification (faith is a gift and regeneration precedes faith)
  • Of Adoption
  • Of Sanctification
  • Of Saving Faith
  • Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation
  • Of Good Works
  • Of The Perseverance Of The Saints (A positive case for the Reformed doctrine and responses to passages such as Hebrews 6 and the like)
  • Of The Assurance Of Grace And Salvation
  • Of The Law Of God (Threefold Division of the Law, the Decalogue before Moses, a brief exposition of the Decalogue, ceremonial and civil laws, the abiding moral law under the New Covenant in the OT prophecy and the NT, Threefold Uses of the Law, The Law and the Gospel)
  • Of The Gospel, And Of The Extent Of The Grace Thereof
  • Of Christian Liberty And Liberty of Conscience
  • Of Religious Worship And the Sabbath Day (A case for the Regulative Principle of Worship and the Christian Sabbath)
  • Of Lawful Oaths And Vows
  • Of The Civil Magistrate
  • Of Marriage
  • Of The Church
  • Of the Communion of Saints
  • Of Baptism And The Lord's Supper
  • Of Baptism
  • Of The Lord's Supper
  • Of The State Of Man After Death And Of The Resurrection Of The Dead (Intermediate State Hades, Sheol, Heaven; A Case for Amillennial Eschatology; critique of Premillennialism)
  • Of The Last Judgment (Endless punishment in Hell contra Annihilationism)
  • ...