May 11th, 2013
The teaching of Scripture seems to assert that post-Genesis 3 humans possess libertarian free will, including freedom to choose between opposites on matters pertaining to salvation or any other spiritual good. This immediately raises questions surrounding the concept of original sin. Augustine first used the expression “original sin” in the wake of the Pelagian controversy. Upon arriving at Rome in A.D. 400, the British monk Pelagius was horrified to see the open immorality prevalent among so-called Christians. This was the direct result of Theodosius I nineteen years earlier (381) declaring Christianity to be the state religion so decreeing that anyone living within its borders to be Christian. This was a transformation of Christianity from a voluntary religion (one that people freely choose to join) to a natural religion (one into which people are born) spawned immense immorality in many people who bore the name of Christ without ever having personally committed their lives to Jesus. Pelagius exhorted the Romans to live worthy of their Christian calling with an argument logically summarized in two steps:
1. Humans possess libertarian free will.
2. Humans should use their libertarian freedom to be good enough people to earn their own salvation.
Unfortunately, as so often happens in the history of thought, one extreme position meets the response of an equally extreme opposing position, thus swinging the ideological pendulum from one side to the other. Very rarely is prudence taken in shifting the pendulum back to the center, where the truth is most likely to be found.
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June 11th, 2012
I. The Argument
William Hasker has a deep commitment to the position that man holds a high level of libertarian freedom. In his section on “Freedom, Necessity, and God,” Hasker takes the libertarian to task by challenging him with free will’s compatibility with divine foreknowledge. Hasker’s argument states that because God foreknows an agent’s action the agent necessarily fulfills that action.
- It is now true that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow. (Assumption).
- It is impossible that God should at any time believe anything false or fail to believe anything which is true (Assumption: divine omniscience).
- Therefore God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow. (Inference from 1 and 2).
- If God has always believed a certain thing, it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that thing. (Assumption: the inalterability of the past).
- Therefore it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow. (Inference from 3 and 4).
- It is not possible for it to be true both that God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow, and that I do not in fact have one. (Inference from 2).
- Therefore it is not in my power to refrain from having a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow. (Inference from 5 and 6). So I do not have free will with respect to the decision whether or not to eat an omelet. 
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May 4th, 2012
Humans possess a certain level of libertarian freedom, prima facie. The arguments supporting the free will are the evidence of human volition, moral accountability, and moral duty. In the end, there are no good reasons to believe the contrary. By libertarian freedom I mean that our freedom is a derived freedom, humans are not completely independent or completely autonomous. In Molinism, unlike Calvinism, God is completely sovereign over the eternal destinies of a world of libertarian free creatures who have, in Augustinian terminology, “free choice” and not merely “free will.” MacGregor explains that for Augustine, “free choice” (i.e. libertarian free will) entailed the freedom to choose between opposites in both the physical and spiritual realms. Thus fallen humanity, by virtue of the imago Dei, can freely choose whether or not to respond to God’s prevenient grace. By contrast, Augustine defined “free will” (i.e. compatibilist free will) as the ability to choose without any external constraint between the options compatible with one’s nature. 
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