Prolegomena to free-will discussions

The Reformed theologue is usually tarred as manichean, since he denies “free will.”  (If you are not seeing the connection, don’t worry too much about it.).   I wonder how many of these people have actually read and listened to Richard Muller on free choice.  Muller notes (and I will provide page numbers and sources later; I am typing this from memory) that the Reformed believe in liberum arbitrium, free choice.   Can we believe in free will?  Well, it depends on how you define it.  Muller notes that the post-Reformation insistence on free choice and not free will safeguarded several metaphysical assumptions.   Free choice, as seen here, means a freedom to choose among limited options.  Drake notes,

The word freedom or free will has numerous definitions and many of these conversations are red herrings and straw men. Calvinists believe in free agency but reject free will. What is the difference? Free will defined: “the equal ability, under given circumstances, to choose either of two courses of action.” (Dr. Clark, Religion, Reason and Revelation, pg 202) In this sense there is not a determining factor operating on the will. Free agency/Voluntary Agency defined: The will is not determined by physical or physiological factors. Free agency is not free will, there is a difference. Infallible certainty rests on necessity though voluntary. An example: Judas’ betrayal was necessary, that is, it was predestined, determined and inevitable though Judas was a free/voluntary agent. There is also no compulsion or coaction.

It would be interesting to see how those who castigate Reformed necessitarianism respond to the problem of Judas.


One comment on “Prolegomena to free-will discussions

  1. […] of the Reformed Church.   I have already demonstrated that the Reformed faith allows for liberum arbitrium, so Arakaki’s statement that we are strictly monergistic is factually wrong.  True, the […]

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