Monergism and effectual calling: Maximinianism Rebutted

Arakaki used something like this argument, and it is getting more popular:

P1:  Jesus has a real human will.
P2: Jesus freely exercises this will (and/or the monotheletic opponents denied its free use; this is an iffy historical point and I haven’t seen compelling evidence on either side).
P3:  Jesus’ human nature is consubstantial with ours.
P4: Reformed theology denies free will
C1: Reformed theology is incompatible with the 6th Ecumenical council.

So how do we respond?  There are several deliberate confusions in this argument, which I will try to address.  We agree that Jesus has a real human will.  We agree with P1-P3, but note that extreme interpretations of P3 are flawed.  But do the Reformed deny free will?  Not only do the Reformed not deny the real use of the human will, the Reformed are the only group who even tries to give a cogent definition of human willing.

God is an absolute and necessary being.  Few will deny it.  Man, by contrast, and by definition, is a contingent being.  If contingent, then mutable.  If mutable, then not necessary.  This also applies to man’s willing.  True, the Reformed do believe that the future is certain.   What the synergists have failed to demonstrate, however, besides constant pratting, is that future certainty necessarily entails coaction (external coercion) of willing.  They’ve asserted it, but they have never shown the necessary (no pun intended) propositions demonstrating it.

The heart of the argument against “monergism” is that if the human will cannot of its own apart from God freely choose God-in-Christ, then it is not truly free.  If it is not truly free, then it is not truly human.  If it is not truly human, then our humanity is not consubstantial with the Son’s.  I’ve already addressed some of the problems in EO’s hyper-realism (see above link), but I will now deal with the specifics:  On the face of it, given the Maximinian criteria of a free will, it’s hard to see why God is needed at all in salvation!  If I’m doing everything, and God isn’t raising me from spiritual death, then I fail to see why I need God at all.  Indeed, why can I not boast in my own salvation?  I am the active, efficient causal agent.   Admittedly, few synergists will be impressed by this reasoning, but it should make one stop and wonder.

The synergist has never given a convincing reason for the following:

1.  Is it true that God’s foreknowledge entails a loss of real human agency?  The synergist has not shown that God’s knowing the future (and hence the future’s certainty) externally compels the human agent to do x.
2.  Synergists refuse to see that “salvation” is not synonymous with regeneration.  On a Reformed gloss, the human will is mightily active in “conversion” but not “regeneration.”  The point here is not to convince the synergist that regeneration precedes faith, but to establish the fact (on a Reformed gloss) that the Reformed allow for the will to be active in an element of salvation.
3.  In Eph. 1:16-20 Paul is praising God that he might give the Ephesian believers a new heart, etc.  If regeneration, however, is simply the act of my free will and moral suasion, it’s not entirely clear why Paul is praising God for anything.   God ain’t doing nothing!  Paul should be praising the Ephesians for choosing to be saved!

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