A self-determinist reading of key Old Testament passages

Before Robert Picirilli identifies particularly significant biblical texts which teach that humans are libertarianly free, he pauses to describe the general approach to such texts by Luther and Calvin. Luther Picirilli describes the crucial importance of Luther’s distinction between law and gospel, and he suspects that Luther would regard some of the passages which Picirilli is going to cite, as gospel, rather than law, but he is not able to discern the criteria by which … Continue reading

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Who wrote/writes the script for the drama, ”The History of the World”?

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about the nature of the freedom God gave to moral creatures, both angelic and human, and how this correlates with the degree of control which God has reserved to himself, within the history of the world. I thought it might be helpful to think of that history as a script, and to describe some of the key models of God’s providence in terms of different … Continue reading

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A divine determinist’s reflections on a self-determinist’s reading of Scripture: the original sin

I came to the third chapter of Robert Picirilli’s book, Free Will Revisited, with particular eagerness. I concur with him “that what matters most, in the discussion of free will (or any theological issue), is what the Bible says” (p. 18). I also agree with his intent when he states that “the Bible never undertakes to speak directly to the issue of whether people have the capacity for freedom of choice.” I would say it … Continue reading

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Considering a self-determinist’s analysis of the error of all forms of determinism

In a previous post, I began to interact with Robert Picirilli’s stimulating book, Free Will Revisited. That post was longer than the first chapter of Picirilli’s book, because I took the time to locate Picirilli’s understanding of free will in the big picture of alternative understandings of the extent to which God controls the details of created history. As an Arminian, Picirilli does not want to speak of his position as indeterministic, but he describes … Continue reading

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Revisiting free will, in conversation with Robert Picirilli (1)

A four-way conversation Among the theological decisions we must make if we are to have a theology and practice which both have an inner coherence, one of the most far reaching is our choice of model regarding God’s work in the world. How we understand the nature of the freedom God has given to his moral creatures is a key factor in that decision. This is a matter I have studied and ruminated about for … Continue reading

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Why is God’s knowledge of counterfactuals valuable to a compatibilist doctrine of providence?

Yesterday, I was asked: “how important is it to your theology to add the hypothetical knowledge into the mix, since, in omniscience, isn’t knowledge of all possible things presupposed? That is an excellent question, so I want to post my response here as well. For me, God’s knowledge of counterfactuals, that is, of what free creatures would  have done in hypothetical situations (and hence, in possible worlds) is extremely important to compatibilism (i.e., the compatibility … Continue reading

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William Lane Craig now affirms universal revelation accessibilism

When I wrote Who Can Be Saved?, everything I had read by William Lane Craig regarding his Molinist understanding of the situation of the unevangelized fell within the gospel exclusivist position. (See my “Typology of Positions Concerning the Salvation of the Unevangelized.”) At that time, he posited that “God in his providence so arranged the world that those who never in fact hear the gospel are persons who would not respond to it if they … Continue reading

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When you make a decision, what do you actually change?

A former student’s question Recently, a former student of mine raised a question. Here it is: You asked a question in Sys Theo once that was something like “when you make a decision what do you actually change?” I have pondered this question for years now. Was your point that the decision of the will is insufficient to actually bring what you will into reality? I have argued many times that will and the ability … Continue reading

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Pope Francis on the nature of Hell

Pope Francis has a friend, Eugenio Scalfari, who is founder of the liberal newspaper Repubblica, and who professes to be an atheist. Periodically, the two of them meet for conversation and, later, Scalfari, without having taken notes at the meeting, publishes what he understood Francis to have said. Reading about the report on what Francis had said about hell, one of my friends expressed concern about what he had read to another of my friends, … Continue reading

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Is it possible to give a biblically faithful account of human being which is substance monist?

Currently, I identify myself as a substance dualist who believes that humans are constituted of a material substance (body) and an immaterial substance (spirit), but I attempt to hold this view in a manner which does not diminish the great importance of the human body, and which emphasizes the wholeness of human being. I hold this position because it is what I have heard in the Bible, not because of the philosophical proposal of philosophers. … Continue reading

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