Tag Archives: compatibilism

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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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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My compatibilist model: a response to some questions

John Johnson wrote a lengthy comment on my post responding to Jerry Walls and my compatibilist proposal. He raises some substantive questions and I think it better to deal with them in another post rather than to reply in a lengthy comment or a number of smaller comments. Because John’s questions are of a sort often raised to positions like mine, I think they deserve careful consideration. 1.  If God is meticulously in control, why … Continue reading

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Calvinist perspectives on Molinism

The Logos Reformed Blog, moderated by Jesse Myers, ran a series of 5 posts by Nathanael P. Taylor regarding Molinism. I was invited to write a response to that series and I did so, in two posts. I chose not to respond to each of Taylor’s posts separately, and I did not critique Taylor’s understanding of Molinism (the philosophical theology originated by Luis de Molina), since I am not an expert in it myself. Rather, … Continue reading

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“Mysterian compatibilism”: a third category

I have been in the practice of distinguishing two forms of compatibilism, hard and soft. Both are forms of soft-determinism, and they both assert that God’s meticulous control is compatible with creaturely moral culpability. They differ, however, in their account of how that compatibilism works. Thomism offers a version of hard compatibilism, which I call “hard” because it asserts that creatures are libertarianly free, but that this does not diminish God’s ability to meticulously control … Continue reading

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Hypothetical knowledge Calvinism and libertarian freedom

Thus far, I have responded to 5 criticisms leveled against hypothetical knowledge Calvinism in John Laing’s ETS paper in 2013: that it is vulnerable to the grounding objection that Calvinists and Open Theists bring against Molinism that it has an “odd notion of necessity/possibility” that it includes an “odd ontology of personhood” that it “flirts with fatalism,” and that its theodicy is less effective than that of Molinism or Arminianism In this final post of … Continue reading

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