Tag Archives: human freedom

W. L. Craig’s understanding of freedom: Molinism or monergism?

 In December, I wrapped up my review of Four Views on Divine Providence, dealing with responses to Greg Boyd’s Open Theist proposal. In that post, I expressed my surprise concerning William Lane Craig’s redefinition of libertarian freedom, in which he denied that it entails the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), often described as the “power of contrary choice.” Craig proposed instead that a libertarian account of freedom requires only “the absence of causal constraints outside … Continue reading

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Boyd’s open theist model of providence

            We come now to the fourth model in Four Views on Divine Providence, as Gregory Boyd puts forward his understanding as an open theist.  Gregory A. Boyd’s model of providence Christocentric criteria proposed for assessing models of divine providence Boyd posits that Jesus is the key to understanding the nature of God’s governance in the world and so he identifies four christocentric criteria by which models of providence should … Continue reading

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Compatibilism: a puzzlement for both Arminians and Calvinists

It has dawned on me that, despite the strong Arminian criticism of compatibilism, their statements regarding justification are actually an affirmation of the essence of compatibilism! Hopefully, though both groups charge one another with incoherence, we can be thankful that essential truths of Scripture are being affirmed, even though we can’t figure out how. The puzzlement of Calvinists Calvinists are used to strong objections from Arminians that their belief in God’s meticulous divine control of … Continue reading

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A Molinist model of God’s providence

              In Chapter 2 of  Four Views on Divine Providence, William Lane Craig presents a Molinist perspective. A restatement of William Lane Craig’s model of divine providence William Lane Craig begins his presentation by noting that Christian theology has traditionally affirmed God’s knowledge of conditional future contingents, what philosophers often call “counterfactuals.” Craig defines these as “conditional statements in the subjunctive mood, such as “If I were rich, I … Continue reading

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Restorationist and Open Theist responses to a determinist model of providence

I have described and interacted with W. L. Craig’s Molinist response to Paul Helseth’s omnicausal (determinist) model, and now we’ll consider the other two responses presented in Four Views on Divine Providence. Ron Highfield’s response Ron Highfield, representing what Dennis Jowers calls a “Restorationist” position, notes that his view and Helseth’s view are closer to one another than to either of the other two positions. But Highfield attributes his “fundamental agreement with Helseth’s view,” not … Continue reading

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Horton on effectual calling and perseverance

Michael Horton’s presentation In chapter 5, Michael Horton takes up the fourth and fifth points of  “TULIP,” which he places in covenant context. He distinguishes the Sinaitic covenant of law from the Abrahamic covenant of promise/grace, and he then unpacks the new covenant doctrines of effectual calling and perseverance. The overarching truth which Horton unfolds in this chapter is the conviction that “all that Christ has won for us, outside of us in history, is … Continue reading

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Why does God reward the good deeds of believers?

In a book review yesterday, Roger Olson expressed his puzzlement about how God’s giving rewards to believers in the final judgment coheres with Calvinism’s monergistic understanding of sanctification. He wrote: “My fear is that Spence, and Calvin before him, rob rewards of any meaning and imply that God is actually rewarding himself and not believers. If that is the case, why mention rewards at all? Why preach or teach heavenly rewards as motivation for obedience … Continue reading

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My compatibilist proposal

Incompatibilism: the core of Olson’s objection to Calvinism In our journey through Roger Olson’s Against Calvinism, I have drawn attention to the prominence of theodicy in Roger’s objections to Calvinism. In his view, God would be a moral monster if he were meticulously sovereign but deliberately rendered certain the horrific evils that have occurred in human history. Among those evils, the assignment of many human beings to hell ranks high. If the Calvinist account of … Continue reading

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Olson’s “No” to divine determinism

The Calvinist doctrine of meticulous providence In the fourth chapter of Roger Olson’s book, Against Calvinism, he addresses the Calvinistic doctrine of divine providence, drawing upon the writings of Zwingli, Calvin, Edwards, R. C. Sproul, Boettner, Helm, and Piper. He finds a common overall model in their works: God is meticulously sovereign in that “everything down to the minutest details of history and individual lives, including persons’ thoughts and actions, are foreordained and rendered certain … Continue reading

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Roger Olson – Against Calvinism 2

Responding to the “flaws” of the new Calvinism In the first chapter of Roger Olson’s book, Against Calvinism, he explains why he wrote the book now. After many years of struggling with enthusiasts of Calvinism, the rise of the “young, restless, reformed phenomenon,” described by Colin Hansen in 2006 in an article in Christianity Today, and later at greater length in his book, has galvanized Roger’s writing this book now. Roger sees the roots of … Continue reading

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