We can define free will this way: free will is not the ability to freely choose good or evil, but rather the fact that people can voluntarily and not under compulsion. Such a definition seems almost self-evident. Why should such a small matter be given such a profound title? This is an admirable freedom that … Continue reading Blogging the Institutes | 2.1.7 | Free Will is Prone to Misunderstanding
All Christian theologians will admit that free will does not enable people to do good works unless they are assisted by God's grace, specifically, the grace which the elect receive through regeneration. Do not even consider the views of those who say that grace is offered equally and lavishly to all (Lomb. lib. 2 Dist. … Continue reading Blogging the Institutes | 2.1.6 | More Views on Free Will Considered
In general, most Christian theologians who believe in free will do not believe that people can save themselves. They believe that truly righteous living must come from God's grace and spiritual regeneration. For example, the author of the work, On the Calling of the Gentiles, describes the will as threefold: sensitive, animal, and spiritual. The … Continue reading Blogging the Institutes | 2.1.5 | Different Kinds of Free Will According to Some Christians
Through church history, all Christian theologians have acknowledged that human reason was seriously injured by sin. Moreover, they also taught that the human will was entangled by evil desires. Unfortunately, too many of them took the same approach as the non-Christian philosophers. Some of the ancient Christian writers appear to me to have exalted human … Continue reading Blogging the Institutes | 2.1.4 | Early Christian Views on Free Will
Some non-Christian writers will admit the limits of human reason due to their own experiences. They might have at one time failed to resist the lure of temptation, or have been duped by some false religion, or have been controlled by their emotions instead of rational thoughts. For this reason, Cicero says that the sparks … Continue reading Blogging the Institutes | 2.1.3 | Non-Christians Denigrate Sin and Elevate Reason
Some people raise another objection to God's complete sovereignty over all things. They argue that if God not only uses the wicked's actions to accomplish his purpose, but actually governs their thoughts and affections, then God must be the author of all their sins. And, therefore, when people are merely executing what God has decreed, … Continue reading Blogging the Institutes | 1.18.4 | Is God the Author of Evil?
I have written about what Scripture unambiguously teaches. Those who disagree with what I have written need to realize the kind of rebuke they deserve. What greater arrogance could there be than to disagree with the authority of God? For instance, to say "I think about things differently" or "This topic should have be broached." … Continue reading Blogging the Institutes | 1.18.3 | Objections to the Fact that God Wills All Things
Solomon declares that the Lord turns the heart of a king wherever he wants it to go (Proverbs 21:1). What applies to the king certainly also applies to the whole human race. God must direct whatever we conceive of in our minds. If God did not work internally in the minds of people, then Scripture … Continue reading Blogging the Institutes | 1.18.2 | Even the Wicked Do His Will
Some Scriptures indicate that God uses Satan for his purpose. Not only does God use Satan, but also all the reprobate and wicked. It can be difficult to understand how God remains free of the stain of sin when he uses them for his purpose. He also remains exempt from all guilt, yet he himself … Continue reading Blogging the Institutes | 1.18.1 | Does God Permit or Decree All Things?
God's providence provides solid instruction and comfort for believers. Yet for those who don't believe, discussions of God's providence will never answer all of their questions or provide satisfying answers for them. So trying to conclusively prove these things to them is probably a fool's errand. Nevertheless, there are some Scriptures which seem to teach … Continue reading Blogging the Institutes | 1.17.12-14 | Does God Change His Mind?