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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « Evangelism and the Extent of the Atonement | Main | Nor the Son: Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 »

    Libertarian Freedom Does Not Hold Up Under Scrutiny

    Libertarian free will is the assertion that we all have the freedom to choose otherwise. It declares that we are able to perform some other action in place of the one that is actually done, and this is not predetermined by any prior circumstances, our desires or even our affections. In other words, our choices are free from the determination or the constraints of human nature.

    Now this seems like a very odd belief given that it can be so easily overthrown even with the most simple observation:

    The fact that no man can choose to live a sinless life is proof positive that he has no free will. He is held captive under the yoke of sin and thus he sins willingly and of necessity ... and he cannot do otherwise.

    In the Bible, the word "freedom" is defined in relation to sin. But since fallen man sins of necessity, and cannot do otherwise, he is not free. In the Gospel of John 8:34-36 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." So if the natural man has a free will to believe the gospel, as libertarians claim, then why does he need grace? If his will is naturally free then it would do away with the need for grace altogether...To teach that the natural man has a free will actually overthrows the gospel ... it is precisely because man is in bondage that he needs Christ to set him free." (John 8:34, 36)

    We must ask why can't we live a sinless life? What is stopping us? Answer: Because the will and affections of fallen man are in bondage to a corruption of nature. Our sin nature makes it so our "chooser" is broken, so to speak. In our fallen nature, we choose what we desire and love most, which is sin, such that we sin of necessity. And if by necessity then it is in bondage. Nothing an unbeliever does, even good works, springs from a heart that loves God. No one is coercing fallen man to sin ... he does so naturally and cannot do otherwise.

    Libertarians teach that 'salvation depends on human will', but the Bible teaches (and I quote) that 'it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." (Rom 9:16) Libertarians teach that '...as many as believed were ordained to eternal life.' but The Bible teaches (and I quote) 'AND AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED' (Acts 13:48). Grace is not a reward for faith, but the cause of it.

    Is there anything we can do apart from grace?" (John 15:5). When your synergistic friend says "no" then show him his inconsistency. If all people have prevenient grace, (as Arminians assert) then why does one person believe the gospel and not another? Is it the grace of Christ which makes them to differ or not? Or do they attribute their repenting and believing to their own wisdom, humility and good sense, and NOT to the grace of Christ ALONE.

    "...no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit." - 1 Corinthians 12:3

    Related Essay
    Eleven (11) Reasons to Reject Libertarian Free Will
    A critique of "Why I am not a Calvinist" by Jerry Walls and Joseph Dongell
    by John W. Hendryx

    Posted by John on February 19, 2012 04:57 PM

    Comments

    It is unbelievable that any Christian could consider libertarian free will to be a true and valid statement of human ability. As you mention, not only does it mean that mankind should be able to exercise a free choice not to sin, but it also mean that they believe in uncaused events, a logical absurdity.

    It also looks a lot like Pelagianism, to be honest.

    I don't understand how my inability to choose to live a sinless life proves I don't have free will? I cannot choose to be a dog any more than I can choose to live a sinless live. Both are physically impossible and neither proves whether I have free will or not.

    @Michelle,

    Actually, living a sinless life is not a physical impossibility, but a moral impossibility. Therefore you are responsible for failing to live up to it. You would not be responsible for physically being unable to fly. God would never punish you for that. But he punishes those who sin against him, because we are responsible for not living up to his commands. Our inability to obey God's commands is like an immense debt we cannot repay. Our inability to repay a debt does not alleviate us of the responsibility to do so. If you borrow $10 to start a company and instead squander it in a week of wild living in Vegas, your inability to repay does not alleviate you of the responsibility to do so. Likewise our inability to repay our sin debt to God does not alleviate us of responsibility. He still requires it of us to the last penny. But thanks be to God for Jesus Christ who lived the sinless life I should have lived and died the death I justly deserve. He mercifully paid all our debts.

    Given your logic, God would not have the right to punish us for sin.

    So the statement is not illogical "The fact that no man can choose to live a sinless life is proof positive that he has no free will. He is held captive under the yoke of sin and thus he sins willingly and of necessity. And cannot do otherwise." --- this is both logical and biblical. That which is in bondage is not free, until Christ sets us free.

    Good word John. Thanks for all you do.

    If I may make a suggestion. Buy a copy of John Frame's, "No Other God." It is an eye-opener.

    Did Christ have free human will or no? If so where did he get it?
    :-)

    Canadian,

    Good question....

    Note: The Bible defines freedom relative to sin

    in John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

    Jesus Christ was born of the Holy Spirit and yes he was born without a sin nature, and so lived a life without sin so, by definition, He did have a free will (in this sense). But since God is NOT ABLE to sin He is not free in the libertarian (philosophical) sense. Libertarian freedom demands that we can do otherwise. God is holy by nature so he is not "free" to be unholy, if that can be called freedom. To be truly free is the be free from sin altogether.

    Jesus will was not in bondage to the yoke of sin (by nature). He is free so can set the captives free.

    John

    John,
    Thanks for your response.
    Adam was not sinful by nature and he sinned. Nature did not compel Adam to sin, but rather choice of will. God is redeemer and creator not by a necessity of his nature but of will. Both Adam and God could have done otherwise.
    The human will is a faculty of Nature and not Person, so Christ assumed that human faculty from his mother, as it existed in her. Therefore, he received his free human will from her by nature.
    You seem to imply Christ's humanity, and his will specifically was different from ours which would violate Chalcedon's "without change". He is consubstantial with us according to his humanity. Natures do not sin, persons do. Sin is not natural, but personal. If our nature is totally depraved, then so was the nature Christ assumed without change, which is impossible. Christ assumed fallen (he could die) but not sinful human nature. If our will is not free, then Christ's divinity overrode, overwhelmed,forced, or replaced his assumed human will, but this was long ago condemned as the monothelite heresy. The sixth Council affirms his human will freely and without force obeys the divine will as is seen in Gethsemane. Christ must have a freely functioning human nature, will and energy or he is not consubstantial us and there is no salvation. The reason he does not sin is because He is not a human person, but a divine Person and personally uses both the divine and human wills that subsist in him, freely. We, however, are fallen human persons and use our free natural faculty of will to act against nature and against God (sin).
    So, though we have free will, it cannot save us. Salvation is of the Lord. But our human faculties are fully operative in relation to God, as Christ's are. Nature needs grace (both pre and post-fall, but grace does not destroy or replace nature....if it does then our Christology and hence our salvation is destroyed.

    Canadian

    First, I fully concur with you that Christ must have a freely functioning human nature, will and energy or he is not consubstantial us and there is no salvation. I could not agree more and never said otherwise. The full humanity of Jesus is a necessity if He is to represent us for our salvation.

    Adam was not sinful by nature but also he was not sealed in righteousness like glorified saints, who cannot sin. As many theologians have rightly said, Adam was "able to sin and able not to sin." The fallen person is "not able not to sin" --- which means he cannot freely believe in Christ or live a sinless life apart from supernatural grace (as the Bible so frequently testifies.). Nothing he does comes from a heart which loves God. The glorified saints who are with God are "not able to sin". And God himself is not able to sin.

    you said, >>>You seem to imply Christ's humanity, and his will specifically was different from ours which would violate Chalcedon's "without change".

    Never did imply anything of the sort. Jesus is fully human and without sin but He was filled with the Holy Spirit. According to the Bible, the natural man does not have the Holy Spirit. And if a person does not have the Holy Spirit indwelling them, they are not Christians (Rom. 8:9). Therefore the natural man (and I quote the Bible) "cannot obey God" (Rom 8:7) cannot understand spiritual truth and thinks it is foolish (1 Cor 2:14) There was never a time when Jesus fit this description. Are you trying to say that there was a time when Jesus was not indwelt by the Holy Spirit and therefore had his mind set on the flesh and was hostile to God (Rom 8:7) and could not understand God? I think you will need to re-think your paradigm if you do.

    According to the Bible the Holy Spirit was active in Jesus from the time of his conception on. That is one way He is truly different than other men. None of us were born with the fullness of the Spirit. But ONLY when we are regenerated or born again, the Holy Spirit turns our heart of stone to a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26) that we desire to believe and obey (John 6:63-65). Otherwise you would have to say that Jesus fit the description of the person in Rom 8:7 and 1 Cor 2:14, which would be absurd.

    You are right to say people are not their natures, but natures determine our affections and how we will respond. If by nature I am without the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9), as the Bible says of natural men, then I would not understand spiritual truth and will reject it.

    The bible nowhere teaches that man has a free will. Otherwise he would be able to believe in Jesus apart from any work of the Holy Spirit. But Jesus himself declares that no one can believe in him unless God grants it (John 6:65).

    Are you saying that man is free to believe in Jesus apart from a supernatural intervention of grace by the Holy Spirit?

    There are two types of people in the world, those with the Holy Spirit and those without. This makes all the difference in the choices they make. Left to himself, apart from the Spirit, no man would come to Christ. The Bible declares it.

    John,
    You said: "As many theologians have rightly said, Adam was "able to sin and able not to sin."

    Calvinism entails the divine decree and necessary resulting fall of Adam, so it seems inconsistent to say it was possible for Adam "not to sin" against that decree.

    You also seem to attribute Christ's sinlessness to the Holy Spirit but this confuses two divine Persons and minimizes the fact that Jesus is himself a divine Person and cannot sin for this reason. You make our nature (the exact same one Christ assumes) a "sinful nature" (misstranslation of sarx in NIV) and yet Christ's human nature IS our nature assumed from Mary! He did not change the nature he assumed so human nature is not sinful. Your anthropology does not match your Christology.

    You said: "You are right to say people are not their natures, but natures determine our affections and how we will respond."

    Adam's nature did not determine his choice for and affection for evil. God's nature did not determine he create or redeem. A classic argument of the monothelite's was that what is natural is compelled.

    You said: "The bible nowhere teaches that man has a free will."

    On this view even Adam, Christ and the glorified saints do not have free will. This Reformed paradigm is why I am hoping to have you be consistent and apply this to Christ, as we are consubstantial with him, to see if it holds up. Our anthropology must proceed from Christology. In Gethsemene, and all of his life, Christ's human will freely is employed by his divine Person without resistance. Our resistance is not from our nature but in our personal use of our free faculty of will. The divine person of Christ employs his human will divinely. We employ our human will as human persons with deliberation and confusion about what is the true good. But our natural will cannot be inoperative in relation to God or so was Christ's natural human will which he assumed from us.
    Our nature is fallen, corrupted, mortal and as Romans 5 states death passes from Adam to all his posterity (not the guilt of sin). Christ assumes all of this but does not assume sin because it is personal and not natural.What is not assumed is not healed and he heals our corruption, grants immortality and tramples death by his death, but sin is not healed it is forgiven. Man is free to come to God for salvation, but he is not free to save himself. Human will and energy is required in both Christology and our participation in Christ.
    Here's a couple old posts by Perry Robinson discussing these issues. The first how Pelagians and the Reformed are both monergists and the second a response to Steve Hays from Triablogue on many of these issues.
    http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/we-have-met-the-enemy/#more-453

    http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/more-jedi-mind-tricks/
    Lord have mercy.
    Pax Christi

    Canadian,

    In your two posts with your wild and contradictory accusations that I am minimizing BOTH Jesus' humanity and His deity, you avoided my question:

    Can a natural person come to faith in Jesus Christ apart from grace? Apart form the work of the Holy Spirit?

    You partially answer it when you say, "Man is free to come to God for salvation."

    This is simply wrong and contradicts Jesus own words. Jesus himself declares that no one can believe in him unless God grants it (John 6:65) and all who the Father grants, will believe (John 6:37)

    Your statement minimizes Christ's role in our coming to him. Fact is, He not only justifies us when we come to faith but also raises us from the death of sin by his regenerating Spirit to bring us to faith. In your view, it appears, Christ is necessary, but not sufficient. But. on the contrary, Christ provides EVERYTHING we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe. Salvation is ALL of Christ.

    Keep to the subject please. yes or no will do.

    Solus Christus
    John


    John,
    I stated that we absolutely need grace. What you seem to miss though is the correlation between us and Christ and how it affects all this.
    If our NATURE is dead and totally depraved, then so was Christ's because he had OUR NATURE! But this is heresy. Reformed anthropology takes away the operation of our NATURE in relation to God. If Christ needs to jump-start, resurrect, change, coerce, force our NATURE in salvation, then he must have done the same to his own humanity....again, heresy. Your scriptural references do not apply consistently in your paradigm as I have alluded.

    Canadian,

    You just contradicted yourself. You declared that man absolutely needs grace. But the need for grace, by definition, does away with free will altogether. By acknowledging the need for grace you show that you AGREE with me that man has no free will. These concepts are one and the same. Man will not come to Christ unless God grants favor and works grace in him. That is the whole issue. Jesus Christ accomplishes ALL our salvation not just some of it. Be consistent. Either we need grace and have no free will, or we have free will and don't need grace to come to Christ but can do so apart from any of his help. Without grace can you come to Christ? (John 6:63,65) If no, then why not? What is stopping you?

    Do you believe natural men are born with the Holy Spirit? What do you make of 2 Cor 2:14 and the whole chapter for that matter, and many passages like it? Given your logic, this description would apply to Christ as well. That is the the real heresy here, not mine.

    I do not own your description of Christ as being totally depraved because we are. You can spin your extra-biblical unaided logic all you want, but I reject it outright. Christ is fully man and fully God ... your unaided philosophy notwithstanding.

    Christ being God was already full of grace to begin with. He did not need to "jump start" anything. We were not. So your argument falls completely flat.

    If grace does away with free will, then for you Jesus did not have free will because he was full of grace and truth. If grace by definition does away with free will, then you think grace destroys or replaces nature, this is just the reverse monergism of Pelagianism which nature replaces or IS grace.
    The concepts you espouse are not one and the same, as the ancient Council's and proper Christology make clear.

    You're beginning point in your posts always reverts to the Reformed starting point....man and his problem and ventures out from there. Yet we begin with the consummate man, Christ Jesus and find proper anthropology from there. This is why the ancient Councils did not deal with the heretics by endlessly lobbing scripture verse against scripture verse, but rather asked a question of every view point they encountered.....what does this do to Christ our God?
    Your dialectic between grace and free will (nature) is unnecessary, untenable and destroys Christ (Christology).
    Grace is the uncreated life of God himself and not a created status only in reference to sin (created grace you got primarily from Aquinas).

    I am not saying Christ is totally depraved. But that would be the necessary result of your attributing total depravity to our humanity. I am saying that Christ is not totally depraved yet you locate total depravity in the nature he assumed from us. How do you exempt him from something you attribute to human nature? None of your scriptural forays have addressed this. And that is why I am not getting into a verse war here, it's pointless unless you see your underlying presuppositions about nature, grace, will, and energy.
    The fact that we are not full of the Holy Spirit and need salvation defends the Orthodox and ancient Conciliar position and not yours, as you deny nature (will and energy) to us in relation to God and replace it with grace "jump starting" our dead nature in us!
    You end up with one will in Christ (monotheletism) if you take away free will from our nature.
    If you read the links I sent, you will not have to deal with my stumbling and stammering and inept means of communicating :-)
    Grace and peace.

    John,

    If Adam was not impeccable before the fall and could choose between alternatives, then how is it the case that he did not fulfill the conditions on libertarian free will?

    Thanks

    Perry

    Before the fall (in his created nature) man was not sealed in righteousness but was ABLE TO SIN AND ABLE NOT TO SIN. His choice was free from the bondage to sin but not free from the deception of it.

    But when we speak of the natural man NOT having a free will we are speaking of the condition of man AFTER the fall when sin has taken him captive (2 Tim 2:25; 1 Cor 2:14). After the fall, due to a corruption of nature, man by necessity is NOT ABLE NOT TO SIN (so his will be not free) IN this condition man cannot come to Jesus Christ apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, which is clear evidence that he doe snot have a free will but needs to be broken out of captivity by the grace of God if he is to believe in Christ.

    Further, Adam may have been free from sin but he was not free from the decree of God ... so he did not have free will in the libertarian sense. His choices were voluntary and not coerced ... but they were certain. In Classic Arminianism, Orthodox, and for other synergists it is the same. In their scheme, since God has exhaustive foreknowledge of all that comes to pass and He knew how everything would take place even before He created it (by definition) the future was fixed and therefore could not otherwise be free in the libertarian sense. It would be silly to say that God foreknew who would not believe the gospel before He created them and then to claim that God is trying to save every man. God would be "wasting his time" so to speak to be trying to do something He knew would never take place. The only true consistent libertarians are Open Theists who are outside the bounds of Christianity. Others (who claim to be libertarians) cannot consistently hold to this idea within their theological system. But it should be obvious to all that the fall of man did not take God by surprise - he knew it would happen even before he created man, and could have made the world differently if he willed ... and therefore could not have been otherwise.

    Anyone who says we need grace to believe the gospel also does not believe in libertarian free will since the need for grace does away with free will by definition. If the will is naturally free in the libertarian sense then there would be no need for God to do anything for people when we pray for them. They could come on their own power, apart from the Holy Spirit.

    God and the glorified saints (who are sealed in righteousness) have been set completely free from sin and are now NOT ABLE TO SIN which ironically is the most free. Notice how the MOST free persons (God and the glorified saints) have no free will in the libertarian sense. Their inability to sin accomplishes this. Therefore we can conclude that libertarianism is an imported philosophical construct and not based on a biblical grid, ...since as we know, the Bible always defines freedom in relation to sin. For example when Jesus says, "if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed" (John 8) he is discussing freedom in the context of sin, not freedom in any libertarian sense of the word.

    Solus Christus
    John

    John,

    OK, so prior to the fall, Adam did not have free will in a libertarian sense on your view.
    So he was not able to not sin, is that correct? You write that he was not free because of the divine decree. Where in your view does the Bible speak of a decree predestinating Adam to sin?

    I agree with exhaustive foreknowledge, but since knowing isn’t the same thing as causing, the issue is not whether future actions are fixed but what is the fix-maker for them. God knows his own actions, but his own actions aren’t determined or are they?

    Given that God is impeccable, does God enjoy libertarian freedom? Is God the source of his own actions and does he choose between alternatives?

    Hi Perry

    As for whether God has libertarian freedom I think I answered this in my previous post in the last paragraph. Maybe you did not read it. Of course God DOES NOT have libertarian freedom ... He is not able to sin ... therefore He does not have the "freedom" to choose otherwise. To declare that God has libertarian freedom would be tantamount to saying that he is morally able to be both holy and unholy if he so chooses. But as I mentioned, the Bible does not define freedom in the libertarian sense but defines freedom in relation to sin. So in the Bible those who are MOST free (like God and the glorified saints) are those who are free FROM sin altogether which means they have ZERO "freedom" in the libertarian sense. Therefore we must conclude decisively that libertarianism is an imported philosophical construct and not based on on biblical presuppositions. And since it contradicts the Bible, it is demonstrated to be wrong. For it would be actually heretical to say God has freedom in the libertarian sense.

    Again, when Jesus is speaking of "freedom" he uses biblical presuppositions --- in John 8 he says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

    So Jesus defines freedom, not in the libertarian sense but defines it as those who have been set free from from sin's captivity. So the saint's ultimate freedom, according to Scripture, is to be set free FROM the very idea of libertarianism (the ability to sin). Those who practice sin are called slaves (Not free) That is why the historical discussion surround the concept of the will in the church has been about bondage to sin and not the discussion of libertarianism which is not a biblical category but rather in imported philosophical category. But as Christians, IMHO, we should be discussing freedom the way the Bible does since it is the Bible which creates the basis of our highest presuppositions ...not philosophy.

    Perry as for your other question about the divine decree, the Bible makes clear that God ordains all that comes to pass according to the counsel of His sovereign will (Eph 1:11 among other passages). This means "All" things, not some things. There is nothing that takes him by surprise. The Bible also says he is holy. His motives in ordaining things like the crucifixion (the most evil event in history) were good while to motives of those who crucified him were evil. So God ordained the sin sinlessly. He is God so He can obviously do this, even if you cannot understand how. The Bible declares that he ordained it in Acts 2 &4) and it also declares that he is holy. So we embrace both. He does not call us to pry into the mysteries and find out how he does it. Only that we accept Him at His word.

    "...both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." (Acts 4:27-28)

    Isaiah 53:10 says, "Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him..."

    Again libertarianism makes no sense. if God can look into the future (before creation) and see that person P will come to faith in Christ, and that person Q will not come to faith in Christ, then those facts are already fixed. Since we know God's knowledge is always true then their lives could not turn out differently no matter what. And then YOU ask a good question >>> But by what are these destinies determined? Answer: If they are determined by God himself, then we no longer have election based ultimately on foreknowledge of faith, but rather on God's sovereign will. But if these destinies are not determined by God, then who or what determines them? Certainly no Christian would say that there is some powerful being other than God controlling people's destinies. Therefore the only other solution is to say they are determined by some impersonal force, some kind of fate, operative in the universe, making things turn out as they do. But what kind of benefit is this? We have then sacrificed election in love by a personal God for a kind of determinism by an impersonal force and God is no longer to be given the ultimate credit for our salvation.

    This is really a fatal inconsistent error of the Arminian and Orthodox view of exhaustive foreknowledge since it the contradict their own libertarian view of freedom. If the choice is certain and cannot be otherwise, even before that person was created, then the choice is not free in the libertarian sense. The ONLY consistent libertarians, therefore, are Open Theists who make God ignorant of the future. They have seen the Arminian error here but instead of looking to the Bible which declares that salvation is by Christ ALONE, they turn to philosophical answers to protect their free will idol and sacrifice God on the alter by making him ignorant of the future.

    SDG
    John

    John,

    If God does not have LFW, then is it the case in your view that Creation is a voluntary but necessary act of God’s?

    Second, it may be true that everyone who is able to sin is able to do otherwise, but how does the converse follow, namely, that everyone that is able to do otherwise is therefore able to sin? Suppose God has LFW with respect to creation. He can choose to create and he can choose not to create. Which of these options would be sinful in your judgment?

    If the Bible defines freedom in relation to sin then either God is not free since he existed prior to and apart from sin or he can sin. Is there some other option you can provide?

    I grant that God ordains all that comes to pass, but does ordain mean deterministically cause? Is there some philosophical theory that is necessarily picked out by that phraseology? For example, Augustine says God ordains all things but he does not cause all things. In any case, if Adam was determined to fall, then on your view he didn’t act according to his nature, is that right?

    Lastly, if as you said Adam couldn’t do otherwise, then why say as you did earlier that he could choose to sin or choose not to sin? Were you misspeaking there?

    Perry

    God always acts according to His nature, so His choices are always holy, always true, right. All acts of God, whatever they are, will be according to his character, and they cannot not otherwise. (so they cannot by definition be libertarian) Ultimately all choices are moral choices (not neutral), so God will always act according to His nature. That is why we can trust his promises ... The libertarian argument suffers a fatal wound at this point for obvious reasons.

    I think I have already demonstrated that LFW does not exist. It is an unbiblical philosophical reading into Scripture. It is pure conjecture and created to fit a system of theology rather than something read out of Scripture.

    Since it appears you nay believe in libertarian freedom with relation to God then apparently you affirm that He can "freely choose" to sin or not to sin, at His leisure. If you believe in libertarian freedom then your really need to re-think your theology. Because this dives in head first into a heretical view of God.

    Your second question contained a sentence with a faulty premise so the entire question is problematic. You said, "it may be true that everyone who is able to sin is able to do otherwise..."

    Well, this is not true. Fact is, people who sin ARE UNABLE to do otherwise. Augustine even said, the the post fall man is "not able not to sin." Consider that natural man's so called "good works" do not spring from a heart that loves God so his motives always fall short of God's glory. The unregenerate man "loves darkness and hates the light" (John 3:19, 20). So this is a non-question.

    I agree that God ordains all that comes to pass but this often means He does many things through second causes. But they are certain to come to pass. Isaiah 53 "It was God's will to bruise the Him" is certain to come to pass. So the Bible declares in no uncertain terms that God ordained the crucifixion. But he did it thought secondary means.

    You asked, "Adam could choose to sin or choose not to sin? Were you misspeaking there?"

    Again in his nature as a created being he was given liberty to sin or not to sin. In his probationary state he was not sealed in righteousness so he was able to sin and able not to sin (by nature). In other words, Adam was free (unlike us) from the bondage to a sin nature, but He was NOT FREE from God's decree nor free from sin's deception. God created him as good but left him unsealed so that he could sin. He chose it voluntarily. So I was not misspeaking... There are OTHER deterministic reasons why something necessarily comes to pass besides man's nature.

    Best not to go beyond what is written. Good talking with you Perry. I have a family so will have to end the conversation here.

    Solus Christus
    John