“Can a person be said to freely choose in the context of necessity? Are there any non-necessary choices ever made?“
Some said that that “free will, meaning the ability to determine the nature of the choices made, is the basis of moral good and evil.” But Edwards thought was that the “will does not determine choices, it selects among available choices. It is not a self-determining power.”
“Does Edwards’ doctrine make God the author of sin? Did not God cause Adam to sin when He withdrew preserving mercies from him? Edwards indicates that God left Adam after he fell [(3:382), but was there not a departure before Adam’s sin as well as in consequence of Adam’s sin? Were there two types of departures from Adam? Has Edwards really presented us with an explanation of how Adam fell? Are you comfortable with saying that God withheld His grace, needful to prevent sinning, and, thereby, is not the author of sin? Edwards is willing to say that God is the author of sin in the sense that He is the cause of everything that happens. However, God did not infuse an evil propensity into Adam so as to cause an evil action; He withdrew from him [a deprivation view, 3:381]. God permits evil in this manner; He is not the cause of it.”
I’m reading A Theology of Christian Counseling by Jay Adams for a class – he says this: “By counsel (he didn’t decide to do it on his own) Adam named the animals. By counsel he dressed the garden. By counsel he learned of the trees in the garden and the proper use of them (as well as the possible consequences of misuse). All this came after creation, to a man who was made to be dependent on God’s counsel for all his life, who was capable of being changed and developed by that counsel…But something happened that led to the misery we have already mentioned: man turned from God’s counsel to heed Satan’s counsel” (p. 3).
I read that and really had a problem with the wording – “counsel”. I mean, really, is that what was going on? Was God “counseling” Adam not to eat of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t that a COMMAND?
Adams then goes on to say, “Man has no counsel that is strictly “his own” (John 8:34-44). If he rejects God’s counsel, whatever counsel he follows instead turns out to be Satan’s counsel” (p. 5).
But is it true that men cannot think up evil by himself, without the aid of the devil? Does that mean that EVERY evil thing I do is because I got the idea from the devil? What about my heart? Doesn’t James say I am the source of my sin?
The only time I found a verse talking about God’s counsel was in Job 15:8 – is says this: “Do you hear the secret counsel of God, And limit wisdom to yourself?”
I’m having trouble seeing Adams’ point of view…it seems like he has a subject and is proof texting an idea that he made up. Why not just be Biblical? Is the Bible not enough? Why should I say “counsel” when the Bible clearly shows that it was a command?
And why should I blame the devil for all the evil I do, when the Bible makes it clear that I am evil and need no help?
Sorry, I’m a little tired, and ranting – but I had to dump it somewhere :)
Freedom is the ability to choose what you please based on the options available to you.
Freedom is not the ability to act contrary to willingness – what we find pleasure in is dictated by our nature.
Sin is not voluntary because all men sin.
There must be a cause to sin because all sin – for if we sin voluntarily then some must not sin, but because all sin, it is therefore not voluntary – for there cannot be an uncaused cause (except God).
Helping Question: If sin is voluntary, why do infants (who do not sin by choice) die?