Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Of Posses, Piccares, and Freedoms

Did Adam have libertarian free will prior to the fall? Paul helps to clear some confusion.


  1. A very well written and agreeable post, but I am having some trouble attempting to leave a comment.

  2. This (orgininal sin) came up in our SS class recently. I always have trouble figuring out why many people don't have the slightest problem with propositions like "I'm a human, I can't breathe underwater without a machine", and "I'm a human, so I can't fly without an aircraft."

    But when you say "I'm human, therefore I can't desire God without assistance from Him", they get all bent out of shape. It occured to me that the author of the post is re-casting the definition of LFW in terms of only the sin nature, and I'm not sure that's a legitmate way to address the issue, if you can just re-define a key term and get out of the argument. Do LFW-ers really define it this way?

    Is it his position that Adam could have desired God without the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and in fact did so for a period of time, and then no longer did? By your definition, pre-lapsarian human has LFW, but fallen human and glorified human do not? That just doesn't sit well with me, I'll have to ponder that.

  3. Jonah,

    I didn't see my view in your re-casting of it, at all. First, I never defined "LFW." Second, I said one could have LFW with a "sin nature." I'm also scratching my head at your comment about Adam and the holy spirit, etc. Moreover, on my def., pre-lapsarian humans don't have LFW. I argued against that view. So I'm not sure my post was understood.

  4. Okay, I was a tad confused. You did argue against Adam having LFW, which I agree with, his being human and all. That's all my comment about the HS meant, just saying it differently.

    What I took issue with was one could have LFW with a "sin nature." This I do disagree with, and it led to my belief that you must be trying to re-define LFW. If Adam can't have LFW even not having a sin nature, how can the rest of us have it with one?

    I think the answer may lie in your statments about God's decreeing a person's actions in accordance with their nature, and that you deny compatibilism (I missed that before). I'll go over it again.

  5. Jonah,

    Did you mean you "agree with" my argument against Adam's having LFW, or that you agree he had LFW? It was a bit ambiguous.

    I also don't think we *do* have LFW with sinful natures, but that's not because we have sinful natures, it's because of God's decree, providence, foreknowledge, etc.

    In fact, I am not redefining LFW but I suspect you have some kind of Reformed caricature of it in mind. You may think a sinful nature rules out LFW, but my post raised objections to this. So does my essay on free will in Reformed thought:


    So, Adam doesn't have LFW in light of God's decrees, providence, and foreknowledge. Same with us. Same reason for both of us. Just because one must choose sinful things doesn't mean that each particular sinful choice is determined. Indeed, there may be a *range* of sinful options from which the LFW sinner has to choose from. He could therefore only choose sinful things but also have the power to bring about any option in his range of choices and he could choose another option than he chose even given identical pasts. That's why the sin nature argument some Reformed have been fond of using doesn't work.

    Lastly, I don't deny compatibilism; in fact, I affirmed it.

  6. OOOOO! Thanks for the link to your paper. I suspect this may answer my questions.

    Oh and for the record, I was agreeing that Adam did not have LFW.

  7. Hi Paul. Hopefully you'll see this question:

    Do you have any theory as to what could have been the temptation which caused the first sin? In the case of Adam and Eve, Satan was the tempter. But who or what could have tempted Satan, and what implications might this have on the disposition with which Satan was concreated?