11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.The argument is, roughly, that the passage speaks about the live possibility of a Christian either succumbing to or resisting temptation to sin. That's what "way out" apparently means, and thus we have confirmation of live alternative possibilities that could both obtain even given identical world-histories up to the succumbing or resisting.
There's been several responses to this argument. One is to simply engage in exegesis and show that the passage does not intend to teach, instruct, or otherwise endorse exotic metaphysical views such as libertarianism. Another is to engage in exegesis and argue that the text actually supports perseverance of the saints, a key Calvinist tenet. Another is to point out that the metaphysical interpretation is redundant and silly, for if metaphysical libertarianism is true, then Paul's claim is curious given that he says God provides the "alternative possibilities." For on (most forms of) libertarianism, open futures and forking paths are simply part of the structure of what is required of the view; hence, God is not needed to create alternative possibilities (whatever that means, anyway), and "God will provide a way out" becomes otiose.
But here's another wrench to throw into the mix. Arminians typically view the temptations as fairly expansive, covering many different cases of temptation to sin. Himes says
[I]f this paper’s interpretation of 1 Cor 10:13 is correct, one must assert that a believer, no matter what the situation, has the ability to choose not to sin (since God does not allow the temptation to get to the point where the end result is, by necessity, sin). Since Christians sin, if they have the power/ ability not to sin at any given situation (regardless of their current value scale), then they must possess the power of contrary choice. In other words, Christians, in the face of temptation, possess libertarian freedom. ("When a Christian Sins," JETS 54.2 (June 2011) 329–44, emphasis mine)I assume this is rather standard Arminian fare. Here's a problem (a big problem to my mind) such an interpretation raises. In order to avoid making their position look completely ridiculous and out of touch with empirical reality, sophisticated libertarians admit that there are cases when agents "can't do otherwise," even on libertarianism. Here's a paradigm case: Drinker Dale occasionally gets drunk. When he does, he cannot avoid the temptation to pass by a strip club if he drives by one and sees it. His will is weakened, and he gives into his baser desires. When drunk, he lacks the relevant control to avoid his akratic action, and thus cannot avoid the temptation. Dale is morally blameworthy, though.
The above is consistent with libertarianism. How so? They appeal to the concept of "tracing" and "will-setting." That is, Dale is responsible in the above scenario if and only if we can trace his decision to get drunk to some prior free and morally responsible choice. Suppose he's also a drunk. It's his character, and he cannot will otherwise (if things remain the same, sans interventions, etc). He's responsible for this character just in case he made a prior free and responsible decision (or set of decisions) that set his will this way. Thus, while he does not have the relevant control needed for making a free and responsible decision when drunk, he is responsible if and only if we can trace his character and action back to a prior free and responsible libertarian choice.
Cases like Dale's are so ubiquitous that all libertarians admit them and offer something like the above analysis to maintain a hold on responsibility. And we do not need cases of alcoholism or drug use to make the point. Someone could render themselves literally unable to do otherwise given certain current reasons and character traits he has (Robert Kane likes to speak of Martin Luther's claim that "He could do no other"). But for this to be consistent with the metaphysical apparatuses required by libertarianism, they appeal to a similar story as above. As libertarian Robert Kane says of someone like this:
If his act did issue from his existing character, then his moral accountability for it would depend on whether he was responsible by virtue of earlier choices and actions for being the sort of person he had become at that time. . . .Often we act from a will already formed, but it is 'our own free will' by virtue of the fact that we formed it by other choices and actions in our past for which we could have done otherwise" (A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will (Oxford, 2006), p. 82, emphasis original).That the above is standard libertarian fare could easily be substantiated beyond Kane. I'll cite two more libertarians to this effect, but I'll kill two birds with one stone since both of them authored the same paper! Kevin Timpe and Tim Pawl discuss the problem of libertarian free will in conjunction with our inability to sin in heaven. They offer what I take to be the most plausible route for the libertarian to take, i.e., the above tracing and will-setting approach. In the course of the paper they discuss Sennett's position, characterizing it thus,
Agents can, however, use their free will [on earth] to form their moral characters in such a way that they are determined to act in certain ways. So long as the moral character that determines them was itself freely formed, Sennett does not think that this sort of self-imposed determinism rules out free will. In fact, it is along precisely these lines that Sennett understands heavenly freedom. After death, the redeemed in heaven are determined by their own freely formed character in such a way that certain choices and actions are no longer possible.They remark on Sennett's position thus,
It seems reasonable to think that there are some actions that are determined, but have not always been determined. For instance, given the moral character of a person—let’s call her Teresa—it might be true that she is determined not to swindle money from a homeless shelter in order to pay for a luxurious vacation for herself insofar as she sees no good or motivating reason for engaging in such behavior. She hasn’t always had that character, however; perhaps at some earlier time she would have been open to embezzling. And, on the assumption of incompatibilism, she wasn’t causally determined to have the kind of moral character that sees no good reason to take funds from the homeless shelter to finance a luxury. She could have formed her character such that swindling money from the poor to finance a vacation wouldn’t sound half bad to her. We could say in this case that, while it hasn’t always been the case that she is determined not to swindle the money from the homeless shelter, it is now the case that she is determined not to do so. We might also say that, while she once was undetermined with respect to swindling the money from the homeless shelter, it is no longer the case that she is undetermined with respect to this particular action. ("Incompatibilism and Sin in Heaven," Faith and Philosophy, Vol. 26 No. 4 October 2009, pp.396-417; p. 404 for both quotes)The purposes of these quotes is to establish the libertarian bona fides of the common place (Kane says, "often") occurrence of our acting in ways that are presently-but-not-ultimately determined (Timpe and Pawl refer to this as proximately-but-not-remotely determined). This contingent determinism is compatible with global or remote indeterminism, as well as libertarian freedom and responsibility.
The hard work is now behind me. At this point, I now raise the possibility of a Christian rendering herself unable to do otherwise when faced with some 1-Cor.-13:10-temptation. Notice that for Himes, these cases are fairly expansive. There are no situations when a believer, B, is 1-Cor.-10:13-tempted to X and B cannot do other than X. Thinking up examples doesn't require being a brain surgeon. I'll trust the reader can easily come up with examples (fanciful or not). All you need are prior libertarian choices by B that set B's will a certain way such that B cannot avoid a type-X temptation. You might posit a pill, the "Rx Mangia 40mg," that renders those who take it incapable of avoiding a temptation to gluttonously overeat when tempted with an Italian food buffet. Carmine Scagnetti takes such a pill. If Carmine cannot avoid said temptation, but we can trace his decision to pop the "Rx Mangia 40mg" back to a prior libertarian free choice on his end, then he acts freely and responsibly when he gluttonously partakes of the relevant spread. If you don't like that example, come up with your own.
So here's the upshot: The overreaching (I say!) Arminian interpretation of 1 Cor. 13 seems to require either the impossibility of libertarian freely setting your will in such a way that there is some relevant 1-Cor.-10:13-temptation you can't avoid due to above tracing/will-setting considerations (placing a strong dialectical burden on the Arminian), that the above accepted proximate-determinism is impossible per se, perhaps requiring the belief that drunk or "Rx Mangia 40mg" subjects can simply will themselves to act in ways effectively negating the effects of the drugs (another strong position). Another option is to say that 1. Cor. 10:13 isn't talking about there not existing a temptation that a believer can, in the heat of the temptation, either succumb to or resist. Rather, what it really means is this: If one's will isn't set in the above way, then one can succumb to or resist any temptation; but, if one's will is so set, then, while one cannot resist the temptation, one could have resisted the temptation had one not previously set one's will in such a way that one wouldn't be unable to resist future temptations, and at that prior time of will-setting the believer was able to do otherwise. Of course, this is strained, to say the least (and makes "there is no (particular) temptation" read odd). It seems only a prior commitment to libertarianism could account for such a strange and forced and ad hoc reading.
One might say that the set of temptation cases being referred to in 1 Cor. 10 is very small (perhaps just any temptation that would lead to apostatizing), and that when it comes to this set of temptations, and only this set, the believer will not have been able to at any prior time have set his will in a way that he would not be unable to resist these specific temptations. But then we should ask why this should be so and how it is consistent with libertarianism. Moreover, it demands that one always be perseverance not be guaranteed, but this is not at all clear even on Arminianism (let alone biblically). So I conclude that, apart from the other fine responses to the Arminian argument from 1. Cor. 10:13, these considerations make assenting to the overreaching and austere Arminian interpretation of the text simply fantastical, exegetically improbable, and doxastically unlikely for anyone not insistent that 1 Cor. 10:13 just has to be a silver bullet against Calvinism.