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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

Martin Luther's Position on Intrepretation of Scripure of Free Will part one

This week I again entered into a post about Free Choice, or free will.  And there are so many in the church today (pastor/teacher/preachers) that hold the same position as Erasmus did
 
Lucas Cranach d.Ä. - Martin Luther, 1528 (Veste Coburg) (cropped).jpg
 
Of course many of my preacher friends will just blow off anything that Luther says. That is to their demised. I have heard that for 50 years. 
 
I just don't take comments like that, I take it with a grain of salt.  I do the research and I do the study and learn the truth. 
 
I could just have said John MacArthur and they would say the same thing.
 
As a matter of fact any person who holds a different position they are not going to agree with.
 
But I could without question agree with the position that Luther, Calvin, MacArthur, Pink. and many others hold.
 
 
Martin Luther born in Eisleben, Saxomy in 1483 died in 1548 at 62 years of age. 
 
Luther's chief reason for writing is, as he tells us, that Christian truth is in danger in many hearts.
As such, his reason is chiefly polemical. In his book, Luther takes Erasmus to task, and systematically refutes the humanist's theology bit by bit. He begins by taking to task Erasmus' theology in his own words, showing the inconsistencies of his own language and theology. In the process Luther confesses that, in contending with Erasmus, he has become more sure about his own position. He says,
I owe you no small thanks, for you have made me far more sure of my own position by letting me see the case for free choice put forward with all the energy of so distinguished and powerful a mind.
This is striking because here we see that the truths of the Reformation were not developed in an ivory tower. Rather, truth is always developed in the crucible of real controversy. It is not developed in isolation, but is always developed on the battlefield where heresies rage in fury against the truth.
After Luther tears down Erasmus' arguments, he positively sets forth the Reformation doctrine of free will as it is found in the Scriptures.
 
As such, his purpose is also instructional, hoping also that in this way Erasmus himself might be brought to a correct understanding of the truth. In concluding his Introduction, Luther writes,
Therefore we must pray to God that he may open my mouth and your heart, and the hearts of all men, and that he may himself be present in our midst as the master who informs both our speaking and hearing.
We bring this out because often it is said that Luther is a man who is so aggressive in his polemics that he forgets the welfare of his opponents. But here we see him defending the truth in love. His desire is that his opponent might come to a better understanding of the truth.

Luther's Approach
Luther begins his reply to Erasmus by calling attention to the importance of doctrine.
 
Erasmus has made the statement that doctrinal assertions are not important. Erasmus' preference is a position of no position; that is, doctrinal neutrality and uncertainty.
 
However, in the world of theology, there is no such thing as neutrality and uncertainty. Either one admits that truth is absolute and stands for it or he is against it.
 
 Luther correctly points out that Erasmus, in rejecting the doctrinal assertions in the Scriptures, is really taking sides with the Sophists. This is a lesson that must be learned. Why is it that Luther, with the other Reformers, insisted on the importance of doctrine?
 
This is because religion is not a mere matter of opinion. God has revealed His truth in the Scriptures. The Scriptures define for us what we must believe. Luther says,
  • The Holy Spirit is no Skeptic, and the things He has written in our hearts are not doubts or opinions, but assertions - surer and more certain than sense and life itself.
This of course boils down to the fact that Erasmus does not subscribe to the doctrine of the sufficiency and perspicuity of Scripture.
 
  • Erasmus stands in the Roman Catholic tradition of holding both Scripture and traditions as authoritative. But still, both are not enough for him. As a humanist scholar, he is compelled by his own system to include also human reason and philosophies. This precisely is Erasmus' problem. It is strange that the man who gives us the Greek New Testament should turn his mind and heart against the doctrines contained in it. In writing in defense of free will, Erasmus refused to submit himself to Scripture. And it is this that Luther first takes issue with. He writes,
  • Is it not enough to have submitted your judgment to Scripture? Do you submit it to the Church as well? - why, what can the Church settle that Scripture did not settle first?
Hence, Luther, when he takes the humanist to task, begins with a positive setting forth of the doctrine of Scripture.
 
 
One of the Reformation's mottos is Sola Scriptura, that is, Scripture alone.
 
Scripture must be our sole authority in matters of doctrine and life.
 
  • As such, the issue between Luther and Erasmus is really between truth and error, reason and grace, and an issue of belief and unbelief.
Secondly, Luther's approach is exegetical.
 
  • He says several times that the issue is an issue in hermeneutics. He accuses Erasmus of twisting Scripture, and wresting the Word to his own destruction.
  • Erasmus is man-centered both in his theology and in his method. is utterly man-centered.
  • Erasmus even remarked that Scripture has not dealt at length with the issue of free choice and seems to have left the issue open. He admits that Scripture is obscure about the matter. Erasmus in fact makes a strange classification of matters between that which may be known and that which may not be known.
Luther rejects Erasmus' moderation. He insists on definite doctrinal assertions.
 
This is because Scripture is itself clear. Here again we are back to the issue of Scripture.
 
This doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture is clear.
 
A list of helps how one may elicit the true sense of Scripture.
 
  1. The first rule he lays down is the most fundamental principle in hermeneutics, that is, Scripture interprets Scripture.
  2. Secondly, he insists that the way to know the Scriptures is to have our minds opened by Christ.
  3. Along with this, too, he asserts that the Spirit is required for the understanding of the Scriptures. Not only is the truth of the Word made clear in our hearts by the Spirit, but  that truths are made known in the preaching.
  4. The former he calls internal clarity, the latter he calls external clarity
 
.
Erasmus omits both of these principles in interpretation.
 
  1. He fails to interpret Scripture from Scripture;
  2. he lacks a spiritual mind;
  3. and therefore both his approach and theology are really Christless.
 
 
 
 

How Some Interpret Scriptures

HOW TO INTERPRET SCRIPTURES
 
EXEGETICAL
THEOLOGICAL
BIBLICAL
 

The issue of interpretation is one of hermeneutics. 
 
 
Charity and I were sitting listening to Frank preach at Bigelow Church in Portsmouth Ohio, and as he was preaching, I said to Charity, I know by his preaching where he is going theological.  I know his position on doctrine of salvation, is doctrine on last events.
 
 
When you deal with issues in connection with soteriology, one must start with a sound theology of soteriology and scripture.
 
 
If you start with man you will arrive at a man made position.  If you start with God you will arrive at another position, the God position.
 
 
Many want to defend God and speak for God. But we must see or let God be God.
 
There is no compromise in the doctrine of Sovereignty.
 
In any interpretation of Scripture you start first in light of doctrine.  What does the whole of Scripture teach. 
 
On the surface of most text you are going to get a view that is not in the text.
 
As we all do we start with Scripture and we quote it and then make an scriptural argument that the verse apply to our point of view.

Martin Luther speaks of this issue with Erasmus
 
The scriptural passages cited by some to set forth their  case are the following: Genesis 4:6, 7; (Apocrapha) Ecclesiasticus 15:14-17; Isaiah 1:19-20; Isaiah 45:20, 27; Ezekiel 18:31; Ezekiel 33:11.
 
 (click on the verse)
 
Besides these, there are also texts which he cites to argue that God's call for us to keep the law implies not only the duty to do it but also the ability to perform it. Such texts are: Genesis 2:16, 17; Exodus 20; Jeremiah 26:4.
Other texts that he used are texts which speak of a serious call by God for sinners to repent. He thinks that such a call must necessarily imply natural ability. Such texts are: Joel 2:12; Jonah 3:8; Jeremiah 26:3.
In these texts he reasons that Scripture always speaks about salvation as "a striving after better things."
In addition, he uses those texts that speak about threats and promises for sinners who reject and obey God's commands: Exodus 32:9; Micah 6:3; Psalm 81:13.
Of all these texts, Ecclesiastes 15:14-17 seems to be the principal text that he used. It is with this text that he begins his defense and it is from this text that he derives his definition of free choice. One can see why he bases his argument strongly on this text, for here he has the elements necessary for his thesis. The elements are, a conditional "if"; a promise; an appeal; and the word "choose," which he claims presupposes ability.
The several texts that he refers to from the New Testament are texts such as: Matthew 23:27; John 14:15; Matthew 5:12; 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25; 1 Timothy 6:12, etc.
Looking at these texts, it seems that Erasmus makes a rash jump, for texts that have the words "if" and "reward" in them, or suggested in them, are pertinent.
Although they many  thinks that the whole of Scripture supports his view, he nevertheless admits that they are texts which seem to oppose free choice in man. Such texts he considers to be: Exodus 9:12; Isaiah 63:17; Romans 9:17; 9:11-13.
Of all these texts and others, he says that "there are two that stand out in particular."12 The two are Exodus 9:12 and Romans 9:17. Both of them have to do with God hardening Pharaoh's heart.
Without at this moment examining his exegetical errors, we turn from his scriptural proofs to his theology. Since it is in this part of the book that he discusses his theology, we will present his theology also in the same context.
Firstly, he sees that Scripture makes a clear distinction between man before and after the Fall. He contends that man before the Fall is in no need of grace. He writes,
In man the will was so upright and free that, apart from new grace, he could continue in innocence.13

After the Fall, he sees man's will as only weakened, and not totally depraved and corrupted. He writes that the will is, after the Fall, "obscured by sin, but not altogether extinguished."
In other words, he speaks about a partial depravity after the Fall. This is clear from the language that he uses immediately following this statement. He says,
Thus, as the sin of our progenitors has passed into their descendants, so the tendency to sin has passed to all.

This, he says, is owing to the fact that after our first parents fell, God immediately acted to forgive their sins, and by his grace has restored man to a morally able condition. By this grace man is enabled to continue to do the right, yet not without the tendency to sin. He underlines the latter and says that sin is not totally rooted out owing to the vestiges of original sin in us.
On the one hand he seems to say that the image of God in man is not totally extinguished, because man is still a reasonable creature. But, as he goes on, it is clear that buried inside these reasonable and moral faculties is the ability to do some good. Although it is not a saving good, nevertheless it is a good that enables him to merit salvation. He writes,
And in these things it is probable that there was a will in some way ready for the good but useless for eternal salvation without the addition of grace by faith.

Thus, he sees not only the ability to do good in man, but also that the good he does is able to bring him a step nearer to salvation. The goodness that man does is then a stepping stone to saving faith. This is akin to the idea of a common grace that some Reformed people speak about.
Indeed Erasmus mentions common grace. More than this, to rescue him from his own dilemma, he speaks about three or even four kinds of grace. By grace he means merely a benefit freely given. As such there can be manifold ideas of grace.
 
 
Firstly, there is common grace, by which he means the common benefits God gives to all men alike.

Secondly, there is peculiar grace. This is the grace by which,
God in his mercy arouses the sinner wholly without merit to repent, yet without infusing that supreme grace which abolishes sin and makes him pleasing to God.

This grace only assists the sinner, but never saves him. It makes him displeased with himself, and leads him to do a good that makes him a candidate for the highest grace. One may call this a preparing grace, but Erasmus calls it an operative grace, or stimulating grace.

This second grace is given to all men alike. This second grace will enable one to cooperate with the third kind of grace, which he calls cooperative grace, that will make man's salvation effective. This third grace, like all the other graces, can be refused and resisted. But when man, having being enlightened and enabled by the preparatory grace, and by his awakened will cooperates with this third grace, then his salvation is completed. Thus he writes,
The first arouses, the second promotes, the third completes.



Free Will and God's Foreknowledge
 
 
1 Peter 4:14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (NASB: Lockman) 
Greek: ei oneidizesthe (2PPPI) en onomati Christou, makarioi, hoti to tHYPERLINK "http://studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=3588"es doxes kai to tou thHYPERLINK "http://studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=2316"eou pneuma eHYPERLINK "http://studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=1909"ph humas anapauetai. (3SPMI)

Amplified: If you are censured and suffer abuse [because you bear] the name of Christ, blessed [are you—happy, fortunate, to be envied, with life-joy, and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward condition], because the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God, is resting upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. [Is 11:2.]

KJV: If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

NLT: Be happy if you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God will come upon you.

Wuest: In view of the fact that you have cast in your teeth, as it were, revilings because of the Name of Christ, spiritually prosperous [are you], because the Spirit of the Glory, even the Spirit of God, is resting with refreshing power upon you.

Young's Literal: if ye be reproached in the name of Christ -- happy are ye, because the Spirit of glory and of God upon you doth rest; in regard, indeed, to them, he is evil-spoken of, and in regard to you, he is glorified;


 
Peter speaks much about the topic of being reviled for the Great Name of Christ...

1Pet 2:19- For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.

1Pet 2:20- For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

1Pet 3:14-But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,

1Pet 3:16- and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior (notice how it is possible to exhibit "good behavior"! It is by depending on our position...) in Christ may be put to shame.

1Pet 4:4- And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign (blaspheme, slander) you; 5 but they shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Fortunately, Peter does not "leave us hanging" with the prospect of suffering for Jesus, a prospect which is a "guarantee" (cf 2Ti 3:12- Php1:29-Acts 14:22, etc). Peter also tells us how it is humanly possible to suffer unjust treatment - don't try to suffer naturally (in your natural "strength" or "adequacy" cf 2Cor 3:5, 6-note, 2Cor 2:16, 1Cor 15:10- but suffer supernaturally - imitate Christ (cf 1Cor 11:1, 1Jn 2:6) - surrendering just as He did when He suffered (cf the suffering of His first great temptation in the wilderness - notice Who He depends on - Read Mt 4:1, Lk 4:1. Jesus was victorious because He depended no the Spirit's enabling power (dunamis, cp Lk 4:14) and the supernatural Word, both resources also available to us. In a word, Jesus shows us the way to victory in trials and temptation - filled with His WORD and filled with His SPIRIT (where "filled with" signifies "controlled by" - Spirit not self!). Brethren, there is no other way!

For you have been called for this purpose (see context - 1Pe 2:20), since (because - expresses purpose) Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps" (1Pe 2:21)


Deaterminism, Chancer and Freedom


"Determinism, Chance and Freedom"
by John M. Frame




["Determinism, Chance and Freedom," for IVP Dictionary of Apologetics.]

I added the outline, and added the verses to this post.
Determinists believe t
that every event (or every event in a certain category) has a cause that makes it happen exactly as it happens.
 
Among the varieties of determinism are the views of
(1) Plato, who held that one’s ethical choices are determined by his view of what is good, (2) B. F. Skinner, who believed that stimuli, dispositions and motives govern all human behavior.
(3) Democritus, Hobbes, Spinoza, and many others, who have held that every event in the universe is determined by a physical cause.
Of special interest to us are
 
(4) theological determinists, who hold that all events occur exactly as God has foreordained them.
These would include Calvin and others in his tradition.
The classic exposition of theological determinism is Jonathan Edwards’ Freedom of the Will. Note that it is possible to be a determinist in sense
without being a determinist in sense
 
That seems to be the position of the Westminster Confession of Faith, which says in 3.1 that "God did… ordain whatsoever comes to pass," but also says in 9.1 that man’s will "is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined to good, or evil" (compare 5.2).

William James, in his article "The Dilemma of Determinism," distinguished between "hard" and "soft" determinism.
On his view, soft determinists hold that all events, including human decisions, are determined, but that some kind of freedom and moral responsibility also exists.
 
Hard determinists hold (what James thought was the more consistent position) that the determination of human decisions requires us to reject the concept of moral responsibility.
 
Other writers, however, have used the hard/soft distinction differently, defining soft determinism as a view that is largely deterministic but that allows for some uncaused or self-caused human choices
 
Chance can refer
(1) to uncaused events, or
(2) to events of which the causes are uncertain and normally uncontrollable. When we throw dice, we often say that the result is "by chance;" but we then don’t usually mean that the result is uncaused, only that the causes are hard to ascertain or control. Laws of probability enable us to predict the results of such chance events over the long term (for example, 50% of coin flips come out tails), but not in individual cases.
Chance can also be
 
(3) a synonym of fate, conceived as an impersonal force that makes everything happen as it happens. In the first sense, chance is incompatible with determinism. In the second sense, it is compatible with determinism. In the third sense, it presupposes determinism.

Freedom is a more complicated notion.
Generally speaking, a person is free when
(1) he has the ability to do something,
(2) there is some obstacle or barrier that might have prevented him from exercising that ability but is not now preventing him. Someone is "set free" from prison, for example, when he can go where he likes without the barriers of prison walls, bars, guards, etc.
People have political freedom when they are able publish political opinions, organize political parties, etc., without government interference. So freedom is always "freedom to" and "freedom from:" freedom to do something, and freedom from some obstacle.
 
On this account, there are many different kinds of freedom, since there are many different things we can be free to do, and many obstacles we can be free from. So we speak of economic freedom, political freedom, religious freedom, freedom from illness, and many others.
 
The following kinds of freedom are of particular interest to theologians and apologists:
 
(1) Moral freedom, or the ability to do good, despite the barrier of our sinful condition. God gives us this freedom by his grace (John 8:32-36, Rom. 6:7, 18-23, 8:2). When Scripture speaks of human freedom, it is almost always in this sense.
John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Romans 6:7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.
Romans 6:18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
 
(2) The freedom to act according to our own desires.
 
This kind of freedom is sometimes called compatibilism, because it is compatible with determinism. Scripture doesn’t describe this capacity as "freedom," but it does ascribe this capacity to all human beings.
Jesus teaches, for example, that the good person acts out of the desires of his good heart, the wicked person out of his wicked heart (Matt. 12:35). There are times, of course, when we are unable to do what we "want" to do, at some level of wanting (as Rom. 7:15). But in most of the decisions of life, we do what we want, in the face of potential obstacles.
 
Matthew 12:35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
(3) Freedom from natural necessity,
the freedom to act without the constraint of natural causes. This is the freedom mentioned in my earlier reference to the Westminster Confession. Its theological importance is its implication that human choice is not necessarily or always the result of natural causes. As image of God, we have dominion over the earth and in some ways transcend the world process. And we may not excuse our sins by saying that they were forced upon us by heredity or environment.
 
(4) Freedom from all causation, sometimes called libertarianism.
 
I have freedom in the libertarian sense when, no matter what I choose to do, I might equally have chosen the opposite.

 
So my choices are not only free from natural causes (as in (3)) but also from divine causation. Indeed, my libertarian choices are also free from myself in a way, for they are not determined by my character, dispositions, or desires.
 
These inner motives may influence a free decision in this sense, but they never determine it.
 
So a libertarian free decision is entirely indeterminate, uncaused. Thus libertarianism is sometimes called incompatibilism, since it is incompatible with determinism.
 
Libertarianism has been taught by a number of philosophers from ancient Greece (Epicurus) to the present (Alvin Plantinga). It was the position of some church Fathers including Justin Martyr and Tertullian, Pelagius, the opponent of Augustine, the Jesuit Luis Molina, Fausto and Lelio Socinus, Jacob Arminius, and present-day Arminians, open theists and process theologians.
 
Libertarians argue that we must have this kind of freedom because
 
(1) our intuition reveals that we have it, and
(2) it is necessary for moral responsibility, for we cannot be held responsible for anything we are determined to do.
 
Opponents of libertarianism, however, reply that
(1) Human intuition reveals that we choose among various alternatives, but it never reveals to us that any of our choices are absolutely uncaused. Intuition cannot prove a universal negative.
 
(2) Far from teaching that libertarian freedom is essential to moral responsibility, Scripture never mentions libertarian freedom.
 
(3) This doctrine would make it impossible for us to judge anyone’s guilt in a court of law. For to prove someone responsible for a crime and therefore guilty, the prosecution would have to take on the impossible burden of proof of showing that the decision of the accused had no cause whatsoever.
 
(4) Law courts, indeed, assume the opposite of libertarianism, namely that people are responsible only for actions that they are sufficiently motivated to perform. If it could be shown that an accused person committed a crime without any sufficient cause or motivation at all he would most likely be judged insane rather than guilty.
 
(5) Scripture contradicts libertarianism, by ascribing divine causes to human decisions
 
(Exod. 34:24, Is. 44:28, Dan. 1:9, John 19:24, Acts 13:48, 16:14), even sinful ones (Gen. 45:5-8, Ps. 105:24, Luke 22:22, Acts 2:23-24, 3:18, 4:27-28, Rom. 9:17). In none of these (or many other) cases does divine causation eliminate human responsibility. In fact, these texts often mention human responsibility in the same context.
 
Exodus 34:24 For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.
Isaiah 44:28 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is nmy shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ "
Daniel 1:9 And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs,
John 19:24 24 so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots." So the soldiers did these things,
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
Acts 16:14 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
Genesis 45:5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
Psalm 105:24 And the Lord made his people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes.
Luke 22:22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!"
Acts 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to ithe definite plan and jforeknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
 
(6) Scripture also contradicts libertarianism by teaching that human decisions are governed by the heart (Luke 6:45), and by teaching that the human heart itself is under God’s control (Ps. 33:15, Prov. 21:1).
 
Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Psalm 33:15 he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
(7) In Scripture, th basis of human responsibility is not libertarian freedom, but
 
(a) God’s sovereign right to evaluate the conduct of his creatures (Rom. 9:19-21), and (b) the knowledge (Luke 12:47-48, Rom. 1:18-32) and resources (Matt. 25:14-29) God has given to each person.
Romans 9:19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"
Romans 1:18 God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness 18 For the wrath of God lis revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
 
(b) shows that in Scripture there is an important relation between responsibility and ability, but the abilities in view here do not include the absolute ability to choose opposite courses of action.
 
These considerations lead to the conclusion that the Bible teaches theistic determinism, one that is "soft" in James’s sense. Scripture renounces chance in the first and third senses above, but not in the second. And it teaches that human beings sometimes have moral freedom, usually have compatibilist freedom, never have libertarian freedom. Scripture may imply that we have freedom from natural causation as well. Certainly it doesn’t deny that, but I don’t know of any passage that clearly affirms it.



Bibliography

J. M. Frame, The Doctrine of God (Phillipsburg, NJ, 2002).

_______, No Other God (Phillipsburg, NJ, 2001).

J. Edwards, Freedom of the Will (New Haven, CT, 1973).

W. James, "The Dilemma of Determinism," in Essays in Pragmatism (New York, 1955), 37-64, and in many other editions of James’s works.