Man is Free. Man is Not Free.

Posted on September 21, 2012 by


From Doug Wilson citing Whatever Happened to the Reformation?:

“If we were maintaining that man is free and that man is not free, and we were using the word free unequivocally, then that would be an actual contradiction. We would be trying to square the circle. But if we say that God determined, for example, the treachery of Judas, and that Judas, in an entirely different sense, determined in his own heart what he would do, where is the contradiction? There is mystery, certainly, but no more contradiction than when we try to understand how God created the universeĀ ex nihilo. We do not understand it, but our lack of understanding is very different from our lack of understanding round squares. Hamlet cannot do what Ophelia does; that would be a contradiction. But he can do what Shakespeare in a different way does, and when we come right down to it, cannot be found doing anything else” (FromĀ Whatever Happened to the Reformation, pp. 67-68).

Is this a good way to frame the issue? I think it captures the heart of Calvinism well. Man is free. Man is not free. Contradiction? I say no. God’s sovereignty and man’s freedom are compatible with one another. Mystery? Absolutely.