Comments on De Servo Arbitrio “On the Enslaved Will” or The Bondage of Will

michael_legna's picture

Luther's proposition has faulty consequences

DanFugett said -
Luther's view of free will seems to match Augustine's view. That is, that free will does not exist until the will is set free by the grace of God. Then and only then can a person either choose to accept or choose to reject God's grace. Does God nil what I will? Perhaps when you and I say yes in the hour of decision, we are asking and yielding to God's will to rule supreme in our hearts and lives. I believe when we say no in the hour of decision that God does not force His will on us.

Unfortunately the one quote of Augustine you use does not reflect the full extent of his position on free will, so I don't think Luther was basing his view on free will on Augustine or else he did not have complete understanding of that position.

I think Luther was inconsistent in his reasoning, if your summary is accurate. This can be seen easily if we notice one simple point. That point being that Luther seems to leave open the possibility of rejecting God's grace. Now if we can truly choose "in that hour" to either accept or reject God's grace (and I think we can) then we must have free will prior to receiving grace. At least a will free enough to make such decisions. In addition, if we deny that type of decision style will as being truly free (perhaps because of our fallen nature limiting us to bad decisions) then three more problems arise. The first is how is it some can accept His grace while others fallen nature makes them make one more bad decision? The second is for those who do make this bad decision how can they be condemned to hell eternally for decisions they had no choice but to make. This issue makes God out to be unfair, punishing those for things they had not choice but to do. The third problem is for those who do accept His will and submit their own will to the Father's end up not with a free will but with a bound will. I note you try to get around this by saying that it is not God forcing His will upon us but merely by Him using the circumstances of life to convince us - but how is this different from the state we are in prior to grace which you claim is not a free will. How are the circumstances of life influencing us to do His will any different than our fallen state influencing us to do things contrary to His will?