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

DanFugett's picture

Erasmus and Luther - what is free about man's will

Erasmus definition as quoted by Luther

    — “Moreover I consider Free-will in this light: that it is a power in the human will, by which, a man may apply himself to those things which lead unto eternal salvation, or turn away from the same.” —

Luther's reply

    The thing defined itself, if it be closely examined, has a much wider extent than the definition of it: and such a definition, the Sophists would call faulty: that is, when the definition does not fully embrace the thing defined. For I have shown before, that “Free-will” cannot be applied to any one but to God only. You may, perhaps, rightly assign to man some kind of will, but to assign unto him “Free-will” in divine things, is going too far. For the term “Free-will,” in the judgment of the ears of all, means, that which can, and does do God-ward, whatever it pleases, restrainable by no law and no command. But you cannot call him Free, who is a servant acting under the power of the Lord. How much less, then, can we rightly call men or angels free, who so live under the all-overruling command of God, (to say nothing of sin and death,) that they cannot consist one moment by their own power.

Given the expanded definition Luther gives, does any theology really believe in free will?
Is there a belief system that says a person is so free that that person can live entirely as she/he wants to do toward God?
Is anyone truly entirely free of the influence of either human nature or the Creator such that that person can really freely and self-autonomously decide his directions with immutability?

When put this way, I am not sure too many Christian belief systems would say we have free will. That is by the definition Luther uses of the term. The exception would be those who believe human nature is basically good and the image of God in man was not destroyed or marred in the fall. (destroyed not eradicated - mankind still created in HIs image and murder still sin because we are all created in His image).

Submitted by poster,

Submitted as a poster,

In Christ,

Dan Fugett, Sr Moderator
dfugett2010@gmail.com




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