Friday, January 19, 2007

Free Willy-Nilly

Doesn't the idea that our choices are determined by our greatest inclination born out by every-day experience?

Why did I choose to come to a coffee shop to study, instead of hanging out with my fiancee? Because strongest and most desirable inclination is to get my reading done for school. I didn't make the decision arbitrarily.

If my choice is determined by my greatest inclination, where does that inclination come from? Wouldn't it come from my nature, or, as Scripture might say, the condition of my heart (i.e. stone or flesh)?

What of Scripture saying "I will give you a new heart and new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to obey my rules"?

Doesn't this imply that a person's obedience is contingent upon that person being filled with the Spirit and having a new Spirit-installed heart and spirit?


Ben said...

My problem arises from what I see as the logical breakdown of this concept: that each choice is pre-determined as the sum of your desires at any given moment. I personally feel that there is a big difference between being captive to your nature and being able to shape your person based on your choices.

Please don't interpret this as an Arminian "we can save ourselves" statement ... what I mean is, our person is a sum of choices filtered through our nature, rather than a pre-determined calculation that is played out through our lives.

But I could certainly be wrong. Less rock, more talk! :)

Nathan Wells said...

So is my will able to "create" options?

I don't choose my options.

Some options just aren't there.

Shaping yourself based on your choices - sure, but we don't choose the nature that we receive - it is from Adam.

So if because of my nature the option to do good is not available, it doesn't mean my will is enslaved per say, but means that because the object of doing good is not present, I will never have the opportunity to choose it - I am blind to it.

But I also think that because my nature likes evil more than good I would therefore never choose good anyway.

Here's a quote that is interesting:
"Arminians argue that there can be not virtue without freedom to act and will. Freedom is the ground of praise and judgment. Thus for creatures to be judged or rewarded of God, there must be freedom of will as the Arminians would define the term. Since God lacks the freedom to act freely, being bound by His perfect nature, does He thereby lack genuine virtue? While in the "Arminian" scheme God is exonerated from blame, but is He not also from virtue? Is freedom necessary for responsibility to be established? Edwards argues that there is responsibility without freedom because responsibility is established in motive for action, not action itself." - Dr. Hannah

But what does shaping oneself really mean? I'm not sure if I am connecting with you there - what is the end result? Are you just talking about the fact that you feel people can choose who they become based on the choices they make or something else?