How we think about what we are has far-reaching implications, including how we understand growth in Christ and our role in the world. Last week I discussed the dominant view prior to the Enlightenment, which I think got it right. This all changed beginning in the sixteenth century. A seismic shift occurred–out with Aristotle’s view and in again with Plato’s view. We see the results of this shift in many ways to this day.
In this final post of the series, I’ll outline a third and final objection raised as an internal conceptual problem for Arminianism. If valid, it is an important problem faced by Arminian soteriology (doctrine of salvation). After offering three responses, I’ll summarize all five points of the argument in favor of the Arminian understanding of predestination and free will which I’ve covered in these 19 posts.
Two potential internal conceptual problems remain for the Arminian understanding of salvation. If so, these are reasons to reconsider the strength of the other reasons I gave in favor of Arminianism. However, as I’ll argue today, at least the first of these remaining two objections turn out not to be an internal conceptual problem for Arminianism.
We have concluded our review of biblical data discussing Calvinism and Arminianism, as well as internal and external conceptual problems that arise for Calvinism. This seems to tip the scales in favor of the Arminian understanding. But Calvinists argue there are three internal conceptual problems for Arminianism that are sufficient to disqualify this view. In this case, the Calvinist understanding of predestination and free will is vindicated. I’ll discuss the first of these in this post.
So far we’ve explored three external conceptual problems for the soft determinist/Calvinist view of freedom, and, thus the Calvinist view of election. Yet there are still two more external conceptual problems we must consider before drawing a final conclusion.
Last week I suggested our common experience of character formation is incompatible with the soft determinist view of freedom. Since Calvinism depends on soft determinism being true, this is another external conceptual problem for Calvinism. Yet the Calvinist may object on theological grounds. I’ll explore this response today.
Last week I argued that two truths–the goodness of God and the reality of Hell–taken together are an internal conceptual problem for the Calvinist, but not for the Arminian. Two objections can be raised against my argument. I think these two objections fail. If so, this is further reason to embrace the Arminian view of our salvation: God’s election of us is conditional, based on His foreknowledge of our future (Libertarian) free choice to accept Christ as our Savior.
To answer this question we must determine the nature of our freedom—is it of the Libertarian or Soft Determinist variety? We must also answer a second question: are we predestined unconditionally (by God’s unconditional election) or conditionally (based on God’s knowledge of our choice to trust Christ)?
We have seen there is biblical support for both predestination and free will. So which is it? And how can we know? At this point in the conversation, I’ve seen four different responses offered as the best way forward. I don’t think any of them are right. After outlining these four paths, I’ll offer a fifth way that I think is more helpful in resolving this conflict.