Mental Disorders, Free Will, and Romans 7

In responding to someone concerning the existence of what is known as Libertarian Free Will, I decided to sketch a quick flow chart that could aid one in recognizing whether or not free will exists or applies to a given situation. (See Chart Below)

In book project “Why I’m Not an Atheist: An Analysis of the Self-defeating, Irrational, Philosophically Inconsistent, Logically Incoherent, Unjustified Atheistic Worldview” (currently unfinished at the time of this writing), I dedicate an entire chapter to the subject of free will where I propose a way to define and identify its existence via two conditions:

  1. Being the originator to your will or actions.
  2. Having what is known as dual ability- which is the ability to “will or refrain from willing”.

The first condition is not only sufficient, but necessary, while the second condition is merely sufficient. That is to say, if you have lack the first, then free will does not exist, or at minimum, is not applicable to the given situation, whereas if you lack the second, free will could still exist as long as the first condition applies. Hence, the first is both necessary and sufficient, whereas the second is merely sufficient, but not necessary.

To elaborate on the first condition, this means that for any given action to count as free, you must be the primary, first cause of that action, as opposed to the action being caused by some prior, external cause. For instance, if you are the reason for which your arm moves, then all things being equal, you were the originator and source of that action. However, if the movement of your arm was caused by a prior, external source (such as the electrical shock of a taser), then the movement of your arm was not caused by you, and thus, you were not the originator or source of the action. Therefore, unless you are the first, primary mover and source of an action, then the action cannot count as free.

A road sign with the word Choose and arrows pointing left and right

To elaborate on the second condition which is equally sufficient for identifying the existence of libertarian freedom is having what is known as dual ability. This means not only having the ability to freely will an action (the first condition), but more pertinently, having the ability to freely refrain from willing the action altogether. To give an example, suppose that I had a choice to choose between option A or option B, and in the end, I choose option A. According to dual ability, although I chose option A over B, I could have just as easily refrained from choosing A, willed to choose B, or at the very least, refrained from choosing either, even if all the circumstances were the same. For this reason, if dual ability does exist, then it is equally sufficient to demonstrate and identify that libertarian freedom must exists, as well.

With this in mind, Brad Fuller submitted the following question:


QUESTION:

When Paul says [in Romans 7] if he does not do what he wills to do, but instead, what he hates- that he does, then according to your flowchart, where does Paul fall?

RESPONSE:

GREAT question! A few things to be said, because Paul is touching on quite a few areas here:

  1. He is implicitly touching on the nature of human beings as a soul with a body (substance dualism).
  2. He is teaching on discipline and spiritual formation.

And

  1. He is indirectly touching on the question of freedom of the will, though I think his focus is more on #2.

For this reason, Romans 7 is one of my favorite passages to bring up regarding LFW (Libertarian Free Will), and more specifically, regarding discipline and spiritual formation, which of course, requires a libertarian freedom of the will. And as I have argued on other occasions, the existence of the soul is a necessary, ontological condition and requirement for the sheer possibility of LFW in the first place. That is to say, it is logically possible for a soul to exist without LFW, but it is not logically possible for LFW to exist without a soul (see explanation at 37:30 of this video).

To begin with, I think Paul is speaking in hyperbole here, much like when he says that he is the chief of all sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15). Surely, there were men more wicked than him, but this use of hyperbole was a common way of getting a point across. So, I don’t think he’s literally trying to teach that his actions are causally determined and that therefore, he is not acting freely when he sins.

Second, note that Paul is making a clear distinction between his self (literally, the soul) and his body by distinguishing the proclivity to sin which is in his body, and what he sincerely wishes that he could do, though he does not find the power in him to carry out his will (v.18). Hence he states, “For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.]” AMPC.  Indeed, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

This is profound because it is something that we can all relate to as believers. Have we not all fallen into the same, habitual sin over and over, and wanted to quit, but have not found the will power or ability to do so? This brings us into the area of discipline and spiritual formation, which also brings us to what is known as neuroplasticity and cognitive behavioral therapy. Bear with me while I briefly unpack the relevance.

Consider for a moment someone who suffers from mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, or OCD. Such people have their moods, desires, and feelings determined by a chemical imbalance in the brain which leads to such disorders. This is much like how one’s desire for a particular food is governed and even determined by the biology in their brain and body. Thus, I can openly agree that my hunger is not something that I have directly willed or controlled (hence, some people even suffer from eating disorders). But here’s the catch.

If the soul exists and libertarian freedom is true, then such factors merely influence my decisions and actions, but they do NOT *causally* determine them. That is to say, I can have a desire to eat chocolate cake all day, and this desire can be caused by the chemicals in my brain. However, if libertarian free will exists, then it is still up to me to act or refrain from acting upon my desires. That is to say, my desires that are in my body (as Paul says, his flesh) do not determined my actions, because the decision to act or refrain from acting upon my desires remains entirely up to me.

By the same token, picture a drug addict. Their desires are very much determined by their chemical dependency and literally feel trapped. I do not deny this one bit. But does this mean that their will is not free? No, it does not.

Put differently, if a drug addict robs a bank to satisfy his desires for drugs, were his desires for the drugs free? Probably not (at least not at this point, but one could argue that prior to the addiction they were). However, just because we concede that his desires were determined by his state, it does not follow that therefore, his actions were equally caused or determined as well. Hence, we do not punish him for having the desire, but for the actions that he took in order to satisfy his desires. That is to say, he did not have to act upon his desires, but nevertheless, he freely chose to give in.

This is the same with people who suffer from OCD or depression. They cannot control these states, and such states are caused by chemical imbalances in their brain. Their actions, however, are up to them, and I would sympathize that their power to resist is very weak. Nevertheless, while they cannot simply “freely” WILL (that is, carry it out) themselves to be physically better, they still have the ability to freely will, want, and desire to be better in the first place.

To give an analogy, suppose that my hands were tied down to a chair so tightly that it became physically impossible to lift them up. For some, this would imply that my free will had been taken away due to the fact that I could not freely and physically move around. But this simply does not follow, and is the common misconception which confuses the ability to will with the ability to do.

In other words, while having my hands tied down to a chair may incapacitate my ability to lift my arms, it does not incapacitate my ability to, at the very least, will the act of lifting my arms, even if physically, I could not. Hence, removing my ability to physically carry out an action does not remove my ability to freely will, desire, or attempt the action in the first place- even if the action were physically impossible. For this reason, the question of human freedom is more appropriately a focus and concern of the will, not action. Therefore, as long as someone is, at the very least, free to WILL to be better, then they possess a libertarian freedom of the will, even if physically, they cannot freely perform what they will. Hence, Paul says, “I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it.” (v.18)

Alas, here is where the existence of the soul and neuroplasticity come into play. As Dr. Curt Thompson would say, “nothing in the brain changes without neurons changing”. See, habits are formed in the brain when one continually performs and associates an action with a thought, and this digs deeper and deeper grooves into the brain, making the action second nature to the thought. For this reason, we find ourselves continually giving into sin. It started as curiosity, then an action, then became a habit for which one lacks the will power to overcome (though not the will power to at the very least, desire to overcome, much like my illustration of my hands being tied down).

Jeffery Schwartz, who is one of the world’s leading neuroscientists and researcher in the areas of the mental conditions mentioned above, has demonstrated a way to change the chemistry of one’s brain simply by thinking differently. This is known as cognitive behavioral therapy. Why? Because every time a though happens with an action, a groove is being dug into one’s brain, which in turn, eventually creates a habit. And as Dr. Thompson remarks, “neurons that fire together wire together”. Thus, in order to help change one’s moods and associated habits, one must rewire the neuronal firing in the brain by challenging the way one thinks. This is neuroplasticity.

To be brief, by challenging one’s habitual thoughts one can literally change the way neurons fire, and thus, change the wiring of one’s brain. That is to say, while one may not have direct control over one’s moods or desires, through this discipline, one can change and aid in improving these conditions by changing the way one thinks about them. However, this of course requires a libertarian freedom of the will, which in turn, requires the ontological existence of the soul.

In other words, if I am not my body, but am a soul, then my body does not control what I do, but instead, influences what I do. At the end of the day, I control whether or not I will give into what my body wants. This is why fasting is important. By fasting, you discipline yourself to not give into what the flesh desires, and in turn, learn to prioritize one’s spiritual formation over one’s bodily habits. The same can be said with regards to physical training. I can will and desire to play basketball like Michael Jordan, but merely willing and desiring to do so does not accomplish this task. I must train and discipline my body to do what it cannot by practicing and exhorting the necessary skills so that I can grow and eventually gain the power to do so.

Similarly, one who suffers from anxiety, depression, or OCD must first realize that their brain merely influences their actions, but it does not control their actions, and that their state is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Thus, while medicine is certainly highly encouraged and can aid in this imbalance, it is also important to recognize that pills cannot teach skills.

So where does all this fit into the flow chart? Well, again, Paul here is making the distinction between the proclivity and habits of one’s flesh vs one’s desires to do better, though the power to perform the good seems unattainable. However, through discipline and spiritual formation (which requires cognitive behavioral therapy), one can learn the skills needed to aid in changing the chemistry in their brain, and moreover, gain the tools needed to change one’s behavior. Hence the phrase, cognitive behavioral therapy.

So with regard to the chart:

  1. Paul is not being physically forced to sin
  2. He can (and does- v.18) at the very least, WILL the desire to do better, which is sufficient to grant LFW via his dual ability.
  3. Moreover, his desires here are merely influencing his actions, and not in the literal sense, causing them, which satisfies the first condition.
  4. He is the first mover of his actions, and because of this, has the ability to engage in spiritual formation/cognitive behavioral therapy, and eventually discipline himself and gain the power to change his behavior. Hence, Paul gives us verses such as:
  • 1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
  • Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
  • Romans 6:12-14 “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

So in summation, Paul is being transparent in illustrating what many of us encounter in our daily walk with the Lord. Namely, having a lack of discipline for overcoming the desires of the flesh, but shows us how in disciplining our minds and bodies, we have the ability to further develop our abilities to overcome such habits. This, of course, assumes the existence of libertarian freedom, which ontologically, requires the existence of the soul. With these notions in mind, we are able to grasp the bigger picture in what Paul is teaching, and this aligns well with the flow chart that I have given above.

-Eric Hernandez

55 thoughts on “Mental Disorders, Free Will, and Romans 7

  1. Nice article Eric!
    It looks like you have a project – I salute you!!

    In your listing at the beginning of this article – you might consider adding one more criteria unique to Libertarian Freedom.
    That of having multiple options from which to choose during choice making.

    In Determinism multiple options from which to choose are logically impossible.

    Take the two options [A+] and [A-] for example

    If both of these were to be infallibly decreed – they would essentially falsify the infallible decree – because one cancels the other.
    The infallible decree is an expression of the divine will – which would also be falsified.

    Additionally according to the doctrine – Calvin’s god cannot leave them OPEN and UNDETERMINED for someone else to determine.
    Something has to get RENDERED-CERTAIN.

    And only one of them can be RENDERED-CERTAIN.

    As Peter Van Inwagen states:
    -quote
    Determinism may now be defined: it is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future. (Oxford Handbook on Free Will)

    So the future event [A+] can be RENDERED-CERTAIN to have existence.
    Or the future event [A-] can be RENDERED-CERTAIN to have existence.
    But only one of these can have the potential of existence.
    So one of them cannot exist

    And that which cannot exist – is not available for the creature
    Therefore in Exhaustive Divine Determinism – any perception of multiple options from which to choose are “Predestined” illusions.

    Illusions of non-predestined events, which as such never had any possibility of ever coming to pass, at pain of falsifying what was predestined.

    1. br.d. writes:
      “Therefore in Exhaustive Divine Determinism – any perception of multiple options from which to choose are “Predestined” illusions. Illusions of non-predestined events, which as such never had any possibility of ever coming to pass, at pain of falsifying what was predestined.”

      The inescapable question is ‘Why would Calvi-god (a caricature of the true God which I assert to be false) would deliberately create the illusion of choice which undeniably exists both in scripture and in reality’?

      If Calvi-god is the unchallengeable, sovereign, sole causative power behind whatsoever comes to pass, why doesn’t he admit it, and rule accordingly? This would demand the elimination of punishment, judment and condemnation. That is really the issue that needs to be addressed. One can debate forever the arguable evidence for or against free will, but at the end of the day, that still does not resolve the only compelling problem. Men die, and, according to the beliefs of Christianity, await a judgment day which will reveal their fate of either an eternal, blessed ‘heaven’ on a newly created earth or eternal punishment/death.

      It must always be pointed out, in my opinion, that this is why this ‘debate’ exists and is important to consider. The existence or not of free will does not in any way prove or disprove the sovereign power of God; it proves or disproves the existence of His gracious love and true justice.

  2. Very informative. One thought, which I was explaining in another comment thread, is that we must realize that determining the viability or existence of free will is only the first step. In my opinion, God could just as easily have designed men with or without the God-like power of reason and choice. Too often, men debate endlessly as if this is the issue that divides Calvinism from non-Calvinistic beliefs. It is not.

    The real issue is evil and judgment.

    If there is no free will, and God determines whatsoever comes to pass, then God is, necessarily, the author of evil. If He is the author of ‘whatsoever comes to pass’, this must include evil. The Westminster Confession attempts to dodge this inescapable fact, by mere assertion, but it is not logically supportable. But it gets worse for the Calvinist.

    Not only is God the author of evil, if meticulous determinism is true as Calvinism asserts, but He is deceptive, cruel and unjust. He is deceptive because He attempts to hide his sole responsibility for the existence of sin and evil by placing the blame upon creatures (men) who merely do as they are irresistibly ordained to do. He is cruel in His arbitrary decision to irresistibly rescue some limited subset of mankind from this perpetual scheme of sin and death he designed, while leaving the rest to their equally inescapable fate. He is unjust in holding men accountable for thoughts, words and deeds which He himself made inescapable, even to the point of condemning them to judgment and destruction.

    These, in my opinion, are the real issues. Free will or no free will? No biggie, God can do whatever He wants. But Calvinists cannot deny God’s responsibility for the choices He makes. The ultimate tyranny of evil is to command unquestioning submission. Many a cult-like religious institution attempts just such unthinking submission to their teachings, including Calvinism. The irony is that, under Calvinism, none could actually resist the sovereign tyranny they allege, however illegitimate or evil it might be. The very existence of those who question the legitimacy and goodness of this system and its god proves its falsity.

    1. Correct TS00
      But according to Calvinist ethics – Calvin’s god can do anything he wants to and its not evil.

      For example – 500 years ago John Doe murders his wife.
      A baby is born today

      Calvin’s god can hold that baby morally culpable for that murder – simply because he is sovereign – and no man has the right to judge.

      So then – the fact that Calvinists spend 99% of their time trying to invent 10001 ways to grant things to creatures which Calvin’s god does not permit – simply tells us that the Calvinist is in a constant struggle with his own doctrine.

      1. I believe my other response (we cross-posted) addresses this. The real issue at stake in considering the doctrines of Calvinism is not God’s ‘sovereignty’ but His justice.

    2. Hello, TS00!

      TS00 said: “But Calvinists cannot deny God’s responsibility for the choices He makes.”

      Bingo! And I think this is exactly what leads to their confusing, round-about, nonsensical, contradictory web of deceit, all their double-speak and “two types of …” and Bible verses taken out of context and hidden definitions, etc. It’s all an attempt to trick themselves and others into thinking that Calvinism doesn’t teach that God is responsible for evil and sin, when it really does teach that. It is an inescapable, foundational conclusion of their theology which they try so hard to explain away, to mesh with the Bible (only leading to more convoluted nonsense and contradictions). And when they exhaust all their efforts, they simply end with: “Oh well, we can’t understand God’s ways because He’s so much higher than we are. He is sovereign and can do what He wants, and we don’t have to understand it. All we have to do is accept it. Who are you to talk back to God anyway?”

      They have many cult-like tactics to, as you point out, “command unquestioning submission.” But if we aren’t aware of this – of the manipulative Calvinist games they play – then we can get sucked in so easily, thinking that Calvinists are “just teaching straight from the Scriptures,” as my Calvi-pastor used to constantly tell us. If he can brainwash us into thinking it’s all “straight from the Scriptures,” then we won’t think to question him, and we’d feel ashamed if we did because we’ve been led to believe that questioning him is questioning the Scriptures themselves. So many manipulative tactics!

      1. Well said Heather!

        Calvinism’s unique claim to fame – is Exhaustive Divine Determinism
        It is Calvinism’s identity marker – and it functions as a two edged sword.

        All academia acknowledges that Exhaustive Determinism is UN-FALSIFIABLE.

        An UN-FALSIFIABLE belief system only permits the believer to ASSUME his doctrine is TRUE
        And what is devastating about it – is that it forces the believer to live AS-IF his doctrine is FALSE.

        That is what makes Calvinism DOUBLE-MINDED.
        And the outward expression is DOUBLE-SPEAK.

        That’s why Calvinist thinking is DOUBLE-MINDED thinking.
        And that is why Calvinism’s language is a DOUBLE-SPEAK language.

        The ethical dilemma this produces for the Calvinist – comes about by his urgency to portray Calvinism as PROVABLE
        And that is LOGICALLY impossible – because UN-FALSIFIABLE by definition means UN-PROVABLE.

        In the process of trying to portray Calvinism as something it isn’t – requires intellectual dishonesty

        And it is that observation of dishonesty which the Non-Calvinist often finds bewildering and antithetical to the ethics of Christ.
        Dishonesty is anti-Jesus.

  3. I am not a Calvinist, but I must take issue with a secondary point that you bring out (“Similarly, one who suffers from anxiety, depression, or OCD must first realize that their brain merely influences their actions, but it does not control their actions, and that their state is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.”) Where do you get that? There is no chemical imbalance when you’re depressed, or anxious, or OCD! This ‘chemical imbalance’ argument that Christians use is full of holes. You should study the difference between clinical psychologists (CP) and behavioral psychologists (BP). The two don’t meet and one generally doesn’t like the other – the main reason being that clinical psychology (CP) is based on true science and behavioral psychology = based on some drug addicted crackpots (Jung, Freud and more) and nutcases who were messing around with sin and Satan. BP’s are full of their own importance; they even have a huge manual with thousands of ‘opinions’ that classify behavior into ‘mental disorders.’ (says who?) They even classify Christianity and religion into a disorder. These BPs have destroyed more lives and relationships and organizations than people realize. Back to the point – when I get depressed because I lost my son, for instance, there is NO chemical imbalance – it is… just… depression… just like you find in the Bible over and over. That is when we look to Christ and His Word for our strength and comfort. These states are NOT caused by chemical imbalances as you suggest. These mental states are not necessarily right or wrong. How we respond to them tho CAN be Christ-honoring OR displeasing to God. You are also totally wrong to suggest that ‘medicine’ can solve such problems. Typically these crackpots prescribe psychotropic drugs, which only bring an entire subset of add’l problems into the person’s life. You say, “well I know of someone who would be dead if they didn’t take these driugs.” Really? Can you prove that? No you can’t. Because there is no clinical proof. It is ALL subjective; thus unproveable. Be careful what you say and use to support your claims or your conclusions will not be trusted friiend. 🙂

    1. Thomas
      I am not a Calvinist, but I must take issue with a secondary point that you bring out

      br.d
      Hello Thomas and welcome!

      Thomas
      their state is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.”) Where do you get that?

      br.d
      Perhaps the word “imbalance” is problematic?
      I have a dear friend who suffers from a certain disorder which includes anxiety – and is being told by specialists that it is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.

      Thomas
      You should study the difference between clinical psychologists (CP) and behavioral psychologists (BP).

      br.d
      Doesn’t this indicate a difference in opinion between these specialists?

      Thomas
      You are also totally wrong to suggest that ‘medicine’ can solve such problems. Typically these crackpots prescribe psychotropic drugs, which only bring an entire subset of add’l problems into the person’s life.

      br.d
      I think this question falls into the category of the usefulness of medicine in general.
      I’ve heard Christians say the same thing about doctors – we don’t need them because all they do is prescribe drugs.

      I think we do understand that some drugs – whether for bodily or other symptoms are not meant as a cure – but rather as a way for the patient to maintain a better quality of life – living with the symptoms they have.

      But certainly that is no match for the Lord’s delivering healing power!

      Blessings Thomas!
      My sincere and warm thoughts for you!

    2. Wow, someone (Thomas) has got some strong opinions coming from somewhere deep inside!

      I think we can all understand the use of the “chemical imbalance” example without it having to be scientifically hashed out. So I don’t really see the point in debating over this or questioning it. But I don’t think it’s a black-and-white, “either/or” issue. There are plenty of articles out there that say anxiety is not “caused” by a chemical imbalance … but there are plenty that say that some people naturally have low levels of certain brain chemicals (such as serotonin) which can lead to a greater risk of anxiety in the future and that when we are anxious or depressed, we release certain bad chemicals which – the longer we are anxious or depressed – create a “rut” in our brains, meaning that if we live in a constant state of anxiety (even if it’s self-induced), the flow of those chemicals becomes more the norm and it becomes harder to stop them, leading to more entrenched anxiety or depression.

      Basically, our natural levels of chemicals can impact our brains/thinking … or our thinking can impact our levels of chemicals. So it’s not so clear-cut as you make it out to be. Naturally low-levels of certain good chemicals can lead to a greater risk of anxiety, but also our prolonged anxious/depressed thoughts (or if we are facing prolonged trauma or crisis) releases bad chemicals in our brains which can become more entrenched the longer they are being released in our brain, leading to stronger anxiety/depression. So it’s much more complicated than either “anxiety is caused by chemical imbalance” or “anxiety is not caused by chemical imbalance.” And given that it’s got support on both sides, I’d give the benefit of the doubt to the the author of this article and say that it’s a perfectly acceptable example of what he’s trying to illustrate.

      And about Thomas’s comment of “You are also totally wrong to suggest that ‘medicine’ can solve such problems”, I would say that it is totally irresponsible to throw the baby out with the bathwater, to allude to the idea that medicine never helps and that it’s wrong to take it, to shame those who take it, as if he (Thomas) is the supreme source of scientific knowledge for all people about this issue. (I would watch out about saying such things as Thomas said. God has ways of humbling us, such as maybe by allowing those who smugly criticize people who take anxiety/depression medication to face so many heartbreaking trials in life or a bunch of major crises, one right after the next, that they realize that they themselves need something to help them get out of the deep, dark hole they are in, before they end up killing themselves from all the stress they are under. And then they’ll realize how foolish they were to make judgmental blanket-statements about how other people handle their suffering. I’m just sayin’. And I’m saying this as a licensed counselor who’s seen a lot of pain and knows a lot of pain.)

      I’m not saying that it’s always right/helpful to take medicine, but I also wouldn’t be so irresponsible/condescending/judgmental to say that others shouldn’t take it, that it won’t help, or that it’s wrong to take it. Ideally, every problem would be solved by prayer and meditating on God’s Word. But everyone’s body is different and there are various causes for various conditions. So there is no “one size fits all” solutions. (Plus, if there are healing/helpful properties in plants and natural resources – which get turned into medicine – then it’s because God put them there, for our benefit.) And if an anxious or depressed person needs help, through medicine, to balance their brain chemicals/hormones, then they should go for it, without being shamed by the likes of Thomas. A little medicinal help might be far better than wallowing in anxiety or depression. Shame on those who shame others for getting help!

      1. Wonderful post Heather!
        Very well informed – good wisdom – and Christ-like!

        Thank you!

  4. The author of this article seems to be Eric Hernandez and not Eric Kemp. Eric Kemp is just the one who posted it. Eric Hernandez is with Texas Baptists.

    Eric writes, “To elaborate on the first condition, this means that for any given action to count as free, you must be the primary, first cause of that action, as opposed to the action being caused by some prior, external cause. For instance, if you are the reason for which your arm moves, then all things being equal, you were the originator and source of that action…unless you are the first, primary mover and source of an action, then the action cannot count as free.”

    Looks like pretty much everything should be counted as free. Even when an action is according to God’s decree, that decree works through the actions of people who are the primary, first cause of the action unless only spontaneous actions qualify, but then very little would be free. However, Eric then writes, “This is much like how one’s desire for a particular food is governed and even determined by the biology in their brain and body.” So, if one’s desires are governed by hunger, thirst, sex, selfishness, covetousness, pride, etc. then would that prevent the action being free? So, are only spontaneous actions truly free?

    Then, “if libertarian free will exists, then it is still up to me to act or refrain from acting upon my desires. That is to say, my desires that are in my body (as Paul says, his flesh) do not determined my actions, because the decision to act or refrain from acting upon my desires remains entirely up to me.”

    It is not one’s desires that is the issue but the strongest desires (and influences) and their role in decision-making. If the strongest desire (or influence) – such as hunger, thirst, sex, selfishness, covetousness, pride, etc. cannot explain the action taken, then shouldn’t a stronger desire (or influence) be sought. To say that “acting upon my desires remains entirely up to me” is highly speculative – what does it mean? How does a person choose against the strongest desire (or influence) without an alternative stronger desire (of influence) coming into play? Eric seems to be making stuff up to support his thinking on this.

    1. rhutchin
      Looks like pretty much everything should be counted as free.

      br.d
      Unfortunately – Eric H’s statements in this article – do not differentiate Libertarian from Compatibilist freedom.

      rhutchin
      Even when an action is according to God’s decree, that decree works through the actions of people who are the primary, first cause of the action unless only spontaneous actions qualify, but then very little would be free.

      br.d
      This cannot be assumed – and there is a low probability that this assumption could be correct.
      Eric H does not embrace Exhaustive Divine Determinism – where 100% of whatsoever comes to pass is infallibly decreed in advance
      So for him SOME action can come to pass which the THEOS chose not to “MERELY” permit – rather than meticulously decree.

      That conception would be consistent with the creature as the originator of a determination.

      This is always the rub with Libertarian Freedom.
      What choices can the mind make that are not determined by antecedent factors?

      rhutchin
      Is not one’s desires that is the issue but the strongest desires (and influences) and their role in decision-making. If the strongest desire (or influence) – such as hunger, thirst, sex, selfishness, covetousness, pride, etc.? Eric seems to be making stuff up to support his thinking on this.

      br.d
      Since in this case – we have a THEOS whose impulses are not determined by factors outside of his control
      And since in this case – we have a THEOS who has multiple options from which to choose in his choice-making
      Those attributes exclude Determinism – and can provide a probable model for a Libertarian form of functionality.
      Those in such case – those attributes of the THEOS would then be represent a part of the Imago Dei (image of God)

      A THEIST does not presume to have to “make stuff up” in order to acknowledge those attributes.

      The question would then be – why did the THEOS – who has Libertarian Functionality as part of his Imago Dei – choose not to grant that part of this Imago Dei to mankind?

      1. br.d asks, “The question would then be – why did the THEOS – who has Libertarian Functionality as part of his Imago Dei – choose not to grant that part of this Imago Dei to mankind?”

        To do that, God would have to make people as Himself. Instead, God made Adam without perfect understanding, perfect knowledge, and perfect wisdom. That restricted whatever “libertarian” freedom might be ascribed to him as only God has true libertarian freedom. Adam was influenced by his ignorance as people are today with people today also born without faith (in Christ) and that produces Total Depravity.

      2. rhutchin
        To do that, God would have to make people as Himself.

        br.d
        Thank you for an excellent example of pure question-begging speculation
        What percentage of Calvinist thinking is fallacious thinking? :-]

        rhutchin
        only God has true libertarian freedom.

        br.d
        Thank you for once more affirming the existence of Libertarian Freedom!
        And if history repeats itself – all I have to do is wait for you to follow that with an assertion that Libertarian Freedom doesn’t exist in any form

        But now you have two kinds of Libertarian Freedom
        A TRUE kind and a FALSE kind

        Another example of rational thinking?

        TRUE perceptions vs FALSE perceptions of human freedom would be much more rational.

        That would bring us to the problem the Calvinist has every time he insists Calvin’s god can RENDER-CERTAIN the existence of self-canceling options (via self-canceling decrees) – with which Calvin’s god “MERELY” permits (and thus makes available to) Adam and mankind.

        All of which is LOGICALLY impossible in Exhaustive Determinism :-]

        rhutchin
        Adam was influenced by his ignorance

        br.d
        Which was meticulously determined *FOR* Adam and not *BY* Adam

        In Calvinism – Adam was as John Calvin states it

        A: MOVED EXACTLY in the course which he [Calvin’s god] destined

        B: Constantly INFUSED WITH THAT ENERGY Calvin’s god saw meet. And TURNED and CONVERTED to that purpose at his pleasure. (Institutes)

        Which brings us to the TRUE “T” In the TULIP

        “T” Totally Predestined Nature:
        The state of man’s nature at any instance in time is totally predestined prior to creation, and therefore absolutely nothing about any part of man’s nature (or anything else for that matter) is ever UP TO any man.

      3. br.d writes, ‘Thank you for once more affirming the existence of Libertarian Freedom!”

        No one has ever denied that God has libertarian freedom. At issue is whether people, who are not God, have libertarian freedom – and how it would work with people.

        Then, “all I have to do is wait for you to follow that with an assertion that Libertarian Freedom doesn’t exist in any form”

        That’s because no one has been able to define libertarian freedom in a way that can be applied to people without failing to distinguish libertarian freedom from compatibilistic freedom.

      4. rhutchin
        No one has ever denied that God has libertarian freedom…..

        br.d
        Oh I’ll bet I can find a few posts from days gone by – insisting the opposite

        And besides – all I have to do is wait for you to follow that with an assertion that Libertarian Freedom doesn’t exist in any form”

        rhutchin
        That’s because no one has been able to define libertarian freedom in a way that can be applied to people without failing to distinguish libertarian freedom from compatibilistic freedom.

        br.d
        Well – you’re acknowledgement that Libertarian Freedom exists – shows that you know its not compatibilistic freedom
        Because compatibilistic freedom is freedom that is COMPATIBLE with determinism.

        And you’ve already acknowledged that Calvin’s god’s impulses are not controlled by factors outside of his control.
        And you’ve acknowledged that Calvin’s god has multiple options from which to choose -during choice making.
        And those two attributes rule out determinism
        And without determinism – you don’t have compatibilist freedom.

        So we’re back to the fact that Libertarian Freedom is part of the Imago Dei (Image of God).
        The question again then – becomes – why in Calvinism – there was not divine choice to grant that part of the divine image to mankind.

      5. br.d: “Well – you’re acknowledgement that Libertarian Freedom exists – shows that you know its not compatibilistic freedom”

        Libertarian freedom exists with God. Efforts to define libertarian freedom for people have so far failed to distinguish it from compatibilistic freedom. Regardless, whatever “libertarian” freedom might be ascribed to people, it would not be the same as that libertarian freedom ascribed to God.

        Then, “And you’ve already acknowledged that Calvin’s god’s impulses are not controlled by factors outside of his control.”

        And people’s impulses are controlled by factors outside of their control. For example, people are born without faith and are ruled by their selfishness, covetousness, and pride.

        Then, “And without determinism – you don’t have compatibilist freedom.”

        Yes. That is why God has libertarian freedom.

        Then, “The question again then – becomes – why in Calvinism – there was not divine choice to grant that part of the divine image to mankind.”

        This because God made man an imperfect being. That imperfection meant that the libertarian freedom God enjoyed as a perfect being could not be granted to His created imperfect beings.

      6. rhutchin
        Libertarian freedom exists with God.

        br.d
        Therefore it exists.
        And you know that it exists – by its attributes!
        So its just a matter of what attribute you know exist.

        rhutchin
        Efforts to define libertarian freedom for people have so far failed to distinguish it from compatibilistic freedom.

        br.d
        Only for those who can’t discern the attributes of Libertarian Freedom :-]

        rhutchin
        Regardless, whatever “libertarian” freedom might be ascribed to people, it would not be the same as that libertarian freedom ascribed to God.

        br.d
        The fallacy here is black and white thinking.

        Rain exists – but it doesn’t exist everywhere – and it doesn’t exist 100% of the time

        Even Calvin’s god’s actions are limited by LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITIES
        He can’t create square-circles, married-bachelors, and rocks that are too heavy for himself to lift.

        As long as it is not a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY to grant any part of his Imago Dei to his creatures then he is omnipotent enough to do so

        And we’ve established attributes that do not exist with determinism:

        For example
        And you’ve already acknowledged that Calvin’s god’s impulses are not controlled by factors outside of his control.”

        rhutchin
        And people’s impulses are controlled by factors outside of their control.

        br.d
        That would be true IF Determinism is Exhaustive yes.
        But then it would also be true – that your brain is not permitted to determine TRUE from FALSE on any matter.
        And therefore if Determinism were TRUE – you wouldn’t be able to know whether it is TRUE or FALSE.

        Determinism is acknowledged by all of the literature as an UN-falsifiable belief system.

        As Calvinist Gregory Koukl states
        -quote:
        On Determinism – one could never judge between a good idea and a bad one. One would only hold beliefs because he has been predetermined to do so. Although it is theoretically possible that determinism is true…..no one could ever know if it – if it were.

        Everyone of our thoughts dispositions and opinions would have been decided for us by factors completely out of our control.
        Therefore in practice, arguments for determinism are self defeating.”

        The question again then – becomes – why in Calvinism – there was not divine choice to grant that part of the divine image to mankind.”

        rhutchin
        This because God made man an imperfect being. That imperfection meant that the libertarian freedom God enjoyed as a perfect being could not be granted to His created imperfect beings.

        br.d
        This is a wonderful example of question begging speculation!

        In the mean time – you go about your office *AS-IF* you brain is permitted to determine TRUE from FALSE on any matter.
        Which of course – on Exhaustive Divine Determinism is FALSE

        Having a brain that is not permitted to determine TRUE from FALSE on any matter – then serves as an example of a Calvinist imperfection! :-]

  5. Every time I read or hear this line from the Westminster Confession, it elicits a chuckle:

    God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures…

    Here is what comes to mind…

    God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably cause it to rain; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of rain, nor did He cause it to be wet…

    1. OH That is good!!!!
      Hilarious!!

      The first rule of rightly understanding Calvinism – and not getting lured down into its ditch of double-think – is to never take is seriously! :-]

      1. br.d writes, “The first rule of rightly understanding Calvinism – and not getting lured down into its ditch of double-think – is to never take is seriously!”

        That just means that you never want to dive into the Scriptures to prove the Calvinists use of those Scriptures wrong.

      2. rhutchin
        br.d writes, “The first rule of rightly understanding Calvinism – and not getting lured down into its ditch of double-think – is to never take is seriously!”

        rhutchin
        That just means that you never want to dive into the Scriptures…..

        br.d
        This shows how easy it is for a Calvinist to equate double-think with Scripture! :-]

      3. br.d writes, “This shows how easy it is for a Calvinist to equate double-think with Scripture! ”

        Nope. This shows that anyone can see that br.d is one to avoid the Scriptures.

      4. br.d
        Not falling into Calvinism’s ditch of double-think – does not logically follow as avoiding scripture. :-]

    2. Steve writes, “Here is what comes to mind…”God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably cause it to rain; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of rain, nor did He cause it to be wet…”

      By “cause,” do you mean that God made the world and established within that world a system that generates raid and that God, by His sovereign power, decrees all future events where it will rain?

      This would follow from Genesis 7, “In seven days, I will cause it to rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights. Every living thing that I have made, I will destroy from the surface of the ground.” Also Exodus 9, “Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as has not been in Egypt since the day it was founded even until now. ” This accords with that which Jesus taught in Matthew 5, “For God makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.”

      How do these verses fit with your understanding of the Westminster Confession. What is it that makes you chuckle?

      1. rhutchin
        By “cause,” do you mean that God made the world ….etc

        br.d
        Calvinist’s do love their DOUBLE-SPEAK language don’t they!

        Cause as in:
        No infallible decree for a specific impulse to come to pass within in your brain – equals no impulse comes to pass in your brain. :-]

      2. br.d writes, “Cause as in: No infallible decree for a specific impulse to come to pass within in your brain – equals no impulse comes to pass in your brain.”

        OK. No brain; no impulses.

      3. br.d
        Cause as in: No infallible decree for a specific impulse to come to pass within in your brain – equals no impulse comes to pass in your brain.”

        rhutchin
        OK. No brain; no impulses.

        br.d
        Brain or no brain – no specific decree – equals no impulse in the brain! :-]

        Don’t you remember rhutchin?
        In Calvinism EVERYTHING is determined in EVERY PART

        Oh that’s right – you’re still constantly following Calvin’s instructions – going about your office *AS-IF* some things are not determined in any part!

        Its become so second nature to you – you just can’t help yourself! :-]

      4. br.d: “Brain or no brain – no specific decree – equals no impulse in the brain!”

        Yes. No decree, no creation; no creation, no people; no people, no brains; no brains, no impulses.

      5. rhutchin
        br.d: “Brain or no brain – no specific decree – equals no impulse in the brain!”

        rhutchin
        Yes. No decree, no creation; no creation, no people; no people, no brains; no brains, no impulses.

        br.d
        Wonderful! Another example of unwittingly following Calvin’s *AS-IF* thinking instructions.
        *AS-IF* in Calvin’s god doesn’t determine 100% of every impulse within the brain – and in every part

        Keep em coming rhutchin – this is great! :-]

  6. It must be remarkably liberating to be freed from the constraints of contradictions when defending one’s belief system. You can make absurd statements like the one above, wipe your mouth, and state “I’ve done nothing wrong.”

    Hat tip: Proverbs 30:20

    1. There is a humorous story that Dr. Alvin Plantinga tells about how people live in contradiction of their belief system.
      He was visiting a certain College – and if I remember – he was to give the graduation speech.
      While talking to the Dean, he was informed they had a professor who believed in Solipsism (i.e. everyone is a figment of his imagination).
      Plantinga was curious – would the professor treat him as a real person – or as a figment of his imagination?
      So he went to introduce himself to the professor.
      Afterwards Plantinga remarked – in direct contradiction to his belief system – the professor treated him *AS-IF* he were real.

      That story always reminds me of Calvinists
      They hold the doctrine as TRUE – while going about their office *AS-IF* it is FALSE.
      And for the same reason the Solipsist does. ;-D

      1. br.d writes, “That story always reminds me of Calvinists They hold the doctrine as TRUE – while going about their office *AS-IF* it is FALSE.”

        br.d is prone to ascribing false doctrine to Calvinists. Just because Calvin may have written of such, as br.d has previously claimed, he is careful to avoid quoting Calvin in context or investigating the Scriptures cited by Calvin in support of Calvin’s position. br.d is known for quote mining and ignoring context.

      2. br.d
        Following Calvin’s instructions – they hold the doctrine as TRUE – while going about their office *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

        rhutchin
        Just because Calvin may have written of such, as br.d has previously claimed

        br.d
        Well – Firsty:
        Concerning Calvin’s instructions to go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part – you’ve stated more than once – you disagree with Calvin’s instruction. Thus you’ve already shown you acknowledge it.

        And Secondly:
        You wonderfully and graciously manifest Calvin’s instruction in all too many posts
        Always trying to manufacture some clever language – which is only coherent with Calvin’s god did NOT determining something in every part.

        So – to my entertainment – you wonderfully and graciously manifest the very instructions you say you disagree with.
        All when you do – and I point it out to you – you simply go on to provide another example!

        Of course – the Lord is having you provide those examples for SOT101 readers
        He’s using it for the good!
        Which he is really awesome at doing! :-]

      3. br.d writes, “you’ve stated more than once – you disagree with Calvin’s instruction. Thus you’ve already shown you acknowledge it.”

        No, I didn’t say that I disagree with it; I said that Calvin did not apply it to everyone so that it is not Calvinist doctrine. My complaint is that you have a tendency to cite Calvin outside of context.

        Then, ‘You wonderfully and graciously manifest Calvin’s instruction in all too many posts
        Always trying to manufacture some clever language – which is only coherent with Calvin’s god did NOT determining something in every part.”

        LOL!!! Calvin was a smart man. Even he could figure out that God’s omniscience and perfect understanding meant that God determined everything. Even you have figured that out, and you seem to be a couple levels below Calvin.

      4. rhutchin
        No, I didn’t say that I disagree with it…..

        br.d
        Oh yes you did! :-]

        rhutchin
        Calvin was a smart man. Even he could figure out that God’s omniscience and perfect understanding meant that God determined everything.

        br.d
        And that’s why he instructions you as follows:

        -quote
        “Hence as to future time, because the issue of all things is hidden from us, each ought to so to apply himself to his office, AS THOUGH NOTHING were determined about any part.” (Concerning the eternal predestination of god)

        But that doesn’t fully explain why your mind can’t break free from habitually following that instruction

        I think your brain has been so focused on trying to make Calvinism APPEAR as IN-deterministic as possible – is the reason your brain automatically and subconsciously does it.

        The human mind is malleable – and can be conditioned.
        Over a prolonged period of time – constantly treating TRUTHS *AS-IF* they are FALSE – the mind eventually looses its ability to discern the difference.

    2. Steve writes, “You can make absurd statements like the one above, wipe your mouth, and state “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
      Hat tip: Proverbs 30:20”

      Did you mean to identify the writer with an adulterous woman which would seem to have you claiming that the author is a heretic?

  7. The comparison to the adulteress of Prov 30:20 is one of tone-deafness. She cannot see the blatant contradiction in her actions and words. In like fashion, the authors of the WC penned a blatant contradiction in assigning causation of everything to God while simultaneously absolving Him of responsibility. You cannot have it both ways. It is as absurd as saying “He caused it, yet not in such a way that He caused it.” And yet millions repeat this creed as if it is tantamount to Scripture. Jesus rightly accused the Pharisees of invalidating scripture with their traditions/systems. Calvinism likewise invalidates scripture by elevating a system above the Word.

    1. Steve writes, “In like fashion, the authors of the WC penned a blatant contradiction in assigning causation of everything to God while simultaneously absolving Him of responsibility.”

      I think the WC authors thought of God as working through secondary means – placing people in circumstances where those circumstances produced a desired result. For example, God gives Satan free access to the garden knowing that Satan could easily tempt Eve to eat the apple and that Eve would then get Adam to eat also. God caused this because He made Adam/Eve and knew that they were imperfect and easily manipulated by Satan. I don’t think the WC authors absolved God of responsibility but of accountability – although many seem to get this wrong. The Scriptures attribute responsibility to God for causing all events (God works all things according to the counsel of His will) but deny that God is accountable to anyone for those events as those events serve His righteous purpose. The human participants in those events are accountable to God based on their evil purposes and willful participation. The Assyrians of Isaiah 10 are an example.

      1. rhutchin
        God gives Satan free access to the garden knowing that Satan could easily tempt Eve

        br.d
        Another wonder full example of following John Calvin’s instructions!

        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god did not determine Satan’s every impulse – and in every part.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        For that cannot be called mere PERMISSION when god….himself ORDERS Satan to go forth and do. (Commentary Ezekiel)

        John Calvin
        -quote
        The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly….can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how
        they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless…..he COMMANDS…they are even FORCED to do Him service.(Institutes)

        You just can’t help yourself rhutchin – you obey Calvin’s instructions every time! :-]

      2. br.d writes, “*AS-IF* Calvin’s god did not determine Satan’s every impulse – and in every part.
        John Calvin-quote- “For that cannot be called mere PERMISSION when god….himself ORDERS Satan to go forth and do.” (Commentary Ezekiel)”

        It is God who made Satan and made him an imperfect being who was dependent on God for any perfection he might obtain. It is God who understands Satan’s imperfections and places Satan in an environment and in circumstances where God knows perfectly how Satan will react. We see in the example of Job that it is God who dictates the rules under which Satan can torment Job and thereby orders the torment of Job. Thus, Job says, “Yahweh gave, and Yahweh has taken away. ” and “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”

      3. rhutchin
        It is God who made Satan and made him an imperfect being who was dependent on God for any perfection he might obtain.

        br.d
        CALVINIST INTERPRETATION
        Calvin’s god determines 100% of what Satan will be/do – and does not permit Satan to be/do otherwise
        As John Calvin states it
        -quote
        “They are FORCED to do his service”

        rhutchin
        It is God who understands Satan’s imperfections and places Satan in an environment and in circumstances where God knows perfectly how Satan will react.

        br.d
        John Calvin
        -quote
        “He foresees ONLY as the consequence of his decree”
        So what Calvin’s god “understands” concerning any [X] (in this case Satan) is what he decreed.

        Thank you rhutchin for providing another example of John Calvin’s instructions
        Going about your office *AS-IF* something (in this case Satan’s impulses) are not determined in every part.

        rhutchin
        We see in the example of Job….

        br.d
        Ditto for job :-]

      4. br.d writres, “Calvin’s god determines 100% of what Satan will be/do – and does not permit Satan to be/do otherwise
        As John Calvin states it -quote- “They are FORCED to do his service”

        Not even Satan can do other than God says he can do (as we see with Job). Satan is forced to do God’s service yet he does so willingly thinking that he does his own service.

        Then, ‘So what Calvin’s god “understands” concerning any [X] (in this case Satan) is what he decreed.”

        Satan, as well as man, reacts to God.

      5. rhutchin
        Not even Satan can do other than God says he can do

        br.d
        Calvinist language is so OBVIOUS!

        Here we have “not even” Satan can “do other” than what Calvin’s god “says”

        The language here is designed to INFER there are some creatures who can have an impulse in their brains that Calvin’s god doesn’t determine.

        rhutchin
        Satan is forced…yet he does so willingly

        br.d
        DUH! Exactly the same as what you do – because no impulse can come to pass in Satan or your brain – that Calvin’s god didn’t determined

        No specific decree = no impulse.

        rhutchin
        Satan, as well as man, reacts to God.

        br.d
        Just as long as one understands the word “Re-Act” in Calvinism does’t have its NORMATIVE meaning.

        The NORMATIVE meaning of the term “RE-act” entails some degree of self-determined brain activity – which doesn’t exist in Calvinism :-]

      6. rhutchin
        The Assyrians of Isaiah 10 are an example.

        br.d
        Right! In Calvinism – the Assyrians are a great example of Calvin’s god determining every impulse that can come to pass in the human brain.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Men may not even agitate anything in their deliberations but what he [Calvin’s god] inspires.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        “Everything….moment to moment is determined….every IMPULSE to action preceeds from god” (Systematic Theology)

        Good one rhutchin! :-]

      7. br.d: “In Calvinism – the Assyrians are a great example of Calvin’s god determining every impulse that can come to pass in the human brain.”

        Yes. In making the Assyrians imperfect beings and denying them faith, God determined that they would be ruled by their selfishness, covetousness, and pride and thereby every impulse in their brain would arise initiated by sinful desires – none of which can arise without God’s knowledge and concurrence.

      8. br.d
        “In Calvinism – the Assyrians are a great example of Calvin’s god determining every impulse that can come to pass in the human brain.”

        rhutchin
        Yes. In making the Assyrians imperfect beings and denying them faith, God determined….

        br.d
        Here we have another example of Calvin’s *AS-IF* thinking instructions
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god did not determined 100% of every impulse that can come to pass within the Assyrian’s brains – and in every part.

        I love it how you can’t help yourself but follow Calvin’s instructions!
        You do it without thinking! :-]

      9. br.d writes, “Here we have another example of Calvin’s *AS-IF* thinking…’

        Any “as-if” thinking seems to arise from your imagination. Otherwise, I don’t know where it comes from.

      10. br.d
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god did not determine 100% of every impulse that can come to pass within the Assyrian’s brains – and in every part.

        Here we have another example of Calvin’s *AS-IF* thinking…’

        rhutchin
        Any “as-if” thinking seems to arise from your imagination.

        br.d
        *AS-IF* seems and be are not the same thing! :-]

        rhutchin
        Otherwise, I don’t know where it comes from.

        br.d
        *AS-IF* you are not following John Calvin’s instructions!

        John Calvin
        -quote
        “Hence as to future time, because the issue of all things is hidden from us, each ought to so to apply himself to his office, AS THOUGH nothing were determined about any part.”

        Thank you rhuthcin
        You can’t help yourself – but provide a continual stream of examples! :-]

      11. br.d: “*AS-IF* it didn’t come from John Calvin’s brain – into your brain!
        John Calvin-quote-
        “Hence as to future time, because the issue of all things is hidden from us, each ought to so to apply himself to his office, AS THOUGH nothing were determined about any part.”

        I guess, on this point, not many follow Calvin’s advice. It is because the future is determined that people ask God to fulfill His promises for them.

      12. rhutchin
        I guess, on this point, not many follow Calvin’s advice. It is because the future is determined that people ask God to fulfill His promises for them.

        br.d
        Oh! That is totally hilarious!!!
        While RH can’t help himself but provide examples of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking – he says not many follow it.

        *AS-IF*

        One more confirmation – that Calvinism was given to mankind as a form of entertainment! ;-D

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