Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Human Responsibility and Ability

One of the most common errors of Arminianism is that it assumes that since humans are responsible for their souls, then they have the ability to choose salvation or damnation. Tied in with this assumption is the assumption that Calvinists deny human responsibility. They do not. They recognize that human beings are completely responsible for their sinful states. Calvinists affirm that men have wills and have a responsibility to choose Christ. However, Calvinists take seriously the numerous Biblical passages that speak of man's enslavement to sin. The notion of a libertarian free will is nowhere found in the Bible. The Bible repeatedly speaks of the will being enslaved to sin. There was freedom. Man was free in his original state. But he freely chose to become enslaved to sin. But Arminians think that humans have a libertarian free will simply because the Bible commands men to choose Christ. They argue thus: "God wouldn't command men to do something that they can't do, would He? That wouldn't be fair." It is completely fair because it is man's own fault that he is unable! The relationship between human responsibility and human ability is this: humans are responsible for not being able! But if you were to say that this matter of ability is not clear enough (because words like dead and enlsaved are just too ambiguous for you), then I would ask you this question from a matter that is more clear to us. The Isrealites were commanded to obey every single law given by God (Deuteronomy 28:15). Now the question must be raised: Were the Israelites able to do so? We must say no, unless we decide to abandon even what orthodoxy remains in Arminianism and become full-out Pelagians. If man is able to keep all the commands of God, then why do we need a Savior?

Now this is where grace comes in. If man were able to achieve his salvation, even just a tiny part of it, then he could boast. Salvation is wholly of grace.

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