Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Doctrine of Man in Classical Lutheran Theology IV

After discussing the position of Lorenzo Valla, who confuses God’s foreknowledge with God’s will, saying "It is useless to discuss whether God’s foreknowledge makes for necessity, since in God will is always joined with foreknowledge. Because in God there is nothing accidental nor any diversity, but one simple essence, he sees the future for no other reason than that he has arranged and decided that things should so be. Even if it be said that he only permits things, nevertheless let it be added that he permits them because he so wills." (Pg. 71) Chemnitz says all we really learn from this is how one mistake leads to another.
“When a mistake is made by shifting the sense of the premise, a proper conclusion cannot be deduced.
Therefore discussions of contingency, foreknowledge, predestination, and the secret counsel of a God who governs all are to be excluded from this topic. For the issue here has to do with what power fallen man possesses to obey the Law. Since in the mind came darkness, in the will rejection of God, and in the heart inflexible stubbornness against the Law of God, and because God’s Law demands not only external civil deeds but unceasing, perfect obedience of the whole man, the inquiry deals with what and how much the human will can do. “The Power of Man” is therefore a more appropriate title than “Free Will.” (Pg.72)
I like this. Rather than discussing in what and to what extent man’s will is free, to ask what is and is not in the power of man to do. The will is bound, but it is not a puppet.

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