Book Review of “Predestination and Free Will: Four Views”

Posted: July 21, 2009 by Rick Hogaboam in Calvinism, Theology,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_.jpgThis book is toooooo short to address this issue fairly from 4 different perspectives. I will only say that I was surprisingly appreciative of Bruce Reichenbach of Augsburg College attempt to define his views, but still reject it at the end of the day. BTW, he articulated God’s foreknowledge of future free events (Traditional Arminianism/Wesleyan). Clark Pinnock (Open Knowledge) was really horrid and was expecting more from this ‘Evangelical’ godfather of sorts for this particular view that God knows nothing of the future.

John Feinberg articulated God’s exhaustive foreknowledge based on God’s decree and tried to define compatibilism in how God’s sovereign decree is played out while consisting of man’s free (uncoerced against one’s will). He sought to define this mystery using some philosophical language and thought some of the categories were helpful, but would be almost impossible to explain to a lay person who inquires about this issue.

Norman Geisler presents what he considers a moderate Calvinist position and I fould him intuitively trying to explain how God is actively working out His will in particular instances while passively allowing man’s free decisions to work within His purposes at the same time. He sounds more like Wesley than Calvin to me. He says that God’s foreknowledge and His predestination occur concurrently and one doesn’t necessarily precede the other or is subservient to the other. I find this logic faulty at many levels.

Anyhow, if one asserts God’s exhaustive foreknowledge of all future events, even if based on free decisions of man, one still doesn’t escape the tension the issue of Sovereignty and Free Will have long presented the inquirer. Most assert that God was free to create however He wanted and was not bound to create as he hypothetically foresaw, which means that God chose the path that most accorded with His will while denying what would have potentially been otherwise. I disagree with this logic, but it is one I use with my Arminian friends to show that they are seemingly in the same camp with me whom they accuse. I also grant the possibility that we are completely free and simply ask the questions whether God is completely free to strike dead whomsoever He wills. The minute the Arminian says yes, then I show how they are also in the same camp with me whom they are contending against. If God chooses NOT to strike someone down, then it is ultimately His will that certain people live, etc.

Anyhow, this book was dissapointing and I would instead suggest that people go straight to John Calvin’s Institutes and Jacob Arminius’ theological treatise.


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