Thank You Very Much

Sometimes on some days, something out of the blue, something good just happens. You have to just thank the Lord, offer up a “praise Jesus” and pass the ammo. The other day I was making the blog rounds and peeking into various venues to see what what going on. I popped on to James White’s blog to find him taking a crack at Bill Craig.

White has taken issue with a reported statement by Craig to the effect that Calvinism denies a legitimate opportunity to those who would repent. White responds that there never has been such a person that could repent apart from monergistically operating grace so that Craig is just misrepresenting Calvinism.

That may be so or it may not be so. I really don’t care one way or the other. Whatever disagreements I have with Craig, he is a genuine scholar and a good philosopher. He is an effective communicator and has done quite a bit for the cause of Christ. All the times I have met him, he has always been gracious, almost to a fault. And besides, he seems like a genuinely nice guy.

I suspect that he knows how Calvinists will respond and that he has some reason ready to wollop their response. But either way, it doesn’t matter to me. I am not a Molinist and I don’t think Molinism is compatible with Libertarian conditions on free will, nor with Trinitarianism and a host of other things.

But what I just had to thank James White for was the following line.

“Let it be fully understood. The Bible teaches absolute libertarianism—the free will of God. Man’s will is a creaturely will, that, since Adam, is the slave of sin.”

Well thank you James. No, really, thank you. Thank you very much!

 

I don’t think James White really means this. I waited to see if anyone else would pick up on White’s comment, but to my knowledge, no one else caught this slip. But I did.  I think if he knew what Libertarianism was, he wouldn’t be talking like this. I’ve sketched it here before, but roughly, Libertarianism is a thesis about the conditions on free will which entails two conditions, UR and AP where the former implies the latter. UR stands for ultimate responsibility. In order for an act to be free the agent must be the source and hence cause of the action. This doesn’t exclude other antecedent causes outside or inside the agent, but what it does imply is that such causes can’t be sufficient causes. They could be jointly sufficient though.

In order for the agent to be the source of their actions, a terminus for the action, the agent has to be responsible for the action exercising the approprite kind of control over not only the things that they will but the kind of will that they end up having. These are designated as self forming willings.

But to fulfill the UR conditions, the agent has to be able to select between alternative possibile wills and hence characters. This means that in order for an action to be freely willed the agent has to have alternative possibilities open and accessable to them. That is, they could bring about either option if they so willed.

This does not mean that every action needs to be so freely willed in order for an agent to meet the conditions on freedom that libertarians advocate. Some agents could be determined by antecedent character states or choices made by the agent at some earlier point in time. Just so long as the determining actions were freely willed, then the determined actions can be considered free since the trace back to the freely willed act. Fixity of character isn’t incompatible with the libertarian conditions on free will.

Now that is a thumbnail sketch of what Libertarianism is. Is that what James White thinks God has? I don’t think so, but he said it nonetheless. I think he has confused the supremacy of will and externally unfettered volitional action that Calvinists think that God has with libertarian freedom. But just because God wills without any external constraints, that of itself doesn’t imply that the willing is free or free under the conditions entailed by Libertarianism. A lack of constraints in willing doesn’t imply a non-determined act of willing

But the real gift from White was claiming that the Bible teaches it. That just warms my little libertarian heart. That means that White thinks that Libertarianism is a coherent concept, since after all, nothing directly contradictory or incoherent can be ascribed to God or taught by the Bible. That excludes all of the arguments from White’s apologetic arsenal all of the arguments from critics of Libertarianism that it is an incoherent concept. You can kiss Martin Luther’s Bondage of the Will,  Jonathan Edwards On Free Will, and Harry Frankfurt’s Covert Counter-Factual Controllers, bye bye, Dorthy.

The disagreement then is not over whether Libertarianism is a coherent concept or even if it is true. If its true of God, then its true and a coherent concept. It is not even if the Bible teaches the concept. The disagreement between Libertarians and White is who fulfills the conditions on freedom. White restricts it to God. The underlying reasoning is fairly common among Calvinists-the actions of human persons is determined by human nature. With a corrupted human nature, human persons can then only do corrupt acts. Therefore they can never of their own natural power choose faith which is a naturual good.

There are a couple of flops to stop and take notice of here. First, even if it were true that nature determined the acts of the person that subsisted within that nature, it doesn’t follow that if humans have a corrupt nature that there is one single act that the nature picks or singles out. It would only circumscribe the options to all corrupt ones.

It is also important to keep in mind the distinction between willing otherwise and doing otherwise. It may be true that agents with a corrupt will cannot do the good, but it doesn’t follow that they cannot will it. (Romans 7:19)

More directly it isn’t a metaphysical truth in the first place that natures determine the actions of agents. It is certaintly not true in the case of the Trinity. It also seems not to be true in the case of pre-fall angels and humans. Their natures were entirely good and yet they fell. In order to get from the idea of circumscribed options to determined option we’d need to add some other thesis. But even with circumscribed options being according to nature, this doesn’t always seem to be true, particularly in the case of pre-fall angels and humans. Their natures were good, but some of their options were evil. To get circumscription of options relative to nature we’d need to add some other thesis.

But as I noted above, the real gift is White’s claim that the Bible teaches Libertarianism, albeit with respect to God. Given White’s determination to ground his beliefs in Scripture alone and his adherence to Sola Scriptura, where does White think the Bible teaches that God fulfills the conditions on Libertarian free will? I would just love to see him put forward an exegesis of assorted texts or any texts at all for that matter of where he thinks the Bible teaches that God fulfills the conditions on Libertarian free will. That is just a precious gift.

Where James in the Bible does it teach this? Where is the exegetical demonstration that God enjoys Libertarian free will?

33 Responses to Thank You Very Much

  1. John says:

    One thing I’ve noticed, and this applies to Mr White as well as the Triabloguers, is that they advance arguments against free will that if applied to God, would imply God does not have free will. One of them is “God knows the future. If the future is known there is no choice. Thus there is no free will”. That argument raises all sorts of difficult questions about whether God is fully aware of his own future and thus has no will.

  2. photios says:

    One other thing, I’m not sure the ecclesiastical angle comes to the fore in the new book. It might I don’t know. It will someday, and when it does it’ll be another bombshell.

  3. Jay Dyer says:

    The reality is, Joseph, Photios secretly likes nicenetruth! (lol)

  4. Jay Dyer says:

    Dr. Farrell knew Malachi Martin! The plot thickens…

  5. photios says:

    No actually I’m not privy to that literature yet, but he shares little blurbs with me.

    You can get alot of similar things in Frs. Hans Kung and Malachi Martin though, ironically, Roman Catholics, one liberal and one traditional. Fr. Farrell was a friend of Fr. Malachi.

    But you’re right to bring that up though, that book is going to be HUGE.

  6. Joseph Schmitt says:

    “The fact they are not in the global ‘pattern of apostacy’ that is in league with the International Banksters (i.e. Roamin Catholischism), with a Global diplomacy coupled with a Global religion, they are doing well for themselves.”

    Sounds like you may have an advance copy of Farrell’s forthcoming book, perhaps?

  7. photios says:

    Lame isn’t really what comes to my mind. Pride and passionate are the words that come to my mind (not necessarily a bad thing), which I could equally attribute to myself.

  8. Jay Dyer says:

    I think White is lame. I was a follower back in 1999 and even then began to wonder when he, in my opinion, started losing debates to Gerry. After watching him for years, I also find that lisp he has taken on to be unappealing.

  9. Jay Dyer says:

    I always like to ask my Calvinist buddies whether, when Jesus says in the Apocalypse that He gave “that Jezebel” a space of time to repent, He really did or not.

  10. photios says:

    There’s many reasons why I’m not overtly critical or polemical towards Calvinists anymore:

    (1) They are trying to maintain their *cultural autonomy* in face of “denominations” that are in or headed towards their OWN confessional apostacy.

    (2) They are committed to the Word of God.

    (3) They are trying to survive. The fact they are not in the global ‘pattern of apostacy’ that is in league with the International Banksters (i.e. Roamin Catholischism), with a Global diplomacy coupled with a Global religion, they are doing well for themselves.

    White may not be perceptive enough to be aware of point (3) (or maybe he does, Steve Hays definitely does to a certain extent), but he is aware of points (1) and (2), and for that I can understand alot of his reaction to RC apologists, as well as why I can understand the polemical nature of one like Steve Hays which is why I treat them very differently than I do the Roman Catholics that come around here selling there ill bag of goods (save Lefebvrists and sede vacantists, i.e. Traditional Roman Catholics who are NOT playing ball with the current regime).

    I used to think that Calvinists needed to get out of their little ‘Reformed Ghetto’, but I’m not so sure anymore. Best thing they can do for themselves is stay right where they are and maintain their confessional standard. In doing so, they learn something about what it means to hold fast to tradition.

    Photios

  11. Joseph Schmitt says:

    Requiring opponents to answer loaded questions with a simple yes or no is something that I find to be intolerable.

  12. photios says:

    Yeah you’re right that the tactics displayed on the ‘dividing line’, at times, have a nature of control that I don’t find very appealing, but then again, he’s constantly being barraged by the Catholic apologist crowd that wishes everyone to bow down to the knee of the papacy.

    On the other hand, I could see from Dr. White’s perspective of hearing someone present a position that has nothing to do with the confessional standard that the person represents as particularly annoying.

  13. Joseph Schmitt says:

    If you want to hear a real howler, look up White’s phone “debate” w/ Jonathan Prejean. It showcases just how pathetic White’s debate tactics are.

  14. photios says:

    I don’t comment much on Dr. White on here, but I will note a couple of things. I’ve listened to his ‘dividing line’ over the years and still do. I don’t know enough to say whether or not he got his Dr. from a diploma mill or not, but what does seem certain to me anyways is that he has done the work in all kinds of topics to warrant being called a doctor. He also publically refrains from commenting on Orthodoxy, because as he admits he doesn’t know enough about it to say, which I find prudent. He’s no Fr. Malachi Martin, but I think he’s a pretty perceptive person, especially in smelling the gnostic tactics that Roman Catholics use to argue for their doctrines and silence their opponents.

    He’s basically going after Dr. Craig here because Craig stated that Calvinism was basically heresy in one of his debates, I think it was the one with Hitchens–I can’t remember though.

    Not surprisingly, he sees the mysteries or sacraments as in dialectical opposition to God’s grace (though, since we don’t have the same doctrinal formulation of God, we don’t have the same view of grace). The recapitulational aspect of say baptism never really appears on the radar scope. I often wonder how he would react to a book like ‘God, History, and Dialectic’.

    On another note, I have tried to think through clearly how the Fathers understood the relationship between their baptism into Christ and Pauline Justification in Romans and Galatians. Though some Fathers, notably Augustine, think that baptism IS justification, it’s not entirely clear that the other Father’s necessarily thought they were the same thing or only virtually distinct. What is clear is that the Father’s view baptism as a part of deification, and I really don’t think deification and justification are the same thing or just different aspects of the same thing (like divine simplicity) in Orthodoxy. I’ve tried as much as I can to distance myself as much as possible from those later debates on justification to understand the Pauline text and how the early Fathers understood St. Paul.

  15. s-p says:

    (Dr.) James White is a “local” in my parts, and I’ve had a couple dealings with him. It is pretty common knowledge his “Dr.” came from his own diploma mill. He’s made a name as a Romeophobic “debater” but when pressed it becomes evident he knows some stuff about a lot of stuff and preys on the ignorance of his opponents. I’m not surprised he said something like this. OTOH, Photios’ nuanced concerns are noted.

  16. Brad says:

    Hi Perry, I read through your linked posts, and a few other items, [and then the following posts by photios and Fr. Maximus]. The next question I have may seem unrelated, but maybe not. Do Orthodox believers consider that Jesus as the Divine Logos is the foundation of all true logical propositions? And, that all contrary logical propositions are by definition untrue, and break down at some point, though possibly sound even so far back as up to an ultimate [false]proposition[i.e. there is no God]?

    Thanks Brad

  17. photios says:

    My concern with Perry’s post (and it was really more a concern then anything) was that it seemed to suggest that we need to defend ‘libertarian free will’ as a concept in philosophy divorced from its Christological and Christian Revelation basis: ‘libertarian’ free will is a position defined by philosophers of ‘religion’-in general as the dialectical opposite of ‘compatibilism,’ where St. Maximus’ position really looks like neither and some elements of both of those ideas are applicable to him.

    The scriptures call the Son predestinating God, yet He is also predestinated man, all contained and reconciled in His one singular Hypostasis. There are paradoxical points in the Scriptures that can’t be placed into an either/or system of logic.

  18. Fr. Maximus says:

    Yes, this was my perception too, that rationalism and fideism are in dialectical opposition. I agree absolutely that our first principle must be Jesus Christ and not any philosophical arguments. But what I am interested in is in what sense the Fathers may employ philosophical arguments working on the (pre!)supposition of Christ… it seems that they do. This relates to the dispute of Palamas with Barlaam over demonstrative and dialectical argumentation, and the question of whether, if one wished the make a philosophical argument in Christian context, it would attain anything more than probability.

  19. photios says:

    Fr. Maximus

    In fideism, faith and reason are in dialectical opposition, such that reason is disparaged in favor of faith and the two can’t really be in harmony. Though fideism is correct, in my observation, of having the first place of the Ordo: Revelation. For us to know God, God needs to initiate the process, but that doesn’t mean any kind of reason ceases.

    In my view, or precisely Dr. Farrell’s view, since the Logos is the Rational principle of not only the Scriptures but also the principles of creation (St. Maximus: The One Logos is the many logoi), Christ is the presupposition and method of all that can finally be said about God and man:

    http://energeticprocession.com/2006/06/09/pathway-to-the-truth-the-doctrine-of-recapitulation/

    In this sense, reason is formed by my faith and works out to understand Creation from that stand-point (St. Ambrose). In ‘fideism’ there can’t be any real ‘understanding.’

    In this view,there is no ‘ethical monotheism’ that I stand on equal ground with Jews, Muslims, and Neoplatonists in the great belief of the philosophical simplicity of the Godhead, as Rome and philosophical Arminians like Dr. Craig imagine. As such when doing theology, we should not defend ‘concepts in general’ but only as they relate and derive from Christian revelation:

    http://energeticprocession.com/2009/04/27/aborting-jesus/

    Ironically, since the schism, in the West it has been some Calvinists and some small quarters of Roman Catholics (Jansenists) that have striven to live ‘against the world,’ because they have proclaimed their cultural autonomy from such secular practices by deriving–or at least attempting to do so–their concepts from Revelation as front and center. On that score, I believe we have far more in common with them then Arminians and others because they (Arminians) first derive their doctrinal formulations from philosophy in general. EVEN IF we find some of Calvinist theological doctrines repulsive: predestinarianism, original guilt, etc, on the relationship between how doctrine is derived, Calvinists are basically right and their criticism of Arminianism seems spot on (e.g. as first a philosophical system and then read back into the bible).

    Where Calvinists err is that they pride themselves as believing they are the only ones who derive their principles from the bible, and also the fact that they view the consensus patrum as ‘Augustinism’. Rather, there is a tradition that has done that, that is far more OLDER than they imagine.

    Photios

  20. Fr. Maximus says:

    Photios,

    How does the view you expound differ from fideism?

  21. photios says:

    Cyprian,
    I’m going to reserve commenting on your post fully until I have a little more familiarity about you, your faith tradition, etc. I say this so as to prevent talking past each other, I need to know how you understand some first principles, namely the relationship between faith and philosophy. Based on your answer to that probing, I’ll have a better understanding of how to approach the problem with you. For example, if you’re a traditionalist Orthodox, I can skip past some things, since we would have similar world-views.

    What tips me off in starting this way, is the fact that you think Dr. Craig is furthering the agenda of ‘Christian theism’, perhaps in his prayer life and devotion, but in his doctrinal formulation and apologetics, I don’t consider a first principle formulation of ‘ethical monotheism’ as such as Christian.

    Photios

  22. Brad,

    I don’t think that LFW and moral impeccability are incompatible. In fact, I have written on this here before.

    See http://energeticprocession.com/2005/02/12/simplicity-virtue-and-the-problem-of-evil-pt-2-3/
    http://energeticprocession.com/2005/01/30/simplicity-virtue-and-the-problem-of-evil-pt-1/

    I think rather than starting with anthropology, it is best to start with Christology, for it is in Christ that the two wills are appropriately related in a concrete case.

    Our view is in short that for agents that have a begining, namely Adam and Eve their use of the their natural faculties, namely their will and intellect are not yet fixed in the natural goodness. So while good and innocent, they are not yet righteous. That is acquired through practice. So while it is possible for them to fall here, once fixed in virtue, it is impossible for them to sin in heaven. But this fixity in virtue does not eliminate their LFW given the divine energies which present to them as infinite objects of good choice. So their freedom is not eliminated, but accentuated. Impeccability is only incompatible with LFW if you think of the good as simple, but we don’t.

    Consequently, God, the incarnate Christ in his human power of choice and the saints are all morally impeccable and enjoy libertarian freedom.

    If on a Calvinist reading, no person is able to choose against nature, if Adam’s nature was good, how is it that he sinned against nature? The only option seems to me to say that Adam pre-fall was created evil and corrupt. But I don’t think you wish to say that.

  23. Bratislav says:

    Brad,

    I am not referring to the fallen state of man but to the state of man as a creature, as a created being, who has not become perfected and therefore stabalised in virtue. As newly formed beings, Adam and Eve were not established in righteousness but needed to be tested or trained, hence God’s commandment to not eat of the one tree. So by instability I mean to point to the mode of existance of created beings as well as to the nature of their being trained,i.e. failure is an option.

  24. jnorm888 says:

    Interesting post. I’m kind of happy that James White said that God has LFW too…..for it seems to me …..at least online among many Calvinists, is that the determinism they see for man tends to bleed in their understanding for God as well……as if God doesn’t have free will…….just as they think man doesn’t have free will.

    Jnorm888

  25. Brad says:

    Thanks Bratislav, I’ll do some searches and reading on those terms. I wonder what you mean by “created instability”? I wouldn’t think you are intending such a term[if I understand it correctly] as it relates to fallen man are you?

  26. Cyprian says:

    photios,

    The fathers employeed the use of academic language and terms of their own times, did they not? They also regularly addressed the issues that academia was dealing with throughout recorded history, from their unique Christian perspective. Even if it was questioning non-Christian presuppositions, it seems to me that if they did so by using the academic language of our times, and if doing that was a part of what makes up the consensus patrum because it was that exacy type of academic language which was used to show all of the errors of heretics, then we shouldn’t be so quick to forbid it now. Or perhaps if you take issue with the premise that that should be included?

    It probably goes without saying that ousia, hypostases, etc, were clearly not invented terms by the Fathers. I’d go so far as to say that most of the terms in the trinitarian and christological debates, had origins were taken from other non-Christian contents, but what makes the Christian use adequately meaningful is the meaning of those terms, which were taken and morphed into a Christian content. If the Fathers had no problems planting themselves within that academic language content, then I don’t see how you could reasonable forbid it now, on pain of special pleading. So long as one keeps the content of those terms in their proper content, then that’s a good thing so far as I can tell. I think keeping that content in mind at all times addresses most of your concerns of giving in too much, or of appearing like it is something other than what it actually isn’t.

    On language in general, it is not like there is a particular Christian language that came along with the good news of the resurrected Christ. Jesus never said anything like, go forth and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teach them the good news of of this new Christian language while you do it. Paul even went to the point of quoting Aratus to establish a point of contact in Acts with non-believers, or at another time you identified the “unknown god” that the pagans had a statue for as now revealed, ie, he identified that with Jesus.

    Particularly on Dr Craig, I do not see how it could be said he handed over anything on a silver platter to atheism. As fellow Christians, we may have our abstract disagreements over technical particulars, but this has always been the case and will probably continue to the case. Also, don’t get me wrong, I agree that those are important. None-the-less, Craig has done more for Christian theism than most of whom I am familiar with in the modern era here in the US. If nothing else, he has shown that Christianity is a view that one can hold while being educated and a reasonable fellow in the modern age. You’d be surprised how many atheists out there think the current advances humans have made in understanding the natural world through “science,” and it’s “historical discoveries” somehow pose a problem for Christianity. Craig has helped serve as a effective counter to this notion, and his success as a scholar, debater, etc, is a cause for celebration –not scorn. Dr Craig is not everything I’d like for him to be either. In fact, far from it.

    However, for what he does and stands up for which is good, and that which he brings about which is good, I think there is no harm to celebrate just that. When we live in a day of age with the relativism and masked nihlism that has poisoned the minds of so many, particularly the young, I think it wouldn’t hurt to sometimes pick our fights a little better.

  27. Bratislav says:

    Brad, it seems you must not have much read many of the other articles and posts by Perry and Photios and other contributors, or even this particular post from Perry. Peruse the archives. 🙂

    Your main thrust, that an agent is not fully free if he is bound to act in accordance with his nature, is nothing but a dialectic of opposition and has been addressed too many times too count on this blog. Perry also touches on this issue above when delineating the notion of circumscribed choices. The idea of free will that we accept does not demand that all possible options be open to us. Neither does it demand that our options be morally opposed. That our first parents in the Garden chose against God makes them not more free than God but of weaker constitution- they were not yet set in virtue and were liable therefore to wavering. Do some searching on this blog and elsewhere regarding “gnomie”, “gnomic willing”, or “mode of existance/willing”.

    Your last paragraph does point to key differences between the reformed view (and some of its logically neccesary views) and the Orthodox take, being firstly, in my mind, that the reformed cannot escape the logic of their system in concluding that certain men were created to be holy and united to God and that some were created for naught but to be damned(do these two groups of men both have the same human nature?). The Orthodox, in contradistinction, teach that all men, by nature, are meant for goodness and union with God in Christ, but that some men, due to our created instability, if you will, and now even more so due to our corrupted state, will choose against their natural purpose, against deification.

  28. Brad says:

    The terms in this debate mean different things to different camps. Stangely, I dont think that free will is even possible–at least in the LFW version, I say strangely because if James White says that God has it, I disagree[and I’m a Reformed believer like him]. One book that I read when escaping modern evangelicalism was “Divine Energy”, a [book you might be aware of since it’s by an Orthodox writer], and it was helpful to me in the way it discussed terms like person, and nature.

    No person is really free to choose against nature, this is why God is not free to be non-God[thank God].

    It seems to me that a Creator/creature distinction is essential to any discussion of mans freedom. Are men unburdened of thier own nature, or in other words more free than God? It seems to me that LFW proponents are so close to arguing that position that they may as well be fully committed to it.

    I’m interested to hear what the Ortodox view is in contrast to what seems to me to be a logically necessary view that men are only free to be who they were created to be, and they are still personally responsible for their actions.

  29. photios says:

    Perry,
    You premise your article as suggesting that you are defending an ‘academic’ position. ‘Libertarian’ free will is an academic position and defined as such by academics. This is no small thing, because our position is derived from the consensus patrum and not academics. As such, academic defenders of ‘libertarian’ free will do not agree on several of the main tenants, namely alternate possibilities. Is Orthodoxy to enter the dialogue as one among many? Derivation is important here, and you’ve premised your argument as having somewhat common ground with those who derive the problem FROM philosophy. I don’t think that is the best move. You perhaps ask Dr. James White to account for his view from scripture, but it seems if he were to read you, that he sees you advancing a position, however quietly, that is philosophical and not derived from revelation. I certainly read you this way.

    Dr. William Lane Craig, no matter how pleasant a gentleman he is, defends a position called ‘ethical monotheism,’ aka Mr. God-In-General, which is nothing but gnosticism. There is a connection between Dr. Craig’s view of God and his view of free-will having their source in ‘natural theology’ and then read back into the bible. On that point, Dr. White is perfectly correct to criticize. All the philosophical defenses for Christianity in the face of Atheism as premised from the principle of ‘ethical monotheism’, and Dr. Craig has furthered the cause of Christ? Nay, he just handed it to them on a silver platter by sacrificing his first principle. I couldn’t possibly disagree more.

    I don’t think St. Maximus the Confessor has much to do with ‘libertarianism’ since he thinks free choice is ultimately non-dialectical. Who in the academic debate thinks that free choice is ultimately ‘non-dialectical’? I don’t know of any.

    Jewish philosophers may not be ‘Augustinians’ in a strict sense, but if you replace the term with Hellenizers, I think the criticism still fits. How do you figure Jewish Philosophers, as if the problem were philosophical rather than theological, are going to advance a position you think is palpable without the Ordo Theologiae and an Orthodox view of person? On that basis, how can they have a thing to do with each other? What is left of the “core concept” without person and those important distinctions? They become in service to the pseudomorphosis of terms to investigate another avenue.

    I think we should move away from contemporary academic concerns and their phrases and terms. It is unhelpful in my opinion and gives the readers the impression that we are offering another position among many.

    Anyways, this is an open dialogue, so please read it as such.

    Photios

  30. Daniel

    I don’t fully agree. The concept of libertarian freedom I think is taught by the Fathers. The fact that not ll libertarians do not agree on how the conditions are to be understood or on all them is neither here nor there since the core concept remains the same. Its a constellation or family of views, which are all more or less related, just as any concept in metaphysics is.

    I don’t think all contemporary libertarians are arguing from within an Augustinian tradition. Some Jewish philosophers for example certianly aren’t.

    In any case, it matters not in this case. White claims the Bible teaches a conception of freedom and given his drum beating of scripture alone, I think he owes his readers a scriptural demonstration. I just thought it was ironic.

  31. photios says:

    Perry,
    Let’s be certain about one thing here though. We are not committed to a position of ‘libertarian’ free will. We are committed to the ‘consensus patrum’ and the tradition. LFW is a product of academics. The fact that they say ‘some’ things that approach St. Maximus the Confessor should be nothing but interesting to an Orthodox Christian. But I can’t find ANY contemporary LFW contender that I actually agree with, because they are still arguing their position within the realm of Augustinism. The whole project would still need a complete overhaul on the Patristic doctrine of Person and the Ordo Theologiae, which is the only sure way to refute heresy.

    Just thought I would make that clear as to what our goal should be.

    Photios

  32. Ad Orienem,

    I have watched that every year at Christmass since I was a kid. Albert Finney is amazing. I used to try to play the “I hate people” for my students when I taught Sartre, “Hell is other people.”

  33. Ad Orientem says:

    Thank you very much… for posting that video clip. I haven’t seen that movie in probably 20 years or more. It was one of my favorite versions of the Christmas classic.

    Yours,
    John

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