02 November 2006

An Interesting Quote

"As it was God's will that humanity should persevere in its concreated holiness only so far as man's exercise of his free will towards the offered good and evil would not be interfered with, so it was God's purpose that all should enjoy redemption, provided the power of the decision of man's free will against the offered good be not destroyed. Grace has to do with persons, and their very personality implies, along with self-consciousness, self-determination. While man is helpless to deliver himself, or to prepare himself for divine grace, or even to respond to this grace as it approaches him, and thus his acceptance of God's grace comes from new powers which grace has brought, nevertheless, the freedom of the will is still preserved in man's ability to resist God's grace. All man's help must thus come from God; all his ruin comes from himself."

That's Jacob's again. *Elements of Religion.* p. 67 It uses language that Lutherans tend not to use, but I think the way he speaks is in accord with the Formula's presentation. What think ye?


Jack Kilcrease said...

I'm personally not that excited by it. I don't find it theologically particularly incorrect. Nonetheless, I prefer to emphasize that justification opens up the possibility of freedom by binding us to God. This is more paradoxical and profound I think. I also think that it possesses less room for a synergistic false interpretation. In any case, you've given me a good reading suggestion. Thanks.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Whether or not this quote accurately reflects BoC doctrine, I wouldn't know, obviously. But I hope not, as it seems to me confused and confusing. The second half of the passage seems to contradict the first half.

To say a man can only do one thing (reject God), and then to call that "freedom" -- what's with that?

That's slavery.

I agree with the laudable conclusion: "All man's help must thus come from God; all his ruin comes from himself."

But as for the supporting argument...it would be more straightforward as well as consistent to say either that man has no freedom at all (in which case one would have to find a way to get God off the hook) or to say God gives every man the freedom to accept OR reject him, in which case one might need to find a way to get man off the pedestal labeled, "Merit" if he does accept. That last turns out not to be any big theological problem and with it solved, we can arrive without sophistry at the conclusion that "All man's help must thus come from God; all his ruin comes from himself."