Divine Will and Human Choice

Divine Will and Human Choice


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The relationship between divine providence and human freedom remains one of the most vexing topics in Christian theology. Many gravitate to extreme ends of the spectrum, with a version of hyper-Calvinism on one end or perhaps some form of open theism on the other. Christian theology seems ever in search of a way to articulate a balanced picture of a sovereign God in relationship to humans who can make choices.

This fresh study from an internationally respected scholar of the Reformation and post-Reformation eras shows how the Reformers and their successors analyzed and reconciled the concepts of divine sovereignty and human freedom. Richard Muller argues that traditional Reformed theology supported a robust theory of an omnipotent divine will and human free choice and drew on a tradition of Western theological and philosophical discussion that included such predecessor thinkers as Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. In arguing this case, the book provides historical perspective on a topic of current interest and debate--the issue of freedom and determinism--and offers a corrective based on a broader analysis of the sources.


Part I: Freedom and Necessity in Reformed Thought: The Contemporary Debate
1. Introduction: The Present State of the Question
2. Reformed Thought and Synchronic Contingency: Logical and Historical Issues
Part II: Philosophical and Theological Backgrounds: Aristotle, Aquinas, and Duns Scotus
3. Aristotle and Aquinas on Necessity and Contingency
4. Duns Scotus and Late Medieval Perspectives on Freedom
Part III: Early Modern Reformed Perspectives: Contingency, Necessity, and Freedom in the Real Order of Being
5. Necessity, Contingency, and Freedom: Reformed Understandings
6. Scholastic Approaches to Necessity, Contingency, and Freedom: Early Modern Reformed Perspectives
7. Divine Power, Possibility, and Actuality
8. Divine Concurrence and Contingency
9. Conclusions

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