Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Absolute Necessity

As I have been posting my personal confession of faith on this blog [explanation HERE], the last article I posted was on providence. In this article I confess that "all events occur by absolute necessity." This confession concerning absolute necessity was a key feature of the Protestant Reformers' dispute with the Roman Catholics, as explained by John Calvin in his book, The Bondage and Liberation of the Will. In confessing that "all events occur by absolute necessity" the Reformers were asserting the sovereignty of God over His creation in such a way as to rule out the possibility that: 1) anything occurs by mere chance, and especially, 2) that salvation is in any way dependent on the 'free-will' decision of Man. The Reformers considered themselves bound to deny both of the concepts just mentioned by specific biblical texts, for example: 1) "The lot is cast into the lap but its every decision is from the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33 NASB), 2) "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy" (Romans 9:16 NASB).

Anyone seeking to take the biblical text seriously must affirm the doctrine of absolute necessity as explained above.

There is another way that some have understood absolute necessity; that is, according to a doctrine that theologians call "divine necessitarianism." According to this doctrine, God orders His creation in a way that most magnifies His glory. The way in which He orders creation, then, springs from His character, and if there were another way for events to occur in which God's glory would be better demonstrated, then God would have ordered His creation differently. Divine necessitarianism presupposes that God's glory would not be equally magnified in a world created differently nor in a different order of events within this creation. If the doctrine of divine necessitarianism is in Scripture, it is, I think, more implicit, and I do not think that an affirmation of absolute necessity as described in the first paragraph of this post necessarily commits someone to divine necessitarianism.

I welcome comments about absolute necessity and divine necessitarianism below, especially if readers feel I have been unclear in my explanation of these doctrines.



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