Jonathan Edwards is considered by many to be the greatest book by enormously influential American preacher and theologian JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758), this provocative 1754 work explores the necessity of God’s grace for the salvaging of the damaged “will” of humanity and argues that free will is an extension of and connected to the grace of God. What is the nature of morality? Can God be evil? What constitutes sin? How does God’s foreknowledge of all events impact concepts of morality? How does intent inform our acts of vice and virtue? Still controversial and hotly debated in the 21st century, this demanding evangelistic work-some call it the best argument for the sovereignty of God-is among the essential reading of the thinker whose philosophies inspired the 18th-century religious of the Great Awakening, which continues to hugely influence American Protestantism to this day. Freedom of the Will will enthrall and challenge serious readers of the Bible as well as students of theology’s impact on American history.
If any think it is a more perfect definition of the will, to say, that it is that by which the soul either chooses or refuses, I am content with it; though I think it enough to say, it is that by which the soul chooses: for in every act of will whatsoever, the mind chooses one thing rather than another; it chooses something rather than the contrary or rather than the want or non-existence of that thing. So in every act of refusal, the mind chooses the absence of the thing refused; the positive and the negative are set before the mind for its choice, and it chooses the negative; and the mind’s making its choice in that case is properly the act of the Will: the Will’s determining between the two, is a voluntary determination; but that is the same thing as making a choice. So that by whatever names we call the act of the Will, choosing, refusing, approving, disapproving, liking, disliking, embracing, rejecting, determining, directing, commanding, forbidding, inclining, or being averse, being pleased or displeased with; all may be reduced to this of choosing. For the soul to act voluntarily, is evermore to act selectively.
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