Freedom, even if God decrees it

In Olli-Pekka Vainio & Aku Visala (eds.), Theological Perspectives on Free Will: Compatibility, Christology, and Community. Routledge (2022)
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W. Matthews Grant has argued that it is possible to reconcile a strong theory of God’s causal sovereignty with libertarian freedom by denying that God causes the acts of free creatures by means of some factor intrinsic to Himself. Grant argues that the accounts on which God causes those actions of His creatures in virtue of His decrees cannot be libertarian. I will argue that two classical theories of grace, despite holding that God causes creaturely acts in virtue of a divine decree or intention, remain libertarian in just the same sense Grant’s account is. I controversially propose that this is true even of Banezian theories of grace, on which God causes free actions directly. Instead, I suggest that we can characterize what it is for a theory to be theological determinist according to a distinction proposed by Eleonore Stump.

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James Dominic Rooney
Hong Kong Baptist University


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