Saturday, November 19, 2011
Horton on Divine Causality.
Horton makes a good observation. Historically, many Christian theologians have been struck by the false dilemma of divine determinism or quasi-deism. This arises from Christians taking over Aristotelian concepts of cause. God is conceived of as a cosmic mechanic, pulling the gears and levers of creation. God is either applying force (wherein you are unfree and determined) or he is letting the machine run by itself (deism). A more biblical manner of conceiving human freedom and divine causation is to conceptualize it as God's effective speech. God speaks forth his Word and it gives creature their own capacities which they act out of. The Word is creative and formative of freedom, while not coercing the creature. For example, in Genesis 1 God states that vegetation of the earth should bring forth fruit and so they do. The Word creates plants as beings that do this sort of thing. They do so spontaneously out of their own nature. Nevertheless this nature is created and formed by God's creative address. We can see the same principle at work in the question of free will and grace. Rome, thinking in mechanical terms, always insisted that the Reformation's monergism was coercive and destructive of the human will. The Reformers (Luther in particular) always conceived the Word as living and effective. Human beings are determined in their freedom so that they are re-created by God by his effective address as beings who out of their own spontaneity trust and love God.