“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sin and Free Will

Does this mean the blood of Christ is on the Father’s hands, and not ours? No. As we have seen, in ordaining that creatures sin, God does not approve of sin, nor can he himself be accused of sinning. Edwards compares God to the sun, and sin or evil to darkness. Darkness is what happens when the light and heat of the sun does not reach a place – for some reason it is blocked off. Similarly, “sin is not the fruit of any positive agency or influence of the most High, but on the contrary, arises from the withholding of his action and energy, and under certain circumstances, necessarily follows on the want of his influence” (Jonathan Edwards, Freedom of the Will). Evil is everything that is not of God – “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Evil is the negation of God – it is what happens when he holds back the fullness of his Being and allows creation to run its own course, and creatures to make their own free choices. Thus, the blood of Christ is still on each person’s hands (because each person chose freely to sin), and on the hands of the whole of humanity.

There may still be some tension between the predestination of the cross and the giving of free will. It is almost as if there was a risk that creation would not have fallen. I am inclined to think that the fall was inevitable – not specifically the fall of man, but the fall of creation in general, going back ultimately to the fall of Satan, which introduced evil into creation in the first place. For some thoughts on how this could be consistent with a fall resulting from free choices, see my post on “The Fall.” However, it is worth observing that speculation about what “would have happened” is ultimately futile – we are talking about a non-reality, thinking about things that never happened and thus do not exist in any sense at all (cf. C. S. Lewis, The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics, The Problem of Pain p. 598).

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