Calvin: Free Will Combined With Divine Grace Is Corruption
January 6, 2009 19 Comments
“We must, therefore, remember what we quoted from Augustine, that some men labor in vain to find in the human will some good quality properly belonging to it. Any intermixture which men attempt to make by conjoining the effort of their own will with divine grace is corruption, just as when unwholesome and muddy water is used to dilute wine.” [Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, Translated by Henry Beveridge, Book Two, Chapter 5, Section 15]
The illustration Calvin used in the above quote is very powerful. It clearly explains what would happen if God’s election had to be combined with our free will choice to accomplish our salvation. Anytime you combine something that is pure with something that is not pure, the end product is no longer pure. It is impossible for the pure to remain pure. God’s election is pure, our will is impure (totally depraved). So, we can now see that God’s election cannot be combined in any way with our will (even in the most minuscule amount) to accomplish our salvation. This means that if we have to cooperate (accept the free gift, seek Him, give our lives to Him, ask Him into our heart, etc.) with God in accomplishing our salvation then we cannot be saved.
Libertarian free will is a hot button issue today. It is the first objection usually posed against reformed theology. Do we have free will? If so, in what measure? If not, are we robots? Proponents of libertarian free will are very dedicated to it. In fact, it is nearly impossible to change their mind….only the truth of God’s word can do it.
What do you think if Calvin’s illustration?