The Will of Man - WCF 9.1

"God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined good, or evil." - WCF 9.1.

In the four-fold state of man (before the fall, after the fall, after regeneration, in glory) man has the liberty of will to make voluntary choices. That means his choices are not forced or coerced to do something he does not want to do. But it is important to take note that there is a distinction between liberty and ability. Many stumble here.  The will of man has liberty - We are never forced to do something we do not want to do in any of the four states.  In that sense our wills are always at liberty. But that is quite different than the ability of the will. The ability of the will to be good or bad is not something that is retained in the fall. We will always, apart from the grace of God, choose what is bad since we are in bondage to sin. We still have the freedom to choose (without coercion) but choose evil by necessity due to a corruption of nature, and are unable to do otherwise.  

Resources

Man's Natural Liberty by Robert Shaw

Does Man Have Free Will by John Calvin

The Will of Man by Derek Thomas

Since God Is Sovereign, How Are Humans Free? by R. C. Sproul

The Meaning of Man’s Will by R. C. Sproul

Freedom, Liberty and the Westminster Confession by Paul Helm

Free Will vs. Free Agency by J. I. Packer

Free Agency by John Murray

Free Will and Free Agency by John Reisinger

Grace Does Not Destroy Free Agency by R. L. Dabney

Free Will and Ability by Francis R. Beattie

Do Human Beings Have a Free Will? by John Hendryx

21 Misunderstandings of Reformed Thinking by Sam Storms

Free Will or Free Agency by Soli Deo Gloria

How did the First Human Sin Happen? Various Reformed Authors

Free Choice in Reformed Theology by Seeking Understanding

 

eBooks

Human Nature in its Fourfold State (eBook) by Thomas Boston

The Bondage of the Will (eBook) by Martin Luther

A Treatise on Grace and Free Will (eBook) by Augustine

The Doctrine of the Will (eBook) by William Cunningham

Augustine & The Pelagian Controversy (eBook) by B B Warfield

 

Books

Bondage and Liberation of the Will by John Calvin

Willing to Believe by R.C. Sproul

What about Free Will?: Reconciling Our Choices with God's Sovereignty by Scott Christensen

The Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther

 

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