Books of a Fether

Calvinism and Free Will ©2009 | free PDF

Is man accountable for his choices?

Accountability cannot be separated from free will.

Adam and Eve are examples of sentient beings exercising free will without an inherited mortality or “sin nature” (otherwise God would be the author of sin). Made in “the image of God”, they were agents with the power to choose within the limitations they encountered. Yet unless one wishes to claim God did in fact create them with a “sin nature”, they cannot explain what caused them to sin. And if “nature” did not cause their sin, then why is it claimed as the cause for anyone else’s sin? Regardless, sin did not turn Adam and Eve into non-agents. Sinners are still said by the Bible to be made in God’s image,1 the image of a sentient being.

And it is pure sophistry to claim that even if God created man with a sin nature (or only allowed free will to Adam and Eve but none of their offspring), man alone is held responsbile for sinning. It is on a par with claiming that if I rigged a car to explode at 20 mph, that I was not responsible for the explosion when someone drove it that speed. Yet this is what Calvinism teaches; though man is born in sin and can do nothing else, he is still solely responsbile for “willingly” sinning, and that somehow God does not violate anyone’s free will when saving them.2 This is nothing but a philosophical shell game.

So since the Bible definitely says yes to the question of man’s accountability (Calvinism acknowledges and strongly emphasizes this), and since we cannot be held accountable for that which we are powerless to choose or reject, then we must conclude that man has a free will within the limitations God sets. This no more violates the concept of sovereignty than when a schoolteacher allows students to largely do what they choose within the confines of a fenced playground under basic behavioral rules. God has the sovereign right to allow us the free will to either accept salvation or reject it.

  1. 1 James 3:9
  2. 2 God’s Grace or the Free Will of Man, quoting Spurgeon: “God does not violate the human will when he saves men. They are not converted against their will, but their will itself is converted.”