Saturday, January 22, 2011

Responsibility and Inability Are Not Two Sides of the Same Coin

Mankind is under moral obligation to keep the Law of God. His Law is perfection and absolute obedience and He will judge each of us based upon His own standards. The paradox that exists in this is that man cannot obey God's Law in its entirety. It is not a matter of "thou shalt" but it is a case of his inability to do such. However, this in no way will render God's judgment void. Ever since the Fall of Adam man has lost this ability. He relinquished this right when he willingly used that freedom to rebel against his Creator. Scripture affirms this reality:

Rom 8:7-8--For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

1Cor 2:14--The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Ps 2:1-3--Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us."

Rom 3:12--All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. (All emphasis are mine)

It seems though, that many people are convinced that God must give the ability to man to obey or else He would be unjust for condemning us for something that is beyond our power. The problem with this view is that we nowhere find in Scripture this affirmation. Responsibility does not indicate ability and those who believe that God must give men the ability to do what He has commanded base their suppositions upon a logical argument known as a syllogism. A syllogism is simply a set of three premises with the conclusion being based upon two other premises. For example:

A.) All cows produce milk
B.) Bessie is a cow
C.) Bessie produces milk

The syllogism is not in and of itself an invalid way of deducing facts. Scripture can produce a number of syllogisms. For example:

A.) God will judge the living and the dead
B.) My friend is currently living
C.) My friend will be judged by God

The libertarian's use of the syllogism is not entirely wrong. What is wrong, is the conclusion that is drawn from the syllogism. Their syllogism strays from the norm and is based upon a hypothetical condition rather than actual facts. A hypothetical syllogism uses an if-then premise. Here is a brief example of a hypothetical syllogism:

A.) If a person does good works he is righteous
B.) If a person is righteous God will accept him
C.) If a person does good works God will accept him

As you can see this is a faulty assumption. The only true premise in this situation is B. We know that God accepts the righteous person but doing good things does not necessarily make a person righteous.

Now let's examine the libertarian syllogism:

A.) If God judges all men, He commands all men to obey
B.) If God commands all men to obey He enables them to obey
C.) If God judges all men, He enables them to obey

The assumption in this case (He enables them to obey) becomes the fallacy. Thus far we have examined these claims from a purely logical perspective. In the next post I would like to examine this fallacy from a Scriptural perspective.

Affirming the Solas,
Steven (AKA, Ekklessia Boy)

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