Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Volume 9, Number 25, June 17 to June 23, 2007

Human Freedom

This article is taken from the Berkouwer series "Studies in Dogmatics", Man: The Image of God (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI), 1962.

By G. C. Berkouwer

One of the most important problems with which we have to deal in our reflections on man, and one which constantly recurs, is the problem of man's freedom. The problem has aroused innumerable discussions, not only among philosophers but also among theologians, and the passion with which controversy was often carried on is an indication of the fact that in this problem we deal not with some unimportant aspect of man's nature, but rather with the whole man in his total life. Though this freedom usually was thought of in terms of freedom of the will, nevertheless it was man's freedom which was under discussion, the freedom of the human being who chooses and acts and who follows his way through life in "freedom."

There was of course no intent on the part of those who held this human freedom to deny that there are various factors which limit freedom. This "unfreedom" is so evident and frequent in the history of mankind that we must all be impressed by it, by the impressive evidence of dictatorships, deportations, and all sorts of destruction of freedom; and, besides, an individual may feel his freedom cramped by physical or psychical weakness, which hinders expression of man's full nature. But all this does not alter the fact that human freedom has always been glorified, and its suppression never viewed as an accomplished fact in which man can rest satisfied. The more freedom is endangered, the more it is valued and held as an ideal, and, sometimes, brought forward as a program, and embodied in various institutions as a preventive against those things which can endanger Freedom. 1

The discussion on man's freedom was not confined to external limiting Factors; it also specifically considered the question of whether man was truly free even without external constraints; whether he was not completely determined by factors within himself, or by his own being. Is not what appears to be on superficial examination a free act not actually, upon closer analysis, an act which "necessarily" arises from what man is, and from which he cannot escape, no matter how he tries? Does not a bit of reflection dispose of the naive notion that man is free? Determinism has always given an affirmative answer to this question, while indeterminism has held that the naive consciousness of freedom is not an illusion, and points out that all of our concepts of merit, guilt, responsibility, and the like, presuppose it, and without a basis in freedom lose all meaning. Even within the deterministic framework, some have been influenced by this argument, and have tried to make some room within determinism For human freedom — which effort H. Groos calls "backsliding toward indeterminism." "Only a few," he says, "have thought determinism through, have defended it consistently, and have held back from any mediating concessions." 2 Some returned, under the influence of the popular belief in freedom, to indeterminism; some have tried to reach a solution by distinguishing between the determined and the undetermined so that, for example, as over against the determined world of nature there remains room for freedom to play its role within the human personality, which can escape from the grip of the determined. 3

The controversy between determinism and indeterminism shows us how constantly man's thought has been occupied with the problem of human freedom, of spontaneity and choice. There is little reason for Groos to conclude that the popular idea of freedom will finally be stamped out by determinism. On the contrary, in and despite all sorts of determination and massive restraint, the sense of freedom continually manifests itself, and not only in a pre-intellectual popular intuition, but also in intellectual circles, which proclaim human freedom though this freedom is indeed surrounded by all sorts of threats from unfreedom. 4

We can see again and again, that the discussion of the concept of freedom, especially in the controversy between determinism and indeterminism, takes place against a background of religiously neutral anthropological analysis. Determinism rules out freedom because of internal or external determination, while indeterminism wishes to break through such determination by relying on man's nature. Both views rest on a humanistically oriented analysis of man and the surrounding world, in which the central problem is always whether man is free from determination or is in bondage.

The whole dilemma thus is obscured by assuming a purely formal concept of freedom, which leaves the real and central problem of freedom untouched. The problem cannot be solved formalistically by examining what man is "free from." Such a viewpoint, expressed, e.g., in the definition of freedom as being free from all restrictions, throws no light at all on the nature of human freedom.

And even when men prize freedom as the summum bonum of human personality, there is still the possibility of a degeneration of freedom. And when we raise this possibility, we also bring to the fore the problem of a norm for freedom. Even those who do not relate the degeneration of freedom to what Leo XIII called "the total rejection of the sovereignty of the almighty God" (in his encyclical Libertas) often nevertheless speak of a "perversion" of freedom, as is shown, e.g., in the term "true freedom," which is then distinguished from false or illusory freedom. This usage already shows us that a merely formal treatment of what man is "free from" says little or nothing. For the moment that freedom is posited, one is confronted by the question of the limits of freedom, and the problem reaches formidable complexity as soon as we intuitively reject the completely individualistic and normless concept of freedom which the purely formal "free from" approach seeks to realize.

Nevertheless, we gain the impression that men are often little conscious of this complexity in their manifold use of the concept of freedom, in everyday practical life, all sorts of restrictions play so great a role, restrictions experienced as essentially alien and as threatening, that we are sometimes inclined without further thought to proclaim "free from" as the essence of freedom. And this definition often finds expression in everyday life. Thus we speak of liberalism in the political and social area, meaning that the state should allow man's life to keep its "freedom"; and we speak of freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and so forth. In this all a protest is registered against restrictions on human life which cannot be tolerated, as, for example, when during a period of occupation by a foreign power a people undergoes an experience of unfreedom, and the "free from" approach can then be the basis for a blazing enthusiasm when the conquerors are driven out and the people regain their freedom.

But this apparently clear and lucid concept of freedom is never able by itself to bring about a solution of the real and deepest problem of human freedom. For in every situation the "free from" approach immediately poses numerous problems as to the nature and the meaning of freedom, and its limits.

In theological reflection on human freedom one continually faces a much deeper question than that posed by the usual controversy between determinism and indeterminism. For when theologians discussed human freedom, they were not concerned with the freedom of a self-sufficient "being" but rather with the freedom of the man of God. Thus we need not be surprised that in this approach the problem of the relationship between human freedom and the sovereignty of God continually came to the fore. And it is also true that the determinism — indeterminism controversy was often incorporated in theological reflection on this problem. We often encounter these terms in the history of dogma, and this religiously neutral anthropological controversy was then grafted on to the religious questions. We can observe "deterministic" tendencies which because of the (determining) sovereignty of God reserved no freedom for man, while indeterminism, in reaction, often relativized the sovereignty of God to preserve the freedom of man. And thus theology fell into a most regrettable controversy, since an apparent dilemma was raised which is really non-religious in nature, and which is wholly outside of the Biblical witness. It may be stated, and happily so, that this false approach was often recognized, and that attempts were made to banish it from the theological tradition; as, for example, when the absence of human freedom was expounded not in terms of a general determinism, but rather in terms of sin: the slavery of fallen and lost man, who because of the fall was a slave to the dark powers of apostasy, which overpowered and ruled him in all his ways.

This view of man's slavery constantly comes to the fore in the history of theology in connection with the question of whether or not man had "freedom" to accept divine grace. Was it actually so that on the one hand there was a divine offer of grace, and on the other a free man, who could respond to this grace negatively as well as positively, so that the decision as to salvation lay in man's own hands only? Can the distinction between "objective" grace and "subjective" free decision be so simple? That was the question at issue in the struggle between Pelagius and Augustine, and in later forms of this controversy between, for example, Erasmus and Luther, in their argument de Iibero arbitrio or de servo arbitrio.

When as over against Rome the Reformation denied the freedom of the will, rejected the subject — object separation, and spoke of an enslaved will, most Catholic and humanist thinkers saw this as nothing less than an attack on, and indeed an annihilation of, human nature, of man's essence, which was presumed to be inconceivable without freedom as part of it.

They saw in the denial of freedom of the will a proclamation of a divine grace which was overwhelming and which could affect human life only in irruptive and mechanical fashion, overpowering defenseless and enslaved man. The Reformers' teaching on the will of man was interpreted as coactio, as necessitas, and over against this the so-called physical freedom of the will was stressed, a freedom not destroyed through the power of sin because it belonged to the essential structure of man's nature. 5 According to Rome, we can speak of a saving and restoring divine power only if we postulate an organic connection between grace and freedom. The point was one, Rome felt, of essential importance, and it is not coincidental that as early as 1520 Rome denounced as one of Luther's errors his denial of free will, just as it was not coincidental that the controversy between Luther and Erasmus broke out over exactly this point. 6 For the controversy was on whether man was or was not "open" to divine grace, able to accept it "freely." When Luther (and after him Calvin) denied this so-called freedom of the will, this was seen by many as an erroneous view of human nature. And therein lies the reason that Catholic theologians in various polemics against the Reformation stress so strongly the inalienable and essential and evident anthropological structure of human freedom.

Actually, it is clear enough that the Reformation's intention was not at all to posit compulsion as over against freedom. There was no suggestion that its critique of the freedom of the will meant to hold, in deterministic fashion, that only God acted, and that man was powerless, deprived of will, and driven. 7 Such an approach to the problem was definitely not the background of the real controversy. It was readily acknowledged that man followed his own way in "free," not compulsive, acts, in a self-willed activity and spontaneity from day to day. The denial of the freedom of the will posited, rather, that it was precisely this active and willing human being in his willing and acting who was alienated from God and enslaved to sin; and in no sense a man who stood like a tabula rasa before continually new possibilities of choosing between good and evil. The problem with which the Reformation was concerned was not first of all a psychological or anthropological problem, and still less was it taught that man did not will or act or choose: attention was directed to man as active and willing! The problem was then the condition, the state of "being" of sinful and lost mankind, the being with which he willed and acted and chose in all his activities. Thus it was primarily the central religious question which was raised. Is the "being" of fallen man of such a sort that he is "free" in each new situation of his life, in each new decisive turning point of his existence, free in the sense that the possibility of doing good, of obeying God's commands, of being "open" to divine grace, is always there? Or is he enslaved to his sinful past and to the corruption of his heart, to his alienation from God? The Reformation did not hesitate as to the answer to these questions. And its answer did not arise from a deterministic view of the acts of God or from an annihilation of man's will, but rather from its belief in man's lostness, his fallen state. The criticism of free will was not based on the assumption of a universal necessitarianism, but on the confession of man's guileful, stony heart, which — mightily active — pushed man forward on a way of sin and corruption which he is no longer able to abandon by means of the "freedom" presumed to be essentially and anthropologically his. 8

It is thus of importance, for purposes of orientation regarding the problem of freedom, to know how and on what grounds freedom of the will is attacked. This can be done from the vantage point of determinism or fatalism, which allows no place for any freedom: but it is also possible to reject such a vantage point, and to see the affirmation of the enslavement of the will as a corollary of an affirmation of guilt. And when Rome supported the physical freedom of the will and from this viewpoint disqualified the Reformation, a horrible misunderstanding had arisen in the Church, a misunderstanding whose effects can still be felt. The difficulty of removing this misunderstanding becomes apparent even today in rather spectacular fashion when we consider Erich Przywara, who views Luther as replacing the All-wirksamkeit of God by an Allein-wirksamkeit so that the creature is completely and totally moved by the divine will, and who then concludes that Luther's view is the same as Spinoza's. 9 And when the first phase of Neo-Orthodoxy stressed the infinite qualitative distinction between man and God, Catholic theologians took this as showing once again that the basic idea of the Reformation was a "deterministic" view of the will — apparently having no notion of the fact that the Reformation actually was concerned with something wholly different from a metaphysical conclusion regarding absolute transcendence as over against immanence, or from exclusive activity as over against inclusive. We shall be able to gain perspective on this point insofar as it occurs in the Protestant — Catholic controversy only when this still influential interpretation of the denial of freedom of the will becomes past history, and the religious meaning of the Reformation's belief on this point at least begins again to be understood. 10

And that we are not here giving a more recent interpretation, arising after the Reformation because of the ever more clearly noted dangers of determinism, is apparent if one but refers, for example, to Calvin (Institutes, II, II). 11 He says that man has been deprived of his freedom of will and as a result has been subjected to a miserable enslavement. Calvin asks what it means that the fathers so often dealt with the question of free will; he sees in them — with the exception of Augustine — a good deal of uncertainty and confusion, and concludes that they, though disciples of Christ, treated the problem too much in the manner of philosophers. The Latin Fathers usually treated free will as though man was still pure and undefiled, but the Greek writers used a much more presumptuous approach and said that man was autonomous. Calvin then asks what we are to understand by free will. He is not concerned to extinguish man's will. He emphasizes that man does evil with his will and not through compulsion. One might here speak of a psychological freedom which Calvin would fully acknowledge. But he holds that to call this "free will" is not at all justified, and is most confusing terminology. If "free will" means merely such psychological freedom, fine; but, he says, why give such an unimportant thing so proud a title? On the one hand, he says, it is an excellent thing that man is not compelled to sin; but on the other hand, it is of limited importance, since man is still a sinner in this psychological freedom, this spontaneous action. He is a "willing" servant of sin, and his will is fettered with the shackles of sin. Thus Calvin's opposition to freedom of the will becomes evident. He cites Augustine, who called the will the slave of sin, and said that the will has been used badly and is now imprisoned And the decisive argument for Calvin, as for Augustine, is that man was created with the great powers of a free will, but lost these through sin. It is very clear here — in this loss of the free will — that the concern is not with a metaphysical interpretation of an enslaved will. If Calvin's opposition to free will had been based on a deterministic causality, it would have been impossible for him to distinguish the situations before and after the fall; freedom would never have existed. But this is precisely not the case. Calvin views free will as something which has been lost; man has been deprived of it. The fall marks a basic change, for man lost what he once possessed. 12

And this distinction also marks Calvin's judgment of the term. If freedom of the will means that man sins with his will and not through compulsion, then Calvin has no objection; but he considers that the term must be used with great caution, and would prefer that it not be used at all (Institutes, II, II, 8). For, he says, he has found that the usual connotation of the term is not merely that the will is not externally compelled but also includes the idea that man can freely determine his own path and the direction of his whole life in autonomy, as if the man who wills is not a fallen and falling man, whose life's direction is already decided because of the fall.

And so our conclusion must be that Calvin took up the problem of the freedom of the will as an historical and religious problem, and that in this approach his own deepest interests revealed themselves. 13 And thus he can ask (II, II, 8) why men boast of their free will, when they are actually slaves to sin; and as for freedom, he can cite the words of Scripture, "and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (II Cor. 3:17).

Man, then, according to Calvin, was free before the fall, and lost this freedom through sin. As fallen man he does indeed will and act, but in this activity he walks on a path he cannot leave through his own powers. It is the path of alienation and rebellion. And once on this path, man's conversion, his return, by his own power — is ruled out. This is man's enslaved will, his servum arbitrium. 14

Before the fall, freedom; and after the fall, enslavement. When the Reformation so speaks, it implies the breaking through of every form of determinism. Anyone who should wish to oppose this formulation from the standpoint of divine omnipotence and sovereignty so as to deny man any freedom a priori — apart, that is, from the question of before or after the fall — would be introducing a most unbiblical view of freedom, and at the same time a very inexact concept of God. He might perhaps from such a concept reach the conclusion that man "naturally" is not free; but it is clear that with such an approach he must develop an idea of freedom as autonomy and arbitrary choice. And this implies a line of thought which makes it finally impossible to catch the Biblical light on freedom. And it certainly must then sound strange to hear life restored through the grace of God described as a free life. No, it is precisely the clarity of the Biblical witness regarding freedom which should make us very cautious of any abstract concept of freedom. A determinist may view all actual freedom —apart from the concrete situation, however disposed — as contraband; but from Scripture it is evident that there is room for an important historical variation, and it is apparently possible to speak of human freedom once again released from restrictions. It is obvious that this freedom, which is held before us as awe-inspiring wealth, has nothing to do with autonomy or arbitrariness, and that it does not stand opposed to submission to God. We can not even say that freedom and submission are two aspects of the Christian life. There is, according to the Bible, only one solution which gives the gospel message its full due: when we refer not merely to aspects, nor to a dialectical relation between submission and freedom, but to their identity. 15

We must then speak without any hesitation of human freedom as a creaturely freedom given by God. No misuse of the desire for freedom, not even complete anarchy, should tempt us to stop speaking boldly and emphatically of freedom. The anxiety regarding the use of the term which we find in Christian circles is indeed historically and psychologically understandable, since life has often been shaken to its foundations through an appeal to "freedom." Freedom is often understood as autonomy and arbitrary power, as a purely formal power of man to go his own way. Thus man can be "liberated" from many restrictions, and thus Cain can "free" himself from Abel — "Am I my brother's keeper?" — and thus freedom can become an idol, a myth, which fills the heart and passions of man. Such practices can bring into the open the hidden and demonic motivations that lurk beneath what is often misunderstood as "freedom," and they who have been made aware of these hidden forces tend to talk freedom only in whispers and certainly without emphasis. It is clear, however, that such an approach to the problem arises from a perverted and secularized concept of freedom, within which it becomes increasingly difficult to keep in mind the Biblical witness regarding the Christian's freedom in Christ. Speaking Biblically, we can only say that sin enslaves man, just as it originally robbed him of his freedom and made him a man bound in the fetters of sin, as Calvin says (Institutes, II, III, 5). The Bible never embarks on a crusade against true human freedom; it is not so that, for example, divine omnipotence and providence rule out human freedom or annihilate it. The perspective is wholly different: the Scriptural witness on freedom is limited to man's relation to God. Man's enslaved will (servum arbitrium) does not mean impotence in the face of divine omnipotence, but rather sin, guilt, alienation, rebellion. Man's sin is not a manifestation of his freedom, but its perversion. And it is thus of great importance to give our full attention to, and not in reaction ignore, the fact that divine grace forgives this perversion of freedom, this rebellion, and annihilates its effects, and so renders man once again truly free.

Calvin remarks with reference to the characteristics of the image of God in man that we can know it in no better way than through the restoration of man's corrupt nature (Institutes I, XV, 4); and the same is true of human freedom. The New Testament pictures it with great emphasis as freedom in and through Christ. There is obviously no reference here to an abstract concept of freedom, but rather freedom is spoken of in a completely relational sense. 16 This becomes perhaps most clear when we consider that there is no tension or competition between the freedom of the believer and his submission to Christ. Indeed, it is precisely that man who stands in community with Him and who submits fully to Him who is referred to as free. The restoration in Christ, the new man, refers to our restoration from the enslaved will (servum arbitrium) to the free will (libera voluntas): One of Jesus' talks with the Jews dealt with the liberating power of the truth (John 8:32-36). When they protested that they had never been in bondage, Jesus spoke of the enslavement to sin, and told them that "if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Jesus contrasts, in this sharp polemic, actual freedom with the slavery of sin, with that miserable servility and enslavement. (Compare the similar evaluations of this enslavement in Rom. 6:6, Rom. 6:19, Gal. 4:3, Titus 3:3.) It is the same outlook which is given us elsewhere: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free" (Gal. 5:1); this is the richness of freedom, which must be protected against threats to it; "be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

Freedom in the New Testament is not a formal possibility or a formal power which enables the believer to choose either of two ways. On the contrary: it is no possibility but rather an actuality, the actuality of being free (cf. Gal. 3:13, 4:4). It is materially qualified and made concrete through the relation to Christ, and is identical with coming into the service of God (Rom. 6:22), with all the wealth that is implied therein. Thus the depth and completeness of this freedom become visible. It does not compete with or limit the acts of God, as if the more powerfully God's acts affect our lives, the narrower our freedom becomes! Or, as if the accentuation of our freedom should limit the power of the grace of God! Anyone who thinks in such categories should realize that the New Testament knows no such opposition. The New Testament pictures it in precisely the opposite way: the more communion with God fills our life, the more free our life becomes. 17 If we place divine power and human freedom in a relation of opposition — even if we refer to a mystery in connection therewith — we are actually operating with a secularized and autonomous concept of freedom. When such a concept, which implies some sort of competition in the relation between God and human freedom, 18 is held consistently, one cannot but conclude that the divine greatness and power rob man of his due, and threaten man in his true humanity. But such a concept actually involves a serious misapprehension of freedom, a misapprehension that really presupposes the idea of the jealousy of a God who begrudges man his proper nature, viewing it as a threat to His own power.

We must remember in this connection that the Bible does indeed refer to the jealousy of God, but everything depends on what we must understand by the term. Does the Bible speak of a jealousy of God toward man, which could in any sense be analogous to the impure jealousy of humans? The answer to this question is not difficult to give. Whenever Scripture speaks of divine jealousy, it is in a context of relationships so clear that there is no room for misunderstanding. Consider first of all the second commandment, in which a divine warning and threat is added to the forbidding of the worship of images; "for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children" (Ex. 20:5; cf. Deut. 5:9), and the text in which the fierceness of God's "jealousy" in judgment is referred to: "I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy" (Ezek. 16:38). While we may not detract in the least from the terrible power of such words, they are nevertheless far removed from the "jealousy" of God toward a human race to which he begrudges a place under the sun. The "jealousy" of which Scripture speaks is not directed against man as such, but only against the man who violates the only right relationship to God. Such violation occurs in the worship of images, as stated in the second commandment, but also, as stated in Ezekiel, when the people are no longer faithful to the God of the Covenant. For this is an intolerable rebellion, an attack on the mystery of God's love for Israel, and thus the jealousy of Jahwe in all its fierceness is a revelation of a love which cannot bear that this love is disdained with impunity (cf. the whole of Ezek. 16, especially verses 8, 15 and 32). Thus the jealousy of Jahwe is not directed against man, but against the adultery of His people, against the failure to appreciate His love. Jahwe's jealousy can only be aroused because of illegitimate religion: "They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities" (Deut. 32:21). 19

In this "jealousy" there is nothing of the illegitimate jealousy of man, who begrudges his fellow man that which is his; 20 rather, it is the revelation of God's holiness and love, with which He watches over the steadfastness of His covenant, the covenant of love.

The divine jealousy is not directed against man as such, but against the perversion of human nature in supposed autonomy, in which man's relation to God becomes troubled and endangered. Another sort of jealousy may be found in Greek mythology, but not in the Word of God. Scripture presents precisely the opposite of any idea of competition; first in creation, and then in salvation, man receives his status in wealth and communion and freedom, and he is affected by God's jealousy only when this communion and freedom are violated. Therefore, too, Scripture never speaks of a jealous attitude of God towards human "freedom," since all His acts are directed towards this freedom. His concern is with a freedom which is the freedom of sonship, not the "freedom" of arbitrary choice.

There can be tension between "free" autonomous man and God only when man wants to defend this "freedom" against God, and then makes room for it in theory or in practice. But this "freedom" is not honored with that name in the New Testament, but is rather rejected and unmasked. This "freedom" as autonomous self-determination and self-destining is certainly not the "essence" of man, and the supposition that it is or promises to be true freedom, is pictured in the New Testament as completely illusory. Of false teachers it is said: "While they promise liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same he is brought into bondage" (II Pet. 2:18-19). Were we to begin with an abstract idea of freedom, we should find the terminology of the New Testament indeed strange, bizarre and intolerable, when it speaks of servants, slaves of Christ, and submission in every area of life. We should then see all such things as a threat to freedom, as an abolition of freedom. But the New Testament recognizes no conflict here because it holds that true freedom becomes actualized precisely in this submission, And this is no mere metaphor, no "aspect" which can be relativized through other "aspects," but it rather concerns the actual nature of freedom. 21 Often the saying that true freedom is true submission sounds somewhat trivial; the reason is the often oversimplified use of these terms. They can be used in a very general sense, as when, for example, Jacques Perk says that true freedom has regard for the laws. But we should reflect that the New Testament is not merely repeating a general truth: it is designating this identity essential for true humanness. And we shall have to admit that Scripture reveals something of the deep mystery of our humanness when it pictures the position of man not as submission in contrast with freedom, but shows in very real and penetrating fashion man's freedom precisely in his submission. Schlier expresses this in striking fashion when he says that the New Testament does not tell us that man is enslaved because he is not able sufficiently to order his own way, but rather tells us that he is enslaved just because he does so do, and to the extent that he does so do. 22

The enslaved will (servum arbitrium) is according to the New Testament found precisely in attempted autonomy, in taking one's life in one's own hands, in autarchy, in controlling one own's destiny. As over against that, we see the light of true freedom. To quote Schlier again, 23 "man attains control over himself only by letting himself be controlled." The words in which the New Testament concept of freedom is paraphrased often take such "paradoxical" form, but basically there are no opposing poles here, any more than for Paul when he speaks of love as the fulfilling of the law.

There is rather the miracle of the gift of freedom, which consists of this, as Paul puts it characteristically, that we are no longer our own, and therefore we rediscover ourselves in our true humanness and our true destiny. This "paradoxical" truth (as, e.g., Bultmann24 calls it) is the great mystery of man's life, as it is revealed in the restoration to true humanness. This restoration is not at all an "annihilation," for the man who is no longer his own is, in this situation, called to glorify God, "glorify God in your body, and your spirit, which are God's" (I Cor. 6:20). The fact that we are not our own does not cast shadows over human freedom, but evidences it as a joyful reality: "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's" (Rom. 14:8). Here freedom is fully revealed, for here man recovers his status, and is freed from the delusion of his autonomy to serve God. Believers must be reminded of this again and again, for they must learn so to be true man and truly free. And in the text which Bultmann calls "the most powerful expression of freedom," this reminder is expressed sharply, so that freedom will not be misunderstood: "For all things are yours . . . the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours but ye are Christ's" (I Cor. 3:21-23), Though this insight does not originate first of all in Paul's experience, it does correspond well with it, for he in his encounter with Christ did not go from "freedom" to slavery, but from slavery to freedom. "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal, 2:20). And from this "not I" comes forth the powerful and seething activity which is the sign of true freedom. Thus Paul speaks (Gal, 5:13, 4:4-7) of being truly free and of being called to freedom as a very joyful thing, through which man's nature is not destroyed but rather restored.

The New Testament revelation regarding freedom thus articulates a deeply religious verdict. Every concept of freedom which would describe man's essence ontologically, apart from his relation to God, must end with the "freedom" of autonomy and self-determination. Such an abstract ontology of essences can give no true perspective on freedom; it must always designate as the earmark of freedom, being "free from" — however the concept is then further elaborated. This freedom, this being "free from," is then seen as of the "essence" of man, a self-sufficient inwardness which protests all threats to it or limits on it, all conquest and compulsion. Freedom is then defined by man's dignity and by his inner nature. This freedom leaves man to himself, and he chooses so to be, as over against the world of the other, which limits him and threatens him. Freedom is then "the being left to oneself in the sense of pure self-limitation to oneself as one's incontestably own," 25 so that man himself is the absolute subject who dictates the law. Freedom is thus formally qualified, and from this point of view any limit or responsibility will be seen as a relativizing of absolute freedom. But this makes clear the meaningless and subjectivistic character of such a "freedom from." All variations within this absolute freedom become purely relative. When Schlier discusses the transition from the concept of freedom as political freedom to the idealistic notion of freedom, he adds that the "formal definition of freedom remains the same": the idea of "free from" as the essence of freedom is a negative qualification and implies ultimately the breaking of all bonds with another. Thus, says Schlier, it stands in direct contrast with the New Testament idea of freedom, which is pictured as true freedom up to and including its eschatological fulfillment, a freedom in which men share and stand through the faith to which men are called, and in which men must be protected. 26 This freedom cannot be formally defined through a "free from" approach, but always stands in a material context; one can almost speak of a New Testament definition of freedom when Paul writes, "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (II Cor. 3:17).

This freedom is not taken for granted in the New Testament Church. It is rather surrounded by constant warnings to remain in freedom.

If the Church turns away from the path that has been shown her, she does it not in freedom; rather, the turning away endangers freedom. That is Paul's concern for the Church; that she not become again enslaved, but stand fast in her freedom. 27 The freedom of the believer in Christ is also a "freedom from," a freedom from the law, but freedom is referred to here in a polemic and antithetical sense, and refers in turn to being in Christ, because He has bought our freedom, "redeemed us from the curse of the law" (Gal. 3:13). This "freedom from" the law is thus not a standing above the law (see I Cor. 9:21), and Paul can call us to the fulfilling of the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2; cf. Rom. 13:8) in the same context as his "if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law" (Gal. 5:18; cf. Rom. 6:14).

James has often been placed in opposition to Paul, not only as regards the relation between faith and works28 but also as regards the law. It is, however, striking that it is James who speaks of the complete royal law of freedom and calls absorption therein and practice thereof a blessed thing (Jas. 1:25, 2:8, 12). 29 This is possible only through the richness and the actuality of freedom in Christ. And this in turn, here as everywhere in the New Testament, is a matter not of appropriating an abstract philosophy but of directing attention to the meaning and the reality of freedom as the increated mystery of man's humanness.

It is obvious from the nature of this freedom that it has nothing in common with an individualistic perversion of freedom, but reveals its true meaning precisely also in the love of the other, the neighbor. This freedom fulfills the law in that way: "he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law" (Rom. 13:8). 30 The mystery of man's humanness reveals itself here, in this fulfilling of the law. It does not reveal itself in an obscure "free from," but in a love-filled ‘free for" and fulfills also the following of the law of Christ.

We might ask whether the New Testament concept of freedom refers only to a freedom of a specific character, to Christian freedom, and whether we can derive any conclusions from this freedom as to freedom in general, which can play such a powerful role in the heart of men. Were we to answer that the New Testament is concerned only with an isolated "freedom," that of those who have become the servants of the Lord, and that this opens no perspectives on freedom in human life in general, we should fail to recognize that freedom in Christ is the true freedom of man's humanness. This true nature, not "supernatural" but increated, does throw light on human life, which in its manifold variations is in all sorts of ways enslaved to the powers of darkness. Man's nature, as God meant it to be and as He restores it and will restore it, stands before us in Jesus Christ — in the freedom in Christ — full of the rich perspectives of "freedom from" as well as "freedom for."

We see this already in the Old Testament, as the prayers for freedom and the songs of freedom rise to heaven from out of the need of the individual and of Israel. Liberation from that which harasses and threatens man's humanity — in general and particularly in Israel, the people of God — is viewed as the work and the blessing of God; and so also creaturely freedom, in which man can fulfill his calling and bring to expression the meaning of his humanity. The New Testament presents the freedom of man's nature not as a vague and distant ideal, but as something actually before us in the life of the Church, which in its whole existence is and must be a sign of this freedom. It has often been noted that the New Testament shows a marvelous consciousness of self, a powerful experience of freedom. Now, consciousness of self is a term which easily awakens bad associations; e.g., when we think of the sort of life (actually unaccustomed to freedom) which abstracts the "self" from its Maker and thus falls into a perverted self-consciousness. But there is a consciousness of self, in being a child of God, which can arise in a context that enables it to carry out its healing function. This is the context of freedom in Christ, which also has important implications in the area of "free from." Then we no longer deal with an abstract self-consciousness of the self-oriented man, but rather with a knowledge of the self which is structured from the freedom to which man is called through grace; the call to leave the darkness for the light of freedom. And then this consciousness sounds forth against all opposing powers, as in the triumphant words of Paul (Rom. 8:39) that nothing can separate him from the love of God in Jesus Christ; and then there is a glorying which has nothing to do with false pride: "let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." 31

Here — and elsewhere — there is a consciousness of impregnability, of legitimacy, of the true nature of man which is revealed in its freedom as a "being free for" and therein also as a "being free from." This concept of freedom can no longer be called formal, for it is completely concretized in actual life.

And from this now unveiled meaning of true human nature, which begins to show forth the image of God as a child of God, and from this freedom, we also gain a sharper perspective on the world. Schlier writes, and rightly so, that "in the Christian idea of freedom the breakthrough to real freedom occurs. If we comprehend what freedom is in its Christian meaning, then we have also grasped the source of every freedom." 32 In other words, the Christian idea does not imply an under evaluation of the desire for freedom found in individuals and in peoples — often so terribly outraged or threatened in their humanness — rather, it takes them very seriously, as seriously as did Paul when he speaks of the groping attempts to find God "though he be not far from every one of us" (Acts 17:27). The call for freedom, which can be heard in all ages, can be of different sorts. There can be a demand for freedom which is nothing but the lust for lawlessness, a reflection of the longing for "freedom" portrayed in Psalm 2:3, "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast their cords from us." Or, again, we can hope for a "freedom" which in actuality is slavery: "promising liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption" (II Pet. 2: 19). But the fervid longing for freedom, in contrast to the perverting of man's humanity, is legitimate when viewed in the perspective of the human nature God intended, though its real meaning and origin may not be fully understood. The message of the Church to the world therefore lies not in the preaching of a general concept of freedom, of a concept into which each man can pour his own content, but rather in the proclamation of the gospel of Christ, in which is unveiled what being human in freedom means. And from the standpoint of the gospel it is completely clear that in every situation and against every threat liberation is never the end but it is rather the beginning: it is a renewed appeal arising from the regained — general — human nature and demanding fulfillment of human nature in this liberation. And it is certainly conceivable that such a newly contested "free from" should degenerate, and should not find true freedom in the meaning of a man or a people in the service of God and of one's neighbor, in the "free for" of true community. Nonetheless, the light of freedom streams into the world from Christ alone, and it shows us true humanness. It is the light of the bound Christ, who fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Covenant in the coming of the Messianic Kingdom. He read Isaiah's prophecy of the bruised who should be delivered in freedom, and then said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:17-21; Isa. 61:1-2). In that day, too, men did not realize the scope of this fulfillment. The eyes of all those in the synagogue were fastened on Him, and all "wondered at the gracious words which proceeded from his mouth," but they were soon filled with wrath and sought to kill Him (Luke 4:28). But the prophecy of freedom is fulfilled and the signs of liberation are spread over the land, signs full of the richness of "free from" in the liberation from sin and guilt, from need and death, from bodily misery and demonic possession. It is the revelation of the kingdom of Christ and of that true humanness which He referred to in His statement, "ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). This freedom is the content of the gospel and with its immeasurable force cuts through every bond which threatens to relativize and ravage man's humanness. For over these threats — which do not honor man as the divine creation — there hangs the threat of the judgment, the judgment of the gospel of liberation as the fulfillment of the prophecy of the psalmist: "For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence; and precious shall their blood be in his sight" (Ps. 72:12-14).

And thus the light of freedom shines forth even into the eschatological perspective; the Church is directed to the ultimate revelation of freedom, until the whole creation is liberated (free from!) from its servitude to impermanence into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 33

We have seen that the positive insight into the true freedom of man starts from another point than many popular concepts of freedom, which begin with the idea of "free from" and see man as having power over himself and as able to make all his own decisions. in such a view, freedom is more closely defined as the possibility of man's choosing different ways, more particularly two ways, that of good or of evil, which thus lie open as juxtaposed possibilities. In the history of theology, this sort of outlook on freedom occurs in connection with the fall of man. It is here, especially when we view the freedom of the will as lost through sin and thus can speak of creaturely freedom before the fall, that the question arises whether we can speak of another freedom besides the positive richness of freedom in communion with God, the freedom of sonship: that is, whether we should not also speak of a certain formal freedom of choice in man, a freedom utriusque partis. Is there not, besides a material concrete freedom, a formal freedom which stands "open" before what occurs? And does not this formal freedom undeniably raise a series of problems? While true freedom may be bound up with glory now and to the eschaton, does there not fall over this formal freedom the shadow of this dual possibility of choice and thus also the threatening possibility of evil?

Such a formal freedom has often been posited alongside true freedom, and as an illustration thereof reference is often made to the situation before the fall and especially to the "probationary command" given to man in paradise. Does not this "test command" clearly imply formal freedom? And how must we then view the relation between the positive nature of true freedom and this "uncertain" freedom, with which man faced a choice? For we can hardly describe true freedom in terms of standing at a crossroad; it means, rather, walking along one road, and being continually reminded thereof by way of the gospel of freedom. And how is this to be understood when we see next to it freedom as choice, as a power not to sin (posse non peccare) but also as the power to sin (posse peccare)? Do we not face here a dual concept of freedom, implying an unmistakable antinomy?

These questions as to the nature of human freedom arise especially when we turn our attention to the question of the origin of sin. Only consider how many times the origin of sin has been ascribed to this human freedom of choice, implying this twofold power of man's nature and of his creaturely existence: to sin or not to sin; a good part and an evil part of his nature.

Theologians have tried in various ways to incorporate this formal freedom, and the power to choose between good and evil which it implies, into the intention of God's work at creation. Thus it is said that God loves freedom and thus respects this freedom of man. "God takes delight in the unrestricted freedoms of the desert animals" says Stauffer34 in an attempt to show the dynamic of human freedom. God wants a free man, not a mechanical tool or a marionette or a pawn that can be moved at His pleasure. And with this principle of freedom, continues Stauffer, "the possibility of rebellion of this will, created free, is in principle given."

This idea can be carried still further, and we can speak of a risk taken by God, or of an inner dialectic of freedom, or of the tragedy of freedom. 35 Though all such views derive from an initial contrast between freedom and compulsion, they seek to find the origin of sin via human freedom and thus in a sense to make it rationally understandable. Such views seek to include both the "material" and "formal" freedom of man under the one aspect of the rich endowments and the goodness of created man. It was indeed realized that the wealth of the freedom of sonship (even into the eschaton) was an unshadowed wealth which did not fall in the category of "possibility" but could be grasped only as reality; but nevertheless the attempt at synthesis was not given up, with the result that in many views of freedom we can see an inner antinomy. Men tried, within this antinomy, not so much to explain the origin of sin as to indicate the sphere within which it could arise, the sphere of human freedom of choice. This formal freedom was thus generally so defined that man was created free to choose for himself between good or evil, placed before a crossroad, in a situation which was still open. Against the background of the contrast between freedom and compulsion, a further idea was often added, that man was necessarily created with this freedom of choice because God did not wish compulsion and desired this kind of freedom.

It is undeniable, in my opinion, that if we take this line of approach we can very quickly wander into an impassable and tangled forest of unbiblical thoughts and speculations. The simple way in which human freedom is often defined as a double possibility, as freedom of choice, arises from an abstract and irreligious and neutral anthropological analysis of human freedom. The analysis sees this "freedom" to choose either of two directions as belonging to the essence of man as created "good." Freedom is then the possibility of choice, the open choice, and the choice of sin is then the demonstration, the manifestation of human freedom. Further thought on this formal freedom sometimes provoked a certain hesitation in relation to the, essential goodness of man as originally created by God — a hesitation which is understandable in view of the Belgic Confession's definition (Art. 14) of this goodness as lying in the fact that God is man's true life. The Confession speaks of man created by God as "good, righteous and holy, able with his will to accord with the will of God in all things." It is clear enough that this "ability" does not refer to a formal and still unfulfilled possibility without actuality, an abstract ability to choose. This is clear from the fact that "good, righteous and holy" precedes "able." In the original draft of the Confession, these three words were followed by "wholly perfect in all things," words which were later replaced by "able to accord . . ." According to Bavinck, the reason for this change is not completely certain, though he rejects as completely without basis the suggestion that the "wholly perfect" of the original draft was turned down as exaggerated. 36

Calvinist theologians, says Bavinck, indeed acknowledged that the first man had not reached the highest possible state . in all things, and their view of the status integritatis was a sober one, but this did not affect their affirmation of man's original goodness: "good, righteous and holy" (Belgic Confession, Art. 14); "good . . . created in true righteousness and holiness" (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 3). And because of this it was difficult to ascribe without hesitation the possibility of a choice in either direction to the essence of man because of God's "love of freedom." 37 For to do this would be to ignore the fact that a choice for evil as an arbitrary choice would be in conflict with and a perversion of true creaturely freedom. It is thus impossible to combine the material freedom of the child of God and the formal freedom of choice in a satisfying and meaningful synthesis, since in such a synthesis we must always eventually incorporate arbitrariness into the idea of "freedom" rather than excluding it. The choice for sin then immediately becomes a manifestation of human freedom — though we go on to speak of sin as actually being slavery. Thus too, with such a view of freedom the depth of the fall can never be made intelligible, for in the fall the opposite of human freedom becomes evident; namely, man's arbitrary choice, the enslaved will (servum arbitrium). Man's freedom and the fall are not related as possibility and realization. We often hear of the enigmatic aspects of the fall, since the fall is that of a man created good; but this does not refer to a psychological riddle (namely, how man could be tempted) but rather to the unfathomable nature of the freedom of man which is lost in becoming arbitrary choice. 38

It is furthermore clear that we may never use such a "formal freedom" in connection with the image of God. As if man could ever show the likeness of God in the possibility of choosing evil — possibilitas utriusque partis, in bonam et inalam partem! The only adequate basis is that of the affirmation of man's good and creaturely freedom in his communion with God. The freedom of man can be adequately described only in this context. If we begin with the positive character of the good creation of God, we must say of man's freedom, with Brunner, "thus the maximum of man's dependence on God is also the maximum of his freedom, and his freedom diminishes as he moves further from his source and origin, from God." And a hesitation to combine a formal freedom with the true freedom of man in the richness of communion with God, in some sort of dualistic concept of freedom, gives evidence of a realization of the problems involved in such a synthesis. 39

It is not difficult to point to the characteristic problems of a dualistic concept of freedom. We might begin with the formulation of Julius Muller, who distinguished between real and formal freedom. 40

"Real freedom" is freedom in which man is truly free. It is the freedom which according to the New Testament is the possession of the believers, who have been liberated through Christ, a freedom which does not rule out their obedience and submission but which rather coincides fully with these. With this view of freedom, Muller gets into difficulty in his chapter on the "possibility" of sin. For this rich and positive freedom can not be related to evil. It is precisely the being free from sin; it is freedom in Christ, the freedom of the child of God as the true and divinely intended humanness of man. Though this freedom is to be fully realized only in the future, in the freedom of the glory of the children of God, when creation itself will be delivered from its servitude to corruption (Rom. 8:21), nevertheless Scripture speaks of this freedom as in principle present in this dispensation: true liberty. It is liberation from all that which hinders true humanness, and it has nothing to do with a formal freedom as a "possibility" of choosing either good or evil. But it is to this formal freedom that Muller turns his attention, as he postulates another freedom besides actual freedom, namely freedom as the power to choose either good or evil. This power, man's formal freedom, is not at all a product of fantasy, he says, but rather is the necessary presupposition of man's consciousness of guilt.

This consciousness of guilt can operate only when it presupposes that we could have done otherwise than we did, and thus presupposes our freedom. Now it is a priori evident that we face a series of problems with these two juxtaposed concepts of freedom; this is already plain in the terms themselves, for making real freedom and formal freedom coordinate is wholly artificial. "Real" freedom is actually nothing more than a tautology, while the concept "formal freedom" offers no substantial contribution to clarity. Muller subsumes the two different things under the one concept of "freedom," and thus his very terminology reveals the tensions inherent in this dual concept of freedom. He himself is occasionally conscious that this dual concept leads him into great difficulty since each term appears to exclude the other. For does not actual freedom in the richness of being a child of God exclude formal freedom, and does not formal freedom throw deep shadows over true freedom? Nevertheless Muller tries to arrive at a solution by pointing to a certain harmony, for true freedom, "the full determination of man for the good, which excludes every possibility of evil" would be inconceivable if it "did not develop from formal freedom."

There are indeed not two concepts of freedom, he says, but rather two moments in one and the same concept of freedom. Formal freedom does indeed imply the ability to do otherwise, and hence appears to be in conflict with true freedom, but it is precisely the intention of formal freedom to become the true freedom of the child of God.

Muller thus tries to rise above the apparent conflict between the two concepts by making formal freedom a presupposition of true freedom, a means to reach the goal of true freedom. It is clear, however, that this is no solution since the conflict can not be removed by such means. For we still have to do with two differing concepts of freedom. Muller says that when man's free will has taken on its true content, then it no longer is formal freedom. And besides, we confront the fact that this road from formal to true freedom was not the road man followed, and it becomes clear from Muller's more detailed account of the origin of sin that it is impossible to combine true and formal freedom in a synthesis. 41

As Muller distinguishes between formal and real freedom, so Emil Brunner distinguishes between formal and material freedom. 42 It is something obvious for him, long since well-known to theologians and philosophers. Material freedom can be lost, formal freedom not, since the latter is characteristic of man and may be called an aspect of God's image. Brunner means by material freedom the same that Muller meant by real freedom. It is the characteristic freedom which exists where the Spirit of the Lord is, freedom in dependence on God, freedom which is of complete stature only when man remains in this dependence. Sin stands over against this freedom, so that freedom and love are related as "freedom in and through love." But there is also, besides this material freedom, another sort of freedom, formal freedom. Brunner does not wish to have it relativize the loss of material (real) freedom; this was "completely and unconditionally lost."

Since material freedom is true freedom, "everything yet remaining to freedom counts as nothing compared to the loss of this true freedom," and thus we speak of formal freedom, "and deny its essential importance." For the essential thing in man's nature is his relation to God, and even if man still retains his formal freedom, this protects him not at all against disaster. We might remind ourselves, in considering this view of Brunner, of Calvin's somewhat similar outlook (Institutes II, II, 7). He also acknowledged that man on the road of sin chooses through free will and not through compulsion, but then asks what importance this has in the context. But Brunner suddenly gives this formal freedom such an accent that without it the problems of "reason and revelation" and "faith and culture" become irredeemably confused. This importance of formal freedom is related to the fact that it is concerned with being-a-subject, (Sein-in-Entscheidung). It is noteworthy that Brunner first speaks of the lost true freedom (material freedom) and now goes on to refer to free will as "the presupposition and the essence of man's humanness." And precisely here, on the point of the essence of man, the problem of the dual concept of freedom again comes to the fore. For Brunner's concern for formal freedom as "essence" of man raises the question of how he can harmonize this freedom with what he has previously called true freedom. If formal freedom means that man is not compelled to act and freely chooses his own way, we must consider that Scripture refers to precisely this active and freely willing man as the slave of sin. Brunner may call formal freedom the essential characteristic of reason, but he is then dealing with another "essence" than that with which he was concerned when he placed so much emphasis on true freedom. Brunner himself says that true freedom does not mean liberum arbitrium indifferentiae, freedom to choose regardless of good or evil, since such freedom of choice would be a perversion of freedom. What remains in Brunner's concept of formal freedom is the ontic structure of man's nature in distinction from that of the animal, the form of human nature, which leads man to art and science, civilization and culture. But it thus becomes impossible to bring the concepts of formal and material freedom together under the common denominator "freedom." How can we place true freedom next to a "freedom" in which man can say yes or no to evil? And can we say that the Bible fixes our attention on such a dual concept of freedom?

In spite of the undeniable problems which in this manner are always revived, theologians have time and again asked the question whether when we examine man's originally good nature we do not encounter de facto an ability to sin, a posse peccare, and if so whether we should not honor this possibilitas with the name of freedom. Can we escape postulating a formal concept of freedom — an ability to choose at the crossroads — along with true freedom? As answer to such questions, it has often been said that God created the "possibility" of sin, that He created man so that he could fall and then let man choose, freely, whether he would follow God's way or his own way. Herman Bavinck especially devoted much attention to this problem. 43

It was not God's will, said Bavinck, instantly to lift man above the possibility of sin and death through some act of power (we should note that the word "possibility" plays an important role in Bavinck's approach). The possibilitas peccandi, the possibility of sinning, is from God. It was an "objective possibility," in accordance with which God created the angels and men so that they could sin and fall. This possibility is, he says, without a doubt willed by God. Bavinck then brings man's freedom into context when he writes that man did not yet possess the highest and unlosable freedom, that of not being able to sin. The image of God still had its limit, in the possibility of sin. Man was good, but he might change; he walked on the right road, but he might yet turn away from it. Bavinck even says that this could not be otherwise, for whatever is formed can become deformed, and thus a creature naturally incapable of sin is a contradiction in terms. The possibility thus lies in the nature of created things, and Bavinck goes on to analyze this possibility more closely. It is not simply implied in the reality of sin, for Bavinck calls attention to other factors, to man's imagination as a power, so that the breaking of God's command was proposed as becoming like God, to man's being body (sarx), to his susceptibility to temptation. Bavinck does not, with all this, intend to give an explanation of the origin of sin. Reference to the possibility willed by God is all that can be said on the subject. "How this possibility became actuality is a mystery, and will doubtless remain such." He rejects every rational explanation, since it would not do justice to the irrationality and lawlessness of sin. Bavinck wrestles with what he himself calls "the greatest riddle and cross of reason"; namely, the actuality of sin in a world created good. But he discusses it nevertheless. He considers the "not yet" of man's created nature, the not yet possessing the highest good, and discusses the good but changeable status of the first man and the unchangeable eschatological glory of the child of God. At this point in his reflections, Paul's words in I Corinthians 15:45-47 play an important role; the apostle distinguishes between the first man, who was earthy and of the earth, and Christ, the Lord from heaven, who has become a quickening spirit. According to Bavinck, this comparison and contrast between Adam and Christ has great importance also for our understanding of the fall. He relates the possibility of sin and man's being "of the earth, earthy." There is a difference between the origin and nature of sin in angels and in man. Man was not spirit but earthy, "weaker and more fragilely organized," and as such gave Satan a fitting opportunity for temptation. It is thus that Bavinck explains Paul's placing a close relation between man's material nature and his sin. In man's being flesh, earthy, lies the possibility of sin. This does not imply the explanation of sin through the flesh, as many have thought, for then sin is implicit in creation and ultimately in the Creator. Materiality is in itself no sin, but it is the occasion and stimulus for sin, so that Bavinck thinks he can speak of the "inducement" for Satan, man's susceptibility to temptation, in his nature as a material, psychic being.

We have here an attempt to clarify sin, if not in its actuality then in its possibility, by way of the anthropological structure of man as creature. We do indeed arrive at some insight into the fall of man through this concept of the "inducement" to temptation which lay in the weak and fragile human structure, 44 But it is clear that we can not in this way designate the possibility of sinning as a necessity, for we would then be unable to escape attributing the actuality of sin to man's fragile and weak material nature. With this approach, in other words, possibility and actuality can not be separated. 45 Nor can we base this approach on 1 Corinthians 15. Paul is not there concerned with an explanation of the origin and the possibility of sin. He refers to the overflowing richness of Christ and His salvation, even into the eschaton and the resurrection of the dead.

In order to show the richness and glory of Christ, he compares Christ and Adam, the first man. He refers back to Genesis 2:7, where we read of the divine act through which man became a living being. The first man is earthy, from the earth, in contrast to Christ, who is from heaven (I Cor. 15:47; cf. 48-49). But this contrast does not entitle us to draw conclusions regarding a "possibility" which lies in this earthy nature, and especially in man's material nature. The origin of the first man is contrasted with that of the last Adam who is the quickening spirit (I Cor. 15:45; cf. 15:22), and in this there is also an eschatological aspect: "as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (I Cor. 15:49). Paul does refer to the creaturely aspect of the first man, but there is no reason at all to feel that he was here concerned with the problem of the origin of sin (and its possibility), and indeed it is precisely the creatureliness, the createdness, of man which is his glory and his essence in his total existence. 46 And that is no humiliation of man. It becomes an humiliation only when man no longer understands the meaning of his createdness and dependence and rebels against it. And thus this createdness, this earthy nature, can never be a means to clarifying the origin of sin. Evidently I Corinthians 15 has been related to the origin (and possibility) of sin because theologians were concerned with the problems of the changeable and the unchanging, of freedom perverted in the fall and the definitive and eschatological freedom in Christ, of the transition from immortality to death and that immortality which Christ brought in the transition from death to life. 47

And with such problems we do indeed encounter the deepest mysteries of the whole Biblical witness, those which Bavinck called not only a riddle but also the heaviest cross of reason. We can clearly see that all these problems center in the essence of creaturely freedom. At the same time we understand that the actuality of the perversion of freedom, against the will of God, can not and may not be explained from other component factors, but can only be confessed as guilt. The outlines of freedom become visible only from within the full Messianic actuality. The light of grace shines on true freedom on our way of deep shame and guilt. We understand through salvation in Christ that the perspective which we see through the windows of Holy Scripture is not that of eternal recurrence but rather that of eschatological freedom. This recovery of the disdained sonship, this coming to one's true self, as the prodigal son found himself and the way to his father's house — these we may not obscure through our terminology, through talk of a felix culpa, and surely not through an attempted explanation of sin.

The riddle of sin of which Bavinck speaks48 can not be elucidated by appeal to man's weakness because of his material and fragile nature, but according to the light of Scripture can only be seen as an enigma of man created good who became bad through his fall, his rebellion, which alienated him from the glory and from the friendship of God. It brought him on a self-chosen way of inner and far-reaching unfreedom, and thus became the enduring rebellion of his life. Of this transition there is no elucidation, now or in the future, to be given which would make this step towards alienation psychologically or anthropologically understandable. Every attempt in this direction — and there have been several attempts made — every attempt to explain the possibility of sin through man's createdness has always led to attempting to explain sin itself, to place it within causal and explanatory relationships, and thus to take away or at least to relativize its character of guilt. Now, theologians have often spoken of the possibilitas peccandi and of the potentially alterable goodness of created man, 49 but it is clear that these terms and references often mean no more than to point out, beginning with the actuality of sin, that the fall of man was not "impossible" but "possible." But it is further clear that we then can not speak of this ability as an ordinary "possibility" like other possibilities, which always throw some light on their actualization. If we speak in such fashion of the possibility of sinning, we throw no light on the matter — just as it seems impossible to understand what Bavinck actually meant when he wrote that God created the possibility of sin. 50

When Barth speaks of the "ontological" impossibility of sin, he means that it is impossible for man to fall out of the grace of God. No matter how much sin as an actual power has loaded man with guilt and shame, his essence — his relation to God —could not be affected, since God's grace triumphed over this choice and excluded it ontologically. 51 But in the problem of the possibiIitas peccandi which has concerned theologians since Augustine, the question is somewhat different; namely, whether sin as actuality can or cannot be explained. in order to clarify to some extent man's "arbitrariness" through this "sphere of action," man's "freedom" to choose either way has often been simplistically incorporated in this "possibility," so that sin is derived from the freedom given man by God.

But sin can never be elucidated from the goodness of the creation of God. This does not at all imply an excusing of sin because of the "mysteriousness" of evil. We certainly may not speak of the "riddle" of sin if we mean thereby that sin cannot be understood, in the same sense that many other things cannot be understood. "Riddle" — that oft used word52 — can be justifiably used only when it refers to the guilt of sin, precisely in the light of God's good creation, in which man could find no "inducement" to rebel against his Maker, Scripture also speaks of this guilt, which can never be causally explained: "Lo, this only have 1 found, that God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions" (Eccles. 7:29).

Man — the man of God — must seek inventions because they are not there, because he does not see them before him, neither in communion with God nor in his own good life. Thus sin is the senselessness of unjustified rebellion dashing with God's own work, clashing with the richness and goodness of the human nature created by Him. In that sense, sin is a riddle, This riddling character occurs again in every sin, as in Israel, where it led to the question of divine concern for His sinful people: "O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me" (Micah 6:3, and see 4, 5). That is more than simple unintelligibility or simple riddle.

The depth of man's guilt is here revealed, which Christ Himself with respect to the sin against Him described thus: ‘They hated me' without a cause" (John 15:25. See Ps. 35:19 and 69:5, and John 15:22: "If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin"). This is a different description of the "riddle" of sin than that given when men try to escape its force in the "tragedy" of evil or the "fatality" of freedom or in an ineluctable dualism.

The darkness of this "without cause," this contra voluntatem Dei, can only be understood and confessed in the light of the love of God, which is not an answer to our love but to our enmity: "God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us even when we were dead in sins . . ." (Eph. 2:4-5).

These fatiguing cogitations on the origin of sin, on unde malum, can never find rest except at the point where there is vision — without reason — that penetrates sin in all its riddling character; and this vision is from within the freedom of the sons of God. This freedom in its fullness is an eschatological fruit of salvation. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the power of the "once" of Hebrews, of the revealed mysterion (Rom. 16:25) and the deep content of the profession of the perseverance of the saints.

We have already noted in passing that the so-called probationary command has often been referred to in support of the concept of formal freedom, since it is held that this implies a possibility of choice of good or evil, and a choice which the Creator Himself gave to man. Does this command not imply that God placed man at the crossroads of good and evil, with a free will, before a choice of two paths, a choice presupposed and pointed out by God Himself?

But there is reason to question whether the term "probationary command" is actually a correct expression of that which Scripture means to tell us in the Genesis account. We must first of all note that Genesis does not say that man was placed before a neutral and indifferent choice, We read of a command that was given man: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:16-17). It is in any event not so that Cod gave man the "freedom" to choose his own way according to his own will, to choose between two possibilities, for only one way is shown him on which he may walk. As the Belgic Confession (Art. 14) says, this was the command of life. The other "way" was emphatically placed under the threat of the judgment of death, and it is the serpent who later interprets the command in another way than as this most serious warning: "Ye shall not surely die: for Cod doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:4, 5). It is from this side that the dialectic of freedom is called up, that the two ways are presented to man as "possibilities" open to his "free will," and that the choice for evil (in malam partem) is seen as a meaningful choice to be seriously considered. But God's command is a command of life, which does not leave man to a choice, nor compel him to a choice between two ways, but rather shows him with the utmost emphasis one way, the way of freedom, the way of obedience. As Humbert says, "the command is absolute and unconditional; it does not propose a choice for man, but it imposes a single attitude, that of obedience and faith. The solemn menace of Genesis 2:17 is not prelude to a "test," but is meant to prevent any willing of disobedience." 53 We might then well ask whether the description of the command of God as a "probationary" command does not awaken the misunderstanding that God presented man with "freedom" to go left or right, to choose good or evil. Man is, rather, called to obedience in this command. And thus this "command of life" can hardly be used to support a formal concept of freedom, namely, the freedom to choose evil.

We can also consider later texts which have been brought in to support this conceit of formal freedom. Thus, for example, Deuteronomy 30:15: "I have set before thee life and good, and death and evil," But it is dear that this does not at all refer to an abstract secularized free will, or to an autarchic choice which is calmly recognized as a "possibility" of man, of Israel. Consider the verses which follow. "I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways" (v, 16), The other way is rejected and the threat of judgment placed over it, if the heart should turn to it (v. 17). As Jahwe once again holds before the people "life and death, blessing and cursing," we hear again the command of life: "therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed shall live" (v. 19). This command is a command to life and to freedom. The "either — or" of Israel's history, even as Elijah's call for the people to choose on Mt. Cannel (I Kings 18:21), is not at all the proclamation of a self-directing and autonomous free will, but rather the outstretched finger of God, pointing to a single way. And all the warnings and threats which surround this "either - or" make sense only as emphatic underlinings of the message regarding this one way. If Israel does not heed the command to life, or if Israel "chooses" for Baal, that is not a manifestation of its freedom, not an ontological freedom of the will, but an endangering of freedom and the acceptance of an enslaved will (cf. Deut. 30:18, 20). There is never a trace of the two choices as in balance, as two ways which are placed on an equal footing. The threats against disobedience can sometimes be strongly emphasized, for example in Deuteronomy 28, where verses 1 to 14 speak of blessings and 15 to 68 of curses, so that Noth can note that the emphasis in the chapter is one-sidedly on the curses; but he also adds that obedience and disobedience, blessings and curses, are not on the same level, and seen from the law's standpoint are not two choices placed before man in the same way as two possibilities. 54

For precisely this abundance of threats is a very strong indication of the one way shown Israel, the way in which it can walk in truth and share in freedom: "they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways" (Deut. 28:7).

There are other places where a similar choice is given Israel, for example: "if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye shall serve" — preceded by "serve ye the Lord" (Josh. 24:14, 15). And the same point could be repeated. It is also surely true that the point which holds for Israel holds all the more when man was originally placed, in the goodness of his creation, before the command of life. And if we there seek a synthesis between the Freedom given by God and a formal freedom, the freedom to choose evil, we shall inevitably fail in this dualistic concept of freedom, for the choice for sin perverts and does not reveal a free will. And our unsuccessful striving for such a synthesis can be based only on a concept of a neutral "freedom" as part of the essence of man. If we do not abstract man's essence, and thus also his creaturely freedom, from God, if we do not see freedom as a release for arbitrary choice, then we shall not wish nor be able to combine true freedom and the servum arbitrium, the enslaved will. That is doubtless the basic reason for the protest of Luther and Calvin against the natural freedom of the will. That protest was not an expression of disdain for the ontic structure of human nature, but it was concerned to protect our view of genuine humanness, which has no connection with arbitrary choice. We can never see freedom as a gift of God if we begin with such an arbitrary "free" will. Our understanding of this true freedom is an exclusive fruit of divine revelation, since fallen man can be made aware only of his own unfreedom. And man is so completely under delusion of this arbitrary free will that it takes a lifetime to become accustomed to the light of genuine freedom. It needs to be continually preached, and in such a way that our treatment of the law and the gospel takes up the enslaved will as well as the truly free will. For the law and the gospel take man away from the illusion of the crossroads at which he supposes he can choose either way arbitrarily. They break through the darkness of the "indifferent will," and the delusion which continually obsesses man on the path of sin. The light of the holy command breaks forth: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Mic. 6:8). It is knowing and practicing this good, this humility in the walk with God, which shape freedom — that freedom which in new responsibility55 is understood and experienced more and more as true freedom. And when the actuality of evil — not only its possibility — manifests itself, then we hear the command of life: "But thou, O man of God, flee these things . . ." (I Tim. 6:11).

It is not without a very deep meaning that Jesus Christ called His yoke easy and His burden light (Matt. 11:30). And John speaks of the richness of freedom and conquest, in the context of the child of God, thus: "his commandments are not grievous" and this truth becomes revealed in the reality of the new freedom, in the reality of sonship: "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world" (I John 5:3-4).


1. See Benedetto Croce, History as the Story of Liberty (New York, 1955). pp. 58-59 especially. He speaks of "secular and ecclesiastical tyrannies, wars between peoples, persecutions, exiles and gallows" as evidences of unfreedom; "with this project in view, the statement that history is the history of liberty sounds like irony, or, if it is seriously maintained, like stupidity." But he goes on to speak of the "thirst for liberty." Liberty must be gained through a "perilous and fighting life." Therein, he says, lies its exhilarating aspect. A world of freedom "without obstacles, without menaces and without oppressions" would be "worse than death, an infinite boredom."

2. H. Groos, Die Konsequenzen und Inkonsequenzen des Determinismus (1931), pp. 41, 126. Groos speaks of the "halfway and inconsequent determinism" which arises because of this popular belief (p. 127). How long this belief will continue to dominate is not predictable, he says, but the time will come when it will give way to philosophical determinism; and once this happens and, for example, the implications of heredity are understood, then determinism will also find support in the popular mind (p. 155). There is an inescapable and necessary logic in determinism, and we can, he says, speak of fatalism, in contrast to various halfway determinisms, as the "world-outlook of the future" (p. 157). Fatalism is to determinism as steel is to iron.

3. Cf. H. Dooyeweerd, Reformatie en Scholastiek in de Wijshegeerte, I (1949), 37ff.; especially on Kant for the "fourth motif" in the history of philosophy nature vs. freedom. Cf. H, I. Iwand, "Studien zum Problem des unfreien Willens," Zeitschrift für systematische Theologie (1930), pp. 225ff. He makes a similar attack on Kant's antinomy between freedom and causality. Iwand speaks of a theoretical irrefutable "illusionary self-understanding."

4. Cf. H. Redeker, Existentialisme (1949), pp. 319-321; on Sartre as the philosopher of freedom, who, however, opposes both determinism and indeterminism. Even unconditional freedom, says Sartre, is saturated with necessity and facticity, so that Redeker concludes that the ontologic basis is not free, and the dialectic fails at the final point. Cf. S. U. Zuidema, "Sartre." Denkers van deze Tijd, I, 279-283; R. Mehi, ‘Het Vraagstuk der Ethiek in het Franse Existentialisme," Wending (1956), and the final chapter (on liberty) of M. Merleau-Ponty, Phénomenologie de la perception (1945), on the dilemma of total freedom and no freedom, and his comment that we are inextricably involved with the world and with others: man's "situation" excludes absolute liberty even at the outset of our actions (p. 518).

5. On this "physical" (or natural) freedom, cf. Leo XlII's encyclical Libertas; "the ability to choose the means proper to the desired goal" (pp. 17-18). Free choice (liberum arbitrium) is a property of the will, something proper to the will, seu potius ipsa voluntas. It is noteworthy that despite the supposed indestructability of this freedom, the encyclical goes on to say that the "power to sin is not freedom" (p. 19), with a citation of John 8:34 (‘Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin"). On the concept of freedom in this encyclical, and problems surrounding it, see B. van Beyen, "De Opvatting van de mensclijke Wilsvrijheid in de Neo-Scholastiek," Studia Catholica (1956), pp. 213-215. For the organic relation between grace and freedom in Catholic thought, see ch. 2 of my Divine Election (1955).

6. The condemnation of Luther is in Exsurge Domine (Denzinger, 776). For Luther and Erasmus, cf. further my Conflict met Rome, ch. 4.

7. Iwand, op. cit., p. 241. He sees the equation of the idea of the unfree will with the idea of determinism as the most common misunderstanding of the former. For man's enslaved will, cf. I Pet. 2:16 warning against "using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness": this refers to an enslaved will, not to an annihilated will. Thus we speak of a "servum arbitrium" in the "privatio act uosa" — a term which stresses the dynamic and active character of sin. The enslaved will manifests itself in this alarming dynamism.

8. Cf. Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche (s.v., Willensfreiheit), XXI, 317.

9. E. Przywara, "Gott in uns und Gott über uns," Ringen der Gegenwart, II (1929), 550ff. He is followed by many Catholics in this view; recently by Marlet, Grundlinien der Kalvinistischen Philosophie der Gesetzesidee als Christlicher Transzendentalphilosophie (1954), pp. 129ff.

10. Marlet, op. cit., p. 131. He refers to Calvin in support of his position. He says that Calvin stresses exclusively the Allein-wirksamkeit of God, so that both in the individual and the areas of life — all bound immediately to Him — all independence is denied; and Marlet sees this as meaning that secondary causes are completely absorbed in the original causality of God. Cf. his reference to J. L. Witte, Het Probleem Individugemeenschap in Calvijns Geloofsnorm (1949). Witte views Calvin as stressing transcendence at the cost of immanence. It would seem that there is some conflict between exclusive divine transcendence on the one hand, and a unique and complete divine activity in every creaturelv act on the other — but Marlet uses both as characteristic of Calvinism. His expression "Allein-wirksamkeit" is unsatisfactory, since Calvin's protest against man's independence is a protest against man's supposed autonomy, and has nothing to do with a depreciation of the meaning and worth of creaturely activity. And thus Marlet's reference in this connection to the difference between Dooyeweerd and Stoker hardly indicates a flaw in the "structure" of Calvinism!

11. The discussion following is based on the Institutes, II, II. The introductory mention of the loss of free will is from the heading of II, II. For the Latin fathers, ibid., 4, 9. For the Greek fathers, ibid., 4; the word Calvin sees used by them is autexousion. Niesel refers to Clement, Origen. Chrysostom (cf. Calvin's remarks) and to Gregory Nazianzus, Op. Sel. IV, 246. For Calvin's stress on will rather than compulsion, see II, II, 7, 8.

12. On this point see also the Canons of Dordt, III, IV, Rejection of Errors. Here freedom of the will is rejected, and the elevation of the powers of the free will (III. IV, III), with a reference to the guile fullness of the heart. Cf. the Con fessio Scotiana, art. 2, on the original libertas arbitrii (Muller, Die Bekenntnisschriften der Reformierten Kirche, p. 250); Confessio Helvetica Posterior, art. IX, the will has been made enslaved. "voluntas vero ex libera facta est voluntas sewa" (ibid., p. 179); cf. the further remark "servit peccato non nolens, sed volens. Etenin voluntas, non noluntas dicitur" (ibid.)

13. When Calvin distinguishes between necessity and compulsion (necessitas and coactio), necessity refers to a necessitas arising from the corruption of human nature. Cf. J. Bohatec, "Calvins Vorsehungslehre," in his Calvinstudien (1909), p. 365. For the distinction, see Institutes, II. III, 5. Calvin there says the will is deprived of its freedom and necessarily follows evil (with citations of Augustine and Bernard). Man sins with his will and not against his will; through inclination, not compulsion; through desire, not through external compulsion.

14. The point can be sharpened by saying that we are not dealing with determinism, but with the accusation of Jeremiah: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23). Cf. Aalders, Commentaar, ad loc. He says that this text is often cited in connection with the corruptness of human nature, but wrongly, since it deals with a hardening of the heart through continual living in sin. But this does not rule Out the fact that the impossible is here spoken of in connection with an existing situation in which man moves and in which he is powerless.

15. In my Divine Election (1955). p. 327. I noted Otto Ritschl's idea that some Calvinists when they took up man before the fall suddenly returned to an "indeterministic" outlook, and accepted free will. This is a typical misunderstanding; if Ritschl had been logical, he should then have been amazed at the "illogicality" of the Calvinists when they went on to speak of Christian freedom! Determinism has no room, either protologically or eschatologically, for freedom. Ritschl's astonishment thus does not correspond to the actual situation among Calvinist theologians, who evidently were completely aware of historical and eschatological perspectives on the problem.

16. In spite of the Catholic emphasis on "physical freedom," evidences of this relational nature of freedom break through again and again even in Catholic theologians; cf., e.g., "what freedom ultimately means . . . really becomes actualized before God." R. Guardini, Freiheit, Gnade, Schicksab. Drei Kapitel zur Deutung des Daseins (1949), p. 99.

17. Cf. R. Bultmann, "Gnade und, Freiheit," Gbauben und Verstehen, II (1952). p. 161. He says "thus our dependence on the grace of God, our surrender to it — far from limiting our freedom! — precisely makes us in the true sense free" — this is, he says, a genuine summary of the freedom of the New Testament. Cf. K. Barth, K. D., IV, II, 855. He opposes the idea of competition. The denial of such competition has nothing to do with a reciprocal dependence or with one or another form of correlationism. Competition is something other than radical dependence, to which the New Testament time and again refers in connection with fatherhood, freedom and love. See I John 4:10 on divine and human love, and on which is prior. Cf. on this point Barth, K. D. IV, II, 855, on the ground of love; this ground is also the ground of freedom, and thus any dialectic of competition is excluded.

18. In this connection we might well reflect on Jer. 10:23: "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." The remarkable thing about these words (a prayer) is that they are spoken without the slightest consciousness of any violation of freedom; rather only with a sense of standing before the divine countenance. If we read "determinism" into this text, we do not understand it at all; read the passionate context and the unique view of the God of Israel. Cf. the language of Prov. 16:9.

19. Jean Daniélou, "La jalousie de Dieu," Dieu Vivant, XVI, 53ff. In a fine article on this subject, he refers to Elijah as a great representative of the jealousy of God (p. 68) and refers also to Ps. 69:10 in connection with the zeal of Christ in the purification of the temple (John 2:17). Cf. also Hosea as regards jealousy and adultery (Hos. 2:5, 8, 12). It is understandable that when the Image of married love is used, the thought of God's jealousy comes to the fore.

20. This is not to say that there is no legitimate jealousy possible among men. Thus, as Daniélou (op. cit., p. 63) points out, we read that Paul watches "with a godly jealousy" over the Corinthians, for "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (II Cor. 11:1-2). We see here, in Paul's concern, essentially the same sort of jealousy over the children of God. And indeed not all ordinary jealousy among men is illegitimate if only it arises from respect for unique relations, as in marriage, though even this legitimate jealousy can become perverted and distorted because of man's sinful heart.

21. Herman Ridderbos, Arcana revelata, pp. 102-103. He correctly warns against speaking of a dialectic between freedom and law, We must accept what is said on these two "in complete seriousness, but without attempting to discover in these apparent oppositions a dialectic which attempts to approximate the truth by way of clashing statements."

22. H. Schlier, in Kittel, Theologisches Wdrterbuch, s.v., eleutheros, p. 492.

23. Schlier as cited in the footnote above. Cf. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 1. It says we are no longer our own, but Christ's. And thus also man finds his own life back in being willing and ready to obey.

24. Bultmann, Theologie des N. T. (1948). p. 328. The context shows his insistence that freedom in Christ is not a freeing from all norms, but is a new serving (Rom. 7:6). "A paradoxical servitude! For the servant of Christ is of course at the same time one who is the Lord's freeman" (I Cor. 7:22). Cf. the "serving one another by love" (Gal. 5:13).

25. H. Jonas. Augustin und das Paulinische Freiheitsproblem (1930), p. 11.

26. H. Schlier, in Kittel, Theologisches Wörterbuch, II. 489. and in his Der Brief an die Galater (1949). p. 175, referring to I Thess. 4:7. "a call to stand in and by freedom."

27. Cf. H. N. Ridderbos, "Vrijheid en Wet volgens Paulus' Brief aan de Galaten," Arcana Revelata (1951), pp. 100ff., on the threat to freedom and on freedom as a gift and its steadfast certainty and the responsibility implied therein (p. 101).

28. See my Geloof en Rechtvaardiging (1949); E.T., Faith and Justification (1954), pp. 130ff.

29. Dibelius, Der Brief des Jakobus (1956, 8th ed.), p. 112. He sees here an evidence that Paul did not influence all the Streams of original Christianity, and that there were churches which did not view salvation as resting exclusively on faith (as did Paul) nor reject all reliance on works. Dibelius warns against identifying James's "law of freedom" with Paul's "law of the Spirit of life" (Rom. 8:2) and standing "under the law of Christ" (I Cor. 9:21) . But he is forced to acknowledge — which his thesis forbids him to do — that Paul "occasionally" follows the usage of these churches and speaks of a possible fulfilling of the law (Gal. 6:2; 5:14, 23). The unsatisfactory nature of Dibelius' thesis thus becomes evident. Cf. also H. Schammberger, Die Einheitlichkeit des Jakobusbriefes im antignostischen Kampf (1936), p. 63. He contrasts Paul (freedom) with James (law of freedom); he sees the latter as on the way towards future Catholicism, towards moralistic teachings, etc. He finds the best parallel (p. 64) in Barn. 2:6; he finds a Judaistic legalizing tendency reappearing strongly in James. This is a misunderstanding of the whole context in which James speaks about the law.

30. See Schlier, op. cit., p. 176: "the real and right completion of freedom is found in the mutual service of love," Cf. Paul's ‘I have made myself servant to all' (I Cor. 9:19); cf. also Gal. 5:13. I Pet. 4:10-11.

31. The "warning request" (Gal. 6:17), which arises from Paul's being a servant of the one Lord, which materializes itself in the stigmata, the need in the apostolic service, in the following of Christ (see Schlier, op. cit., P. 210).

32. H. Schlier, "Das vollkommene Gesetz der Freiheit," Die Zeit der Kirche (1956), p. 195.

33. Note the Connection between glory and freedom (Luther: "herrliche Freiheit"); see O. Michel, Der Brief an die Römer (1955), p. 174.

34. E. Stauffer, Die Theologie des Neuen Testaments (1941), p. 46. See Job 39:5; "Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass?"

35. Cf. N. Berdyaev, Vrijheid en Geest, pp. 155ff .

36. Bavinck, op. cit., II, 529; II, 44.

37. Bavinck, op. cit., II, 534-535. It is striking, in this context, that Bavinck speaks of the posse stare and posse non errare, peccare, mori and then says of the possibility of sinning and dying that it "forms no part, no piece, no content of the image of God, but was its boundary, the limit, the circumference." He refers to Wendelinus (as cited by Heppe, Dogmatik, p. 181) who said that before the fall the ability not to sin (posse non peccare) did belong, but the ability to sin did not belong, to the image of God. We can see here a wrestling with the concept of freedom similar to Bavinck's. The complete image of God was to be fully revealed in the ability not to sin. The image was to be completed, and the possibility of sinning and dying conquered and annihilated.

38. The impossibility of a rational synthesis between true freedom and formal freedom can be seen in K. Rahner, who attempts to clarify the problem through the idea of the "sphere" of freedom. "An unqualified withdrawal of the possibility of a factual and morally wrong choice would have been equivalent to the abolishment of the sphere of freedom" (K. Rahner, "Würde und Freiheit des Menschen," Schriften zur Theologie, II (1955), 261-262). The eschatological freedom of the beati is, he says. no evidence against this argument: "they have completely achieved their freedom" — an answer which does little to solve the problem of the hypothecated "sphere" of freedom to choose evil! Nor does his statement that a compulsory abolition of moral evil in this world is Utopian. There is a noteworthy parallel between the outlook of Rahner on the sphere of freedom and that of A. Kuyper. who in connection with this sphere wrote that "God cannot hinder the rational creature from rejecting in his heart or in his deed the good and choosing evil. That must be left free" (E Voto, I, 65). Cf. also K. Schilder, Heidelbergse Catechismus, 1, 324. He says our freedom is "hedged about, but not determined." Concerning what Adam could do, he says "for that was his freedom." We should consider, as over against this, the "free" eating of all the trees in the garden (Gen. 2:16).

39. E. Brunner, Den Mensch in Widerspruch, pp. 267, 269. In this connection, the views of H. Heidegger, writing in 1700, are striking (Corpus theologiae Christianae, Loci VI, XCVIII, p. 227). He says that liberty or freedom of the will is not the ability to sin or not to sin, and says of it "id occupandum ante omnia est," for "sic enim nec Deo, nec coelitibus immutabiliter bonis competeret," citing Rom. 6:20 ("when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness") and John 8:36. His meaning is clear from his approving citation of Seneca: "Deo parere vera libertas est." Cf. his opposition to the idea of Adam being created indifferent to good and evil (p. 228) ; such indifference is "imperfectio, vitium, prima peccati origo et defectio a Deo. Liber, non indifferens, a Deo creatus est."

40. J. Muller, Die Chr. Lehre von der Siinde, II, (3d ed., lM9). The page references in the material which follows are: 6ff., 13. 15, 17-18, 20-21, 36. See also for the distinction between real and formal freedom, J. M. Hasselaar, Erfzonde en Vrijheid (1953), p. 82, and Karl Barth, Kirchliche Dogmatik, III, 3, 355.

41. Muller, op. cit., II, 97-108. He speaks of an "original self-decision" which we can point to only by going beyond the realm of time and seeking the origin of our freedom of the will in the extra-temporal, in a fatal decision that precedes all our temporal sinful decisions. The primary decision falls in "a self-decision lying beyond the sphere of' earthly life." The reference to "intelligible" freedom reveals the antinomy in Muller's concept of freedom by first placing formal freedom next to true freedom. Muller cites Philo, Plotinus and Origen as supporting his outlook. The development of theology followed other ways, and only recently could reflection on the concept of freedom lead to a new understanding of this idea (p. 108).

42. E. Brunner, Das Gebot and Den Mensch im Widerspruch. The page citations for the material which follows are: Das Gebot, 65, 472, and Widerspruch, 259-272. Cf. also Dogmatik, II. 142.

43. Bavinck, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek, III. 2, 27, 44-48, 53.

44. We could more rightly say that the "inducement" to temptation lay in man's innocence. Cf. D. Bonhoeffer, Verzoeking (1953), p. 17.

45. Bavinck, op. cit., II, 417. is noteworthy that he mentions the distinction between men and angels (as spirits). One could conclude that the "possibility" of the fall of the angels becomes all the more impenetrable to the understanding, since in them the "inducement" to sin because of flesh would be wholly absent, they being spirits. Bavinck does not refer to the problem of "possibility" in regard to the angels at all.

46. Grosheide, Commentaar, p. 543. He refers to "man," from which it appears "earthy" does not refer merely to the body. Cf. Kittel, Theologisches Wörterbuch, VI, 417, s.v., pneuma.

47. See K. Schilder, Wat is de Hemel? (1935), p. 125.

48. Bavinck, op. cit., III, 29.

49. See Heidegger, Corpus theologiae, p. 228.

50. Bavinck, op. cit., III, 2. See also Th. L. Haitjema, Dogmatiek als Apologie (1948), p. 192. He writes about man as "indeed created in the image of God, but nevertheless an earthy and material being" who presented Satan with "a suitable opportunity for temptation." The problem lies in the words "but" and "suitable opportunity," though Haitjema calls sin "the mystery of the evil will, the great riddle." Cf. Schilder, Heidelbergse Catechismus, I, 325-326. He speaks also of the "possibility of temptation" — which is something else again — which God held before man, and of the "possibility" of abandonment. Cf. H. Vogel, Gott in Christo (1952), p. 469. He warns against the danger of trying to understand the possibility of sin because of the posse peccare.

51. See Chaps. III and IX of my The Triumph of Grace in the Theology of Karl Barth.

52. Besides Bavinck, see also, e.g., Schilder, op. cit., I, 324.

53. P. Humbert, Etudes sur le récit du paradis et de la chute dans la Genèse. (1940), p. 108.

54. M. Noth, Gesammelte Aufsütze zum Alten Testament (1957), p. 160; cf. pp. 168-169. Cf. also W. H. Gispen. Leviticus, p. 370, on the similar situation in Lev. 16.

55. See D. Bonhoeffer, Ethik (1949). p. 196: "freedom has open eyes."

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