Jonathan Edwards on Will and the Problem of Author of First Sin

Kiven Choy


Deerfield, Illinois

Term Paper


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Jonathan Edwards perceives that the notion of the self-determining power of the will is detrimental to the Reformed and Calvinist belief.  He attacks "Arminian" notion of freewill and establishes his own theory in his magnum opus, Freedom of the Will.[1]  He calls himself a Calvinist, but he emphasizes, "I utterly disclaim a dependent on Calvin."[2]  His argument is impressive.  But there are some major problems in his theory.  We shall show the fallacy of his theory by discussing: (1) how his view actually makes God the efficient cause of the first sin, (2) the problems in his definition of the terms, and (3) how he deviates from Calvin.




Clyde A. Holbrook comments, "The sequence of events in Adam's fall leaves Edwards mired in a difficulty from which he never successfully freed himself."[3]  Jonathan Edwards' theory of free will actually makes God as the author of first sin, the efficient cause. 


Edwards believes that "our first parents were created in a state of moral rectitude and holiness."[4]  In defending the doctrine of original sin, Edwards affirms the righteous state of Adam before the fall:

This history [Genesis] leads us to suppose, Adam's sin, with relation to the forbidden fruit, was the first sin he committed.  Which could not have been, had he not always, till then, been perfectly righteous, righteous from first moment of his existence; and consequently, created or brought into existence righteous.  In a moral agent, subject to moral obligations, it is the same thing, to be perfectly innocent, as to be perfectly righteous.[5]


He emphasizes that "he must have an inclination or disposition of heart to do right the first moment of his existence."[6] Thus, Adam was originally created with a righteous inclination.  Edwards also says, "When God made man at first, he implanted in him two kinds of principles."[7]  They were the "natural" principles (inferior kind) and the "supernatural" principles (divine and superior nature).  The natural principles were the principles of self-love and natural appetites.  The supernatural principles "consisted the spiritual image of God, and man's righteousness and true holiness."[8]  Before the fall, the supernatural principles reigned and maintained a righteous inclination in man.  Then Edwards just states, "When man sinned, and broke God's Covenant, and fell under his curse, these superior principles left his heart: for indeed God then left him."[9]  After the fall, "the inferior principles of self-love and natural appetite, which were given only to serve, being alone, and left to themselves, of course became reigning principles; having no superior principles to regulate or control them, they became absolute masters of the heart."[10]  Edwards also denies that the first sin comes from contingence: "that the first evil volition should arise by perfect accident, without any cause, it would relieve no difficulty, about God's laying the blame of it to man."[11]  However, as Edwards believes that every effect must have a cause and denies the self-determination of will by man, how can man change from a righteous state to a state that wills to disobey God? Who is the efficient cause for the first sinful volition? Holbrook points out,

If he were righteous initially, the starting up of sin for the first time in Adam was correspondingly more difficult to account for.  Hence, Edwards had to show just how it was possible for a perfectly virtuous being to slide off into rebellion against his Maker.[12]


Edwards has to answer why the righteous (or innocent) man would will the first sinful volition.  Before God removed the supernatural principles from man, man did not have any moral necessity and inclination to sin!

When discussing "Concerning sin's first entrance into the world," Edwards proposes that the first sin arose because of the imperfection of the creation:

It was meet, if sin did come into existence, and appear in the world, it should arise from the imperfection which properly belongs to a creature, as such, and should appear so to do, that it might appear not to be from God as the efficient or fountain. [13]


In his last sermons, Edwards says,

Adam, the first surety of mankind, failed in his work, because he was a mere creature, and so a mutable being.  Though he had so great a trust committed to him, as the care of the eternal welfare of all his posterity, yet, not being unchangeable, he failed, and transgressed God's holy covenant.  He was led aside, and drawn away by the subtle adversary found means to turn him aside, and so he fell, and all his posterity fell with him.[14]


Edwards claims that Adam was deceived because he was "a mere creature."  Adam was only an "imperfect" creature.  It is certainly contrary to the biblical affirmation that God saw all that he had made were very good and contrary to Edwards' claim of the initial righteous state of man.  Holbrook criticises,

      He could not consistently hold that there was no cause for the fall, though it happened only once and therefore was a unique event.  He did allow that sin's coming into existence might be explained "from the imperfection which properly belongs to a creature as such," but this was a damaging concession, inasmuch as imperfections in the creature as created would redound only to the discredit of the Creator. [Emphasis mine.][15]


Holbrook concludes, "But in spite of all his tortured moves, Edwards had not satisfactorily answered how it was possible for an innocent being first of all to fall into disobedience."  Even if it were as Edwards had said, God would be extremely cruel to exercise the horrible punishment on his creatures.  Because He had created them imperfectly.  To defend his case, Edwards differentiates between sufficient grace and efficacious grace:

And this must be what is meant when we say that God gave our first parent sufficient grace though he withheld an efficacious grace or a grace that should certainly uphold him in all temptations he could meet with.[16]


But Edwards' definition was challenged by Gerstner,

Edwards has a distinction here without a difference.  He distinguishes between sufficient and efficacious or confirming grace but there is no difference to his own psychology.  If the grace is truly sufficient it must be efficacious; if it is not efficacious it is not sufficient.  How can that grace which Adam had before his fall be sufficient conditionally? According to Edwards it was sufficient if the natural abilities were used; but it was not sufficient in itself at all.  In other words it was not actually sufficient but conditionally or hypothetically sufficient; a very different thing.[17]


The sufficient grace is not sufficient at all!  In Gerstner's word, Edwards' explanation implies, "Man being mutable he must change unless God prevents him.  Unless God prevents him he will change into a sinful person."  Facing the charge, Edwards claims,

But if by the author of sin, is meant the permitter, or not a hinderer of sin; and at the same time, a disposer of the state of events, in such a manner, for wise, holy and most excellent ends and purposes, that sin, if it be permitted or not hindered, will most certainly and infallibly follow: I say  I don't deny that God is the author of sin, (though I dislike and reject the phrase, as that which by use and custom is apt to carry another sense) it is no reproach for the most High to be thus the author of sin.


Edwards accepts that God permits sin to occur but He is not the efficient cause.  He denies that "any such thing to be the consequence of what I have laid down," but his logic cannot allow to stop here.  Holbrook comments, "It was all very well for Edwards to pitch his argument on the principle of permissiveness by God, but he had still unsettled the crucial issue of God's responsibility for sin."  Edwards' distinction between permissiveness and efficient causation was also seriously attacked by James Dana.  Holbrook summarises his view:

      He found Edwards insisting that God allows sin, yet also asserting God to be the determiner and orderer of the world in all parts.  The latter must be positive rather than negative or privative action and must have relevance to sin's occurrence.  If the efficient cause of sin be man himself, then, according to Dana, men do have the power of self-determination, a conclusion which would effectively undermine the entire argument of Edwards.  On the other hand, if Edwards held consistently to his doctrine of divine sovereignty, he should also have admitted that God's "positive energy and action" introduced sin into the world, a verdict so offensive that "the moral perfections and government of God and revealed religion must be disbelieved."


Then Holbrook continues,


Dana triumphantly concluded, "whoever would defend his book must either shew, that the leading principles of it do not suppose the deity to be the efficient [cause] of moral evil; or else that such a supposition is no reproach to his character and government."


By denying self-determining power of human being, assuming the necessity of consequence, and affirming the absolute certainty of God's foreknowledge, Jonathan Edwards actually makes God the author of first sin.  His argument implies that God was not only a permitter, but also the efficient cause for first sinful volition.  Storms, an Edwards' admirer, also admits,

The point, then, is this: since Adam's fall preceded and resulted in the withdrawal by God of the superior principle in his soul, thereby assuring only that Adam would persist in sin but not explaining the cause of its initial appearance, and since Edwards has previously dismissed the suggestion that Adam's first act of volitional rebellion was self-determined or spontaneous, why did, or rather, how could Adam sin?


And this is why Dana despises Edwards' doctrine:


On the whole, his doctrine, while it acquits the creature from all blame, impeacheth the Creator as the positive cause and source of the revolt of angels and mankind, and ultimately fixeth all the criminality in the universe on him.  How infinitely reproachful must that scheme of doctrine be, which involveth so horrid and blasphemous an imputation on the supream [sic] creator and governor of the universe.


Hence we conclude that Edwards' theory is invalid because it make God the efficient cause of first sin. It is certainly inconsistent with biblical teaching.




To understand Edwards' terminology is the key to evaluate his doctrine of freewill.  His argument is mainly based on how he defines the terms. 

Edwards modifies Locke's view and defines "will" as "that by which the mind chooses any thing."  He says, "An act of the will is the same as an act of choosing or choice."  "A man never, in any instance, wills any thing contrary to his desires, or desires any thing contrary to his will."  Edwards does not tolerate the difference between desire and will.  Even in biblical language, Paul uses them differently, in Rom. 7:18-19, "I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do."(NRSV) Hence, by definition, Edwards excludes the possibility of the use of desire or preference that can be contrary to the will.  As Locke says,

Whether man's will be free or no? For, if I mistake not, it follows, from what I have said, that the question itself is altogether improper; . . . and when any one well considers it, I think he will as plainly perceive, that liberty, which is but a power, belongs to agents, and cannot be an attribute or modification of the will, which is also but a power. . . .

It is plain then that the will is nothing but one power or ability, and freedom another power or ability: so that to ask whether the will has freedom, is to ask whether one power has another power, one ability another ability?


By this kind of definition, it is absurd to discuss whether the will is free.  Edwards' "will" is only a faculty of an agent, naturally we cannot call it self-determining.  Strauss comments, "Will is not an autonomous category of man for Edwards, as it is in the Arminian theory of 'freedom of the will.'"  Conrad Wright points out, "The real question is not whether the will is free, but whether the man is free."  

Then Edwards defines "motive": "By motive, I mean the whole of that which moves, excites or invites the mind to volition, whether that be one thing singly, or many things conjunctly."  Edwards also defines "the strongest motive": "That which appears most inviting, and has, by what appears concerning it to the understanding or apprehension, the greatest degree of previous tendency to excite and induce the choice, is what I call the strongest motive."  Jeanes, a defender of Edwards, admits,

      But even here we must admit that we have no standard by which to determine the relative of motives other than their actual effect.  To say that the will is determined by the 'strongest motive' only means that it is not self-determined.


Once again, by definition, Edwards makes the will as the necessary consequences of its antecedent causes.  Edwards also says that "the will is as the greatest apparent good is."  And then he concludes that "the will always follows the last dictate of the understanding."  "But then the understanding must be taken in a large sense, as including the whole faculty of perception or apprehension, and not merely what is called reason or judgment."  He then defines how the greatest apparent good arises:

Although that dictate of reason, when it takes place, is one thing that is put into the scales, and is to be considered as a thing that has concern in the compound influence which moves and induces the will; and is one thing that is to be considered in estimating the degree of that appearance of good which the will always follows; either as having its influence added to other things, or subducted from them.  When it concurs with other things, then its weight is added to them, it is as a weight in the opposite scale, where it resists the influence of other things; yet its resistance is often overcome by their greater weight, and so the act of the will is determined in opposition to it.


Once again, Edwards assumes that the greatest apparent good is caused by a mathematical mechanism.  He excludes any self-determination by the agent in the process of reasoning.  The internal and external factors determine the choose.  There is no judgment role of the agent.  The factors decides the will, not the agent.  Ramsey agrees with Edwards here,

In defining freedom and analyzing the nature of an act of volition, questions about what goes before an act of willing should not be raised.  By placing brackets around all such questions and removing them from consideration, we can be sure of sticking close to the actual experience of freedom and not to be tempted to import into the discussion notions of freedom and not be tempted to import into discussion notions of freedom that are the product of confused metaphysical speculation.


However by using the bracket, Edwards does not discuss the freedom of the will but only defines "will" as a faculty that will not be free!

Edwards goes on to define "necessary" as:

Things are said to be necessary in general; which are or will be notwithstanding any supposable opposition from us or others, or from whatever quarter.  But things are said to be necessary to us, which are or will be notwithstanding all opposition supposable in the case from us.


Edwards means that when something is necessary to us, it will occur no matter what we do to oppose it.  He then affirms that "philosophical necessity is really nothing else than the full and fixed connection between the things signified by the subject and predicate of a proposition."  Paving his discussion of foreknowledge, he claims that "the only way that anything that is come to pass hereafter, is or can be necessary, is by a connection with something that is necessary in its own nature, or something that already is, or has been."  It paves to connect all wills with God's foreknowledge.  Then he defines "contingent" as:

Any thing is said to be contingent, or to come to pass by chance or accident, in the original meaning of such words, when its connection with its causes or antecedents, according to the established course things, is not discerned; and so is what we have no means of the foresight of.


Edwards disconnects all other connections from the term "contingent" by definition.  It would be necessary contradictory in a world totally connected as defined by Edwards.  Edwards goes on to define "moral necessity" as

that necessary of connection and consequence, which arises from such moral causes, as the strength of inclination, or motives, and the connection which is in many cases between these, and such certain volitions and actions.


But as Storms observes, "It is important to understand that when speaking of moral necessity Edwards uses term necessity in a sense different from his previous definition."  Edwards claims that "no such opposition, or contrary will and endeavour, is supposable in the case of moral necessity."  Edwards states that moral necessity "is a certainty of inclination of will itself; which does not admit of the supposition of a will to oppose and resist."  Once again, by definition, Edwards affirms that man can only prefer the inclination of his moral nature.

Finally Edwards defines freedom and liberty as "the power, opportunity, or advantage, that any one has, to do as he please it."  It means: if one can will, one must be free.

Let the person come by his volition or choice how he will, yet, if he is able, and there is nothing in the way to hinder his pursuing, and executing his will, the man is fully and perfectly free, according to the primary notion of freedom.


Kaufman and Frankena accurately point out the main fallacy of Edwards' argument in their introduction:

The utilitarian theory does, however, suggest another defect that Edwards' views exhibit in common with many other theories of moral responsibility.  The general pattern of analysis philosophers have historically favored is the following: first, determine the proper signification of the term "freedom"; then develop the appropriate account of moral responsibility; finally, examine both in an effort to determine whether or not individuals can ever be morally responsible, and if so under what conditions.  But it may be argued that this reverses the proper order of inquiry.  For it may be that we should select the sense of "freedom" that is appropriate to a given moral philosophy.


Edward uses his definitions of "will," "freedom," and other terms to support his theory and disproves "Arminian" freewill.  For example, when Edwards discusses the notion of self-determining power in the will, he says, "If the will determines the will, then choice orders and determines the choice."  Then he uses an infinite regress to show that it is a contradiction.  In this case, Storms remarks,

It should be evident that Edwards has accommodated himself to the language of his opponents, for strictly speaking it is improper to ascribe an action to a power of an agent since it is the agent who acts by means of a power.


Norman Geisler comments, "Edwards' failure to see the foregoing distinction led him to the fallacious conclusion that self-determination is a contradiction in terms."  Edwards is using his own definition of will to interpret the views of the others who use different terminology.  Thus we conclude that Edwards' argument is fallible because he makes up his arguments by defining the terms in his own way and treats the opposition's view unfairly.




Edwards' mechanical view of God's sovereignty is not shared by all Calvinists.  Especially he deviates from Calvin in many essential aspects.  Calvin himself teaches that Adam, before the fall, has freedom of choices.  He says,

In this integrity man by free will had the power, if he so willed, to attain eternal life.  Here it would be out of place to raise the question of God's secret predestination because our present subject is not what can happen or not, but what man's nature was like.  Therefore Adam could have stood if he wished, seeing that he fell solely by his own will.  But it was because his will was capable of being bent to one side or the other, and was not given the constancy to persevere, that he fell so easily.  Yet his choice of good and evil was free, and not that alone, but the highest rectitude was in his mind and will, and all the organic parts were rightly composed to obedience, until in destroying himself he corrupted his own blessings.


Calvin not only says that Adam can will good or evil.  He affirms that Adam can turn to "one side or the other."  He emphasizes that Adam was created in a very good state.  Contrary to Edwards, he warns us not to confuse the freewill of Adam with God's secret predestination.  Calvin also does not agree that there is an constant inclination in Adam.  He rather emphasizes that only if God provides Adam a grace of constancy, can Adam have the constancy to persevere in choosing good.  Calvin also emphasizes:

The first man had not that grace by which he could never wish to be bad; for the help given him was of that nature that he might abandon it when he would, and remain in it if he would, but it was not such as to make him willing.


Calvin stresses that man is always dependent on God, but the freedom of choice is with Adam.  Adam is self-determined in certain sense.  He willed the fall by his own freedom of choice.  Calvin upholds both freedom of man and predestination in Adam:

As to the first man, we must hold he was perfectly righteous and fell by his own will; and hence it comes about that by his own fault he brought destruction on himself and on all his race.  Adam fell, though not without God's knowledge and ordination, and destroyed himself and his posterity;


After the fall, Calvin explains, in commenting James 3:9, "Righteousness and rectitude, and the freedom of choosing what is good, have been lost; but many excellent endowments, by which we excel the brutes, still remain."  Quoting Augustine, Calvin also says, "Again, the free will has been so enslaved that it can have no power for righteousness."  "The will is indeed free but not freed: free of righteousness but enslaved to sin!"  Then Calvin confesses, "I prefer not to use it myself, and should like others, if they seek my advice, to avoid it."  He believes that the teaching of freewill of sinful man may usurp God's honor.  But Calvin never teaches a moral necessity which has no opposition nor contrary will as Edwards teaches.  He emphasizes,

Since reason, therefore, by which man distinguishes between good and evil, and by which he understands and judges, is a natural gift, it could not be completely wiped out; but it was partly weakened and partly corrupted, so that its misshapen ruins appear. . . . in man's perverted and degenerate nature some sparks still gleam. . . .

Similarly the will, because it is inseparable from man's nature, did not perish, but was so bound to wicked desires that it cannot strive after the right.


Calvin also warns those who may misunderstand the view of depravity of man:

When we so condemn human understanding for its perpetual blindness as to leave it no perception of any object whatever, we not only go against God's Word, but also run counter to the experience of man.


Calvin also emphasizes the function of the conscience:

For it is a certain mean between God and man, because it does not allow man to suppress within himself what he knows, but pursues him to the point of convicting him.  This is what Paul understands when he teaches that conscience also testifies to men, where their thought either accuses or excuses them in God's judgment [Rom. 2:15-16].


Even though he teaches God's foreknowledge and predestination, he never teaches a moral necessity of no opposition.  All human being has conscience and natural law, which is given by God to render us inexcusable.  We do not sin out of ignorance.  All men have certain kind of freewill to choose good or evil (especially in adiaphorous areas).  But the sinful human being is so bounded by his own sinful nature, he is not free to choose good, but voluntarily chooses evil against the witness of conscience.  J. K. S. Reid also states:

Summarising, we may say that in Calvin's view the voluntary character of sin is the ratio essendi of man's culpability, while the sense of sin or conscience is its perpetual and unavoidable ratio cognoscendi.


On one hand Calvin affirms that the real cause is within man: "Since a man may find the cause of his evil within himself, what is the use of looking round to seek it in heaven?"  The proximate cause for man to sin is within man.  On the other hand, Calvin emphasizes, "If anyone should judge the matter by human standards, the cause will be looked for in men themselves.  But God does not allow us to stop there."  We cannot claim credit that we co-operate with God to accept the salvation.   

Calvin upholds absolute sovereignty of God, but he also believes man has certain kind of contingency, which Reid calls "natural contingency."      Reid summarises,

Calvin is willing to conceive of two forms of necessity.  It is true, he says, that God freely decrees necessarily happens.  But this is quite different from natural necessity, which is embedded in things in themselves; and at the same time, it is quite compatible with what we must call natural contingency. . . . As for the second point to be made, Calvin declares that the future is hidden from us, and we must at the same time trust the providence of God and also conduct our lives in view of the contingency of unknown things.


Then Reid emphasizes the existence of both:


We have therefore to conceive of two orders of necessity.  There is the supernatural order which belongs to the divine ordination of all things.  But besides this, there is the natural order, which may also in certain aspects be called an order of contingency.  It is within this natural order that proximate causes have their place, and it is here in the case of man that the idea of culpability applies.  That God is indeed the remote cause of all things as little removes culpability from the human agent as it destroys the reality of the natural order of necessity.


Linda Zagzebski point out that "Jonathan Edwards is an example of a philosopher who confuses necessary and inalterability."  He misunderstood the relationship between the human will and God's foreordination. 

Wright comments Edwards that "Edwards abandoned the Covenant theology for a more rigorous and higher-toned Calvinism; but does not mean that all New England followed him."  If Edwards could learn more from the Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter 5:2), he might reconsider his notion of freewill. 

Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.



                                     V.  CONCLUSION


Even though I disagree with Jonathan on his treatment of freewill, I wholeheartedly agree that "he was a God-intoxicated man who believed himself to be settling the great issue of personal salvation, of heaven and of hell."  Norman Fiering observes, "Edwards was fighting a battle on two fronts: one against intellectualism, which led so easily to moralism and to human pride, and the other against Molinist notions of an autonomous will, which made nonsense of Calvinist doctrine."  His courage should be applauded.  His zeal for God's glory should be commended.

But as Storms points out, "Edwards's concept of the will is a function of his doctrine of original sin."  By completely denying the self-determination of human agent, Edwards' argument actually makes God the efficient cause of the first sin.  He committed an unacceptable fault which ruined his whole argument.  His argument is also mainly based on how he defines the term.  Unfortunately he did not learn enough from Calvin and deviated from the Westminster Confession.  His theory cannot be accepted.

How the foreordination and the causal contingency of human will can be compatible is surely beyond human wisdom.  Let us admit our ignorance and remember, "Who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God?"


        [1]The term "Arminian" is used very loosely by Edwards.  He asks his readers to excuse him: "I must ask the excuse of such as are apt to be offended with things of this nature, that I have so freely used the term in the following discourse." Jonathan Edwards, Freedom of the Will, edited, with an introduction, by Arnold S. Kaufman and William K. Frankena (New York: Irvington Pub., 1982), 1.  In this paper, all quotations of this work are from this book.  The short form, Freedom, will be used.


        [3]Jonathan Edwards, Original Sin, ed. Clyde A. Holbrook (New Haven: Yale University, 1970), 51.

        [4]Edwards, Original Sin, 228. 


[5] Edwards, Original Sin, 228. 


[6] Ibid., 229.

[7] Ibid., 381.


[8] Ibid., 382.

[9] Ibid., 248-9.


[10] Ibid., 49.


[11] Edwards, Freedom, 248.


[12] Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. Edward Hickman (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), II:951, quoted in John H. Gerstner, The Rational Biblical theology of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2 (Powhatan, Va.: Berea Pub., 1992), 315.


[13] Edwards, Original Sin, 51.


[14] Jonathan Edwards, M 436, quoted in Gerstner,  Edwards, vol. 2, 304.


[15] Clyde A. Holbrook, The Ethics of Jonathan Edwards (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1973), 52.





[17] Gerstner, Edwards, 306.


Edwards, Freedom, 237.

Edwards, Original Sin, 61.

Ibid., 62, cf. James Dana, The "Examination of the Late Rev'd President Edwards' Enquiry on Freedom of Will" Continued (New Haven, 1773), 59-60, 63, 65.

Ibid.  Cf. Dana, Examination Continued, 141.

C. Samuel Storms, "Jonathan Edwards on the Freedom of the Will," Trinity Journal 3 (1982): 168.

Dana, Examination Continued, 68, quoted in Storms, "Edwards," 168.

Edwards, Freedom, 4.

Ibid., 7.

John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 37th ed. (London: William Tegg., 1870?), 169.

James D. Strauss, "A Puritan in a Post-Puritan World--Jonathan Edwards," in Grace Unlimited, ed. Clark Pinnock (Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany Fellowship, 1975), 249.

Conrad Wright, "Edwards and the Arminians on the Freedom of the Will," Harvard Theological Review, 35 (1942): 245.

Edwards, Freedom, 9.

Ibid., 10.

W. P. Jeanes, "Jonathan Edwards' Conception of Freedom of the Will," Scottish Journal of Theology, 14 (1961): 2.

Edwards, Freedom, 10.

Ibid., 14.


Edwards, Freedom of the Will, ed. Ramsey, 11.

Edwards, Freedom, 16.

Ibid., 19.

Ibid., 23.

Ibid., 24.

Storms, "Edwards," 144.

Edwards, Freedom, 27.

Ibid., 33.

Ibid., xxxvi.

Storms, "Edwards," 148, note 72.

Norman Geisler, "Man's destiny: free or forced?" Christian Scholar's Review 9 (1979), 108.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill and trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), I.15.8.

John Calvin, "Acts of the Council of Trent: with the Antidote," Tracts, vol. 3, trans. Henry Beveridge (Edinburge: T. Constable, 1851), 111-2, quoted in John Feinberg, "Calvin on Freedom," 33.

John Calvin, Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, trans. J. K. S. Reid (London: James Clark, 1961), 121.

John Calvin, Commentaries on The Catholic Epistles, tran. John Owen, in Calvin Commentaries, vol. 22, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 323.

Calvin, Institutes, II.2.8.

Calvin, Institutes, II.2.12.


Calvin, Institutes, III.19.15.

Cf. Calvin, Institutes, II.2.22.

J. K. S. Reid, "Introduction," Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God (London: James Clarke, 1961), 23.

Calvin, Predestination, 122.

Cf. Ibid., 24.

Ibid., 93.

Ibid., 25. 

Linda Zagzebski, "Divine Foreknowledge and Human Free Will," Religious Studies, 21 (1985), 285, note 2, cf. 279-298.  Zagzebski also proposes similar solution to uphold the consistency of both the omniscience of God and human free will.  Following notion of accidental necessity which comes from Ockham, she proposes a definition of "causal contingency."  Her example is: "It could have been the case that Jane does not marry Harry at tn; and furthermore, God does in fact know that she will marry Harry." The definition is: "A proposition p true in a world w is causally contingent in w if and only if there is a possible world w' maximally similar to w relative to p in which p is false." Cf. 287-90.

Wright, "Edwards," 242.

"Westminster Confession of Fatih," in Creeds of the Churches, rev. ed., ed. John H. Leith (Richmond, Va.: John Knox, 1973), 200.

Edwards, Freedom, xxxviii.

Norman Fiering, Jonathan Edwards's Moral Thought and Its British Context (Williamsburg, Va.: University of North Carolina, 1981), 299.

Storms, "Edwards," 141.