On free will and evil.

‘Now those who decide that man is not possessed of free-will, and affirm that he is governed by the unavoidable necessities of fate…are guilty of impiety towards God Himself, making Him out to be the cause and author of human evils.’

‘If then, any are evil, they are evil in accordance with the wants and desires of their minds, and not by necessity. They perish self-destroyed, by their own fault.’For a man is not spoken of as ‘murderer’ but by committing it he receives the derived name of murderer. Evil is not a substance, but by practicing any evil it can be called evil…for a man is evil only in consequences of his actions. For he is said to be evil because he is a doer of evil. It is a persons actions that gives them the title of evil. Men produce the evil and are the authors of them. It is through actions that evil exists. Each man is evil in consequences of what they practice. It all has a beginning.

‘Because there is nothing evil by nature, but it is by use that evil things become such…man was made with free-will, not as if there were already evil in existence, which he had the power of choosing if he so wished, but on account of his capacity of obeying or disobeying God. For this was the meaning of the gift of free will.’

‘For man received power, and enslaved himself, not because he was overpowered by irresistible tendencies of his nature, nor because the capacity with which he was gifted deprived him of what was better for him…I say therefore, that God purposing thus to honor man…has given him the power of being able to do what he wishes, and commends the employment of his power for better things; not that he deprives him again of free will, but wishes to point out the better way. For the power is present with him and he receives the commandment; but God exhorts him to turn his power of choice to better things.’

‘I say that man was made with free will, not as if there were already existing some evil which he had the power of choosing if he wished… but that the power of obeying and disobeying God is the only cause.’

(All quotes from Methodius)

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Posted in Free-Will, Reformed Theology

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