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Predestination & Free Will: Four Views of Divine Sovereignty & Human Freedom Paperback – February 7, 1986

3.8 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Basinger is professor of philosophy and ethics at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York. He is the author of Divine Power in Process Theism (SUNY) and joint author of the books Reason and Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (Oxford) and Religious Diversity: A Philosophical Assessment (Ashgate).

Dr. Basinger is currently dean of curriculum at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Among his published work is the essay "Faith/Reason Typologies: A Constructive Proposal," in Christian Scholar's Review (1997).

Bruce R. Reichenbach (Ph.D. Northwestern University) is a professor of philosophy at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has also been a visiting professor at Juniata College, Daystar University in Kenya and Morija Theological Seminary in Lesotho. He is the author or coauthor of a number books, including Introduction to Critical Thinking, On Behalf of God: A Christian Ethic for Biology (coauthored with V. Elving Anderson) and Evil and a Good God.

Clark Pinnock was Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario. Widely regarded as one of evangelicalism's most stimulating theologians, he produced several widely discussed books, including The Wideness of God's Mercy and (with four other scholars) The Openness of God. He passed away in August, 2010.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press (February 7, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877845670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877845676
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Four theologians - John Feinberg, Norman Geisler, Bruce Reichenbach, and Clark Pinnock - attempt to reconcile divine sovereignty and human freedom. The first two advocate a type of specific sovereignty whereas the latter two advocate a type of general sovereignty. Therefore, Feinberg and Geisler have more in common with each other than the other two who also have more in common among themselves. The differences between Feinberg and Geisler center around defining the nature of God's "determining" the future. Feinberg holds to a type of causal determinism whereas Geisler holds to a type of epistemological determinism. Because Geisler, like Reichenbach and Pinnock, holds to a contra-causal type of human freedom (actually, Geisler calls it "self-determined" or self-caused), he thinks that Feinberg's view of divine determinism makes God solely responsible for evil. Feinberg, on the other hand, thinks that "God cannot guarantee that something will assuredly occur if contra-causal freedom is correct." He thinks that if God "cannot guarantee it, then at best he thinks it will occur but does not know that it will" (pg. 128). For Feinberg, God foreknows because he foreordains and does not, as many Arminians say, foreordain because he foreknows. He feels that Geisler doesn't make his position clear on this crucial issue and part of the reason is that he thinks Geisler confuses God's mental acts with his essence or attributes (e.g., omniscience).
Reichenbach and Pinnock (who consider themselves Arminians) seem to agree on everything except on what God can know. Pinnock agrees in principle with Feinberg that if foreknowledge presupposes that all events are certain, then foreordination must render them certain.
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Format: Paperback
The issue of predestination and free will rests at the base of many theological interpretations of all subjects. To understand God's Word correctly, this is one of the first issues that must be tackled because of other theologies' reliance on this. There is a perceived conflict, but it can be resolved through Scriptural reading and through guiding commentaries such as this one that discusses the meaning of the key Scriptures.

The Bassinger brothers begin with a general discussion of the perceived contradiction regarding our freedom and God's sovereignty. Then each writer proposes their viewpoint in an essay, which is immediately responded to by the other 3 contributors.

The first author, Dr. Feinberg, begins with a moderate Calvinistic viewpoint. He uses much Scripture and presents a good idea that our freedom is not inhibited by God's Sovereignty. God knows what will happen prior and directs His will. Our freedom is limited.

The second author, Dr. Geisler, writes from a different moderate Calvinistic viewpoint. He too uses Scripture profusely, and states that God's work through sovereignty does not affect our freedom, and that they can coexist. This is because God limits His sovereignty to allow free will. His knowledge beforehand of our actions does not affect our freedom to choose.

The third author, Dr. Reichenbach, writes from an Arminian standpoint and uses Scripture profusely as well. He states that the issue of Predestination and Free Will outlined in Scripture is a mystery that cannot yet be known. He states that we are completely free and God is completely sovereign.

The fourth author, Dr Pinnock, writes from an Open Theism standpoint and uses little Scripture in his writing compared to the other writers.
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Format: Paperback
This book is one of the first attempts to commingle opposing views on one of the most acute issues in theology : how an Almighty God can control events and yet leave people 'free' enough to be responsible. Putting full weight on the sovereignity of God is John Feinberg, who proposes that God controls everything with nothing having been left out of His will. In this view, all of Man's actions have been ordained since eternity and nothing escapes His determining.
At the extreme opposite is Clark Pinnock coming in with his now very popular (and strong) thesis that God's project of creation involves bestowing humans with the power of agency and genuine creativity; the future is 'open' and God can be genuinely surprised and disappointed by His creatures. In between Feinberg and Pinnock, we have Norman Geisler proposing a model in which God's desires still cannot be disappointed in spite of the genuinely free - the technical word used throughout is 'contra-causal' - actions of people (in the sense that everything that ever happened and will happen falls within the plan of God) and Bruce Reichenbach defending probably the most popular view around: that God does not get everything He desired because His mode of governance does not consist of controlling every iota in existence, but rather involves delegation. Both uphold exhaustive foreknowledge.
I was impressed with Feinberg's introduction to the various possibilities involved with the word 'can'. Still I felt it wasn't necessary since the whole issue revolves around the fact that whatever we do has been 'fed into' and 'determined' for us since eternity and done so in an unconditional way.
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