Doug Wilson vs Greg Boyd on Freedom

We all know how hard it is to see how sovereignty and freedom are compatible. If there's a God who has all things under his control, how can his creatures have the liberty to make real choices?

Two fascinating, and apparently unrelated, posts on this topic appeared a week ago last Friday - one from Greg Boyd, one of the leading advocates of open theism and endorser of Rob Bell’s new book, and the other from Doug Wilson, the controversial apologist and Federal Vision guru. Here’s Greg Boyd:

“When a Calvinist asserts something like: “God ordains that Satan does evil in such a way that God remains morally holy for ordaining Satan to do evil while Satan becomes morally evil for doing what the all-holy God ordained him to do,” I submit they are asserting something that is beyond counter-intuitive; it is utterly incoherent. For a concept to have meaning it must have some rooting in our experience, at least by analogy. A concept for which there is no analogy in our experience is a vacuous concept. Yet, after decades of asking, I have yet to find anyone who can provide an analogy by which we might give meaning to the concept of an agent being morally responsible for what God ordained them to do.”

When I read that, there were all sorts of things I wanted to say in response - particularly around why on earth we feel we have the right to declare incoherent ideas that scripture clearly teaches, just because we don’t have a suitable analogy (isn’t that the point of “knowledge too wonderful for me to attain”, and “unsearchable are his ways”, and stuff? What if some truths about an infinite God were beyond analogy?) - but as so often, Doug Wilson had a pithier and wittier response, even though he wasn’t responding to Boyd at all:

“When we consider the relationship of the infinite Creator of the finite creature, we do have a problem understanding how true natural liberty can coexist with a sovereign God superintending all events in the universe. But the reconciliation of these two biblical truths is ultimately to be found in the mind of God. It is not a problem that is keeping Him up nights.”

True story.

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