Terminology Tuesday: Free Will

*The ability of an agent to make genuine choices that stem from the self. Libertarians argue that free will includes the power to determine the will itself, so that a person with free will can will more than one thing. Compatibilists typically view free will as the power to act in accordance with one’s own will rather than being constrained by some external cause, allowing that the will itself may ultimately be causally determined by something beyond the self. Hard determinists deny the existence of free will altogether. Most Christian theologians agree that humans possess free will in some sense but disagree about what kind of freedom is necessary. The possession of free will does not entail an ability not to sin, since human freedom is shaped and limited by human character. Thus a human person may be free to choose among possibilities in some situations but still be unable to avoid all sin.

God Bless
Brian Mason

*. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 46-47.

Terminology Tuesday: Nihilism

*The rejection of objective moral values and structures, literally “nothingism.” The nihilist is a skeptic about moral traditions and obligations and does not regard them as binding. A distinction should be made between the attitude of the reluctant or sorrowing nihilist, who finds nihilism terrifying but true, and the celebrative nihilist, who view nihilism as liberation from oppressive rules. Friedrich Nietzsche sometimes described nihilism as a fate that haunts Western culture. At other times, he seems more celebrative in his calls for the construction of a new morality. For those who believe morality requires a transcendent basis, Nietzsche is seen as a guide pointing beyond nihilism.

God Bless

Brian Mason

*C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 82.