Personally, I find it nearly beyond debate that the Bible embraces a “compatabilist” view.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good,”
“This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”
“Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
“Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me… But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations.
That said, I can’t count how often i see it assumed that one must embrace either free will or divine determinism. I maintain that this is simply a false dichotomy.
Case in point, consider the language used to describe the two positions in the debate Chris linked…
I haven’t listened to the debate, but as a committed compatabilist Calvinist, I raise my humble objection to the false dichotomy suggested in the language used to describe the two positions. I find it an all-too-common mischaracterization.
By basic historical standards or definitions, a Calvinist is by definition one “who believes in the ‘meticulous divine providence’ of a God who predetermines every aspect of the Universe” and “believes that God achieves his purposes while allowing genuine human freedom.”
This goes back hundreds of years, consider the basic creed of us crazy Calvinists, the Westminster Confession. Say what you want about us Calvinists, but it is simply untrue that we don’t believe in real, genuine, complete and unadulterated free will and individual liberty and responsibility, and that this real freedom is compatible with God’s ordaining of all things:
Ch 3: God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
Ch 5: 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.
I believe the future is already written. And yet I still choose to wear my seatbelt. This because I understand the future has been written in a way that incorporates the consequences of my freely chosen actions.
And if God chooses to work in real time in response to our prayers, then I will pray for the same reason I wear my seatbelt, because even though God knows what will be, my actions, and my requests for God to act, are part of that overall story, and thus they can and do affect the final outcomes.