Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards

Freedom of the Will

Considered by many to be the greatest book by enormously influential American preacher and theologian JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703 1758), this provocative 1754 work explores the necessity of God s grace for the salvaging of the damaged will of humanity and argues that free will is an extension of and connected to the grace of God. What is the nature of morality? Can God be evil? What constitutes sin? How does God s foreknowledge of all events impact co...

Details Freedom of the Will

TitleFreedom of the Will
Release DateJun 1st, 2007
PublisherCosimo Classics
GenreReligion, Theology, Philosophy, Christian, Christianity, Nonfiction

Reviews Freedom of the Will

  • Jacob Aitken
    Edwards’ argument, despite the close logic and dense prose, is fairly simple. The will is that by which the mind chooses. It chooses by its perception the greatest. The will isn’t the cause of action. It is the effect. The will isn’t just a faculty. It is the mind choosing. Every act of the will presupposes a cause. This cause is the “motive.” The strongest motive determines the action of the will.That’s the argument in a nutshell. Th...
  • Don Incognito
    This treatise is highly insightful, and stimulated me to consider ideas that had not occurred to me. However, due to the now-archaic language combined with the inherently abstract nature of the subject matter, Freedom of the Will is extremely difficult to read. A headache. Especially because Edwards spends probably half the essay (or more) defining terms. As Edwards is a metaphysician discussing abstract ideas here, it sounds like what I remember...
  • Mike Reynolds
    Edwards excellently argues for the validity of Calvinistic theology. He demonstrates through cause and effect that the human will is not self-originating or self-determining; that God's foreknowledge demands determinism; that the present world is the best possible world for the purpose of the greatest possible good and that though God is the permitter and designer of sins existence He is neither the fountain, agent, or promoter of sin. His permis...
  • Ryan Hawkins
    I finished this late in January, but I have been working on a more complete review and summary of the book, which is why I didn't mention it here yet. This work was so interesting and solid that I want to summarize all his arguments and points, and then regurgitate them for others. I am fully Reformed soteriologically, and yet I heard so many new (and extremely compelling) arguments in the book that I'd never read before. This was surprising. In ...
  • John Lunger
    Disclaimer: this is my first read through. I will eventually come back to this, but in the meantime these are my initial thoughts.I am writing this as I have just finished the last page. Probably the most challenging book I have ever read, which is commonly accepted by most readers of Edward’s work.Based on the limited understanding that I have, this book was broken in 4 main parts: 1. Definitions (laying the foundation), 2. The debunking of Fr...
  • Ronni Kurtz
    On the short list of "must read" for any theology student.Was my third time through the book, get's better every time.
  • Brent McCulley
    Edwards was a wonderfully prolific theologian - surely America's greatest, and arguably the greatest of them all, and Freedom of the Will is not exempt from his theological genius. With someone who is also so well written, one could hardly call this his magnum opus (surely Religious Affections surpasses it), but notwithstanding, Freedom of the Will is a phenomenal treatise on God's divine foreknowledge, and sovereignty; human bondage, and volitio...
  • Shanna
    There were a few sections I thought were helpful. Overall, Edwards seemed to attack Arminians more than defend his own position. So I'm still not very clear on all the hangups I had with Calvinism to begin with.
  • Jay Risner
    Laying the smack down.
  • Kelvin Candelario
    Hard read, page long sentences. But absolutely worth it to understand God's divine grace on our wicked desires.
  • James Smith
    Just finished teaching a doctoral seminar on this text. It should be regarded as one of the classics, not only of American theology, but American literature.
  • Douglas Wilson
  • Chuck
    People make massive assumptions about what the will is and what condition it is in. Few have sought to define the issues and treat them biblically: Edwards has done both.
  • Jim Robles
    I remind the reader that I have a Cartesian epistemology, and that cognito ergo sum is an epistemological, not an ontological, statement. That I am res cogitans, I am sure. That I am res extensa, is something that, in conducting my day-to-day affairs, I accept as "reality," because it presents itself to me "with such force and clarity that I cannot deny it." Yet, I do not "know" with the same surety. Put another way, I am unable to (absolutely) r...
  • Mike E.
    Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) polemical work "Freedom of the Will" was written to refute the dangers of Arminianism in colonial America and the world. The central issue was the nature of man’s will. According to Arminianism, and Edwards primary opponents, Daniel Whitby and Thomas Chubb, the will of every human was free, that is, each individual has his own self determining power, completely free from any antecedent cause and lacks any internal...
  • Chad Warner
    I skimmed this. I almost gave up, but I've heard good things about it from R.C. Sproul and others, so I continued skimming. It's difficult to understand due to its age and Edwards being a metaphysician. Edwards defends the view that humans have free will, and thus deserve rewards or punishment for their free actions.NotesA person wills that which is most pleasing at the time, all things considered."moral Inability consists in the opposition or wa...
  • Jonathan
    A dense, thorough, somewhat repetitive but highly persuasive refutation of Arminian concepts of free will. He refutes these ideas with scripture and philosophical argument, and also deals with many of the arguments-from-consequences (i.e., if the will is not free, men are mere machines/automatons). Not an easy read, but some very valuable insights, especially for anyone trying to tease out the finer points in the tension between God's election an...
  • Matt Crawford
    Quite possibly one of Edward's most popular book, Edwards is not the traditional biblical theologian that he is known for. Rather, in this reputation of the Arminian doctrine of the autonomy of the will, Edwards approaches it with rational thought. He sows te absurdity of the way that Arminians think that the soul can will to God. The first part relies on definitions. Some of Edwards' critics do not define things the same ways. The next portion s...
  • Aaronirlbacher
    I’m going to need to reread this book again soon. I can not escape the feeling that while I have been helped and educated, i have still more to learn from this work. As if, Edwards had led me outside and exposed me to the sun light after being in the darkness for so long that I had necessarily been unable to take in all the beauty of the noon day sun.
  • Constantine Montgomery
    Are hunan beings free? What does free will mean? Does preference mean the same thing as will? What causes the first cause? These are the questions asked by Thonas Edwards. He discusses free will and the will to choose. He defines free will as the act of choosing and thinks that not choosing is in itself a choice. He discusses the soul and God. A good book that I would like to recommend.
  • John G
    I wan't say I enjoyed this book five stars worth because it's a tough read. None the less, it's awesome and well worth the effort. A good compliment to Freedom of the Will by Martin Luther.
  • Alejandro Ramirez
    This has been the hardest book I’ve ever read. I fault the reader, not the writer, for its difficulty.
  • Kyle Butcher
    Backlog. Foundational.
  • Robin Bittick
    This is not a book for beginners or those young in the Christian faith. It is, however, one of the best and most intelligently written theological books I have read.
  • J. Rutherford
    Wow. This book was a very hard read, both because of the thick content and Edwards use of page long sentences, but well worth it.Edwards provides an in depth response to the challenges raised against the Calvinist idea of Total Depravity and the bondage of the will. It is still relevant today almost 300 years later, addressing much of what we see today in Arminian challenges to Calvinism (Chosen but Free, Geisler [technically Molinism, but it is ...
  • Rhonda
    Jonathan Edwards is America's most precise and careful writer of theology. One can do worse than to spend the time plodding through his stodgy yet careful language in order to get to his points: they are very well made indeed.I often find it a shame that readers of philosophy, especially those college sophomores who have read a short treatise from cheeky David Hume, do not go further and examine Edwards. It is true that Edwards isn't that much ab...
  • Kirk Miller
    Absolutely brilliant!Not any easy read by any stretch of the imagination. But what is given up in ease of ready is made up for in philosophical precision and leaving no stone unturned.I can see how JE could be misunderstood as advocating a rather mechanistic view of human volition since he does argue for determinism. But in my understanding, that would be to misunderstand the fundamental premise of JE's view--that man's volitions, BECAUSE THEY AR...
  • Nile
    First, I did not read this book in its entirety. I read about to the end of part 2. I felt that I got out of I all I can handle for the time being and I am going to dwell on this while I read other books. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and feel that it has really helped me understand the paradoxical coexistence of God's sovereignty and the decisions we make as humans. The best illustration posed, at least in aiding my understanding, is that of...
  • Scott Roper
    I wonder if those wearing "Jonathan Edwards is my Homeboy" t-shirts have ever actually read him. Edwards writing is the exact opposite of John Owen. With Owen, if you blink, you miss at least one idea. Edwards, it seems, would never write one hundred words when one thousand would do. I found myself skimming if I got the idea of the argument from the first few sentences of a paragraph.Putting his laborious writing style aside, there is not a whole...
  • Simon Wartanian
    It was definitely a very hard read for me. I've heard that Edwards is verbose and I think that it is right.Besides the Bible there is not a book that I so carefully tried to understand, but yet not completely understand. But I'm thankful for Sam Storm's essay on Edwards titled "Free Will: Fettered Yet Free", helped me a lot to understand Edwards' concept of the Freedom of the Will. It was also hard because it was very highly philosophical, I'm us...