Augustine vs. Maximus
December 9, 2010 4 Comments
“The Spirit does not generate a will that is not willing, but he transforms into deification a will that has the desire for salvation.”
Does this describe Mormonism?
A large strain of Western Christianity is shaped by Augustine’s reaction to Pelagianism. The Oriental side of the family went a different direction. A bit of that seems to be leaking into Protestantism, at least what we used to call, the “mainline.” Is this good for them? I think so, but who can tell? All this entails the funnest of theological issues like foreknowledge and human free will. Most Latter-day Saints don’t want to go there when it comes to a down and dirty discussion of the antipodes of free will, accountibilty and foreknowledge. When we assert exhaustive foreknowledge as an attribute of God while in the same breath arguing that man is responsible for choices made, we run where most angels might fear to tread, I hope. But witness Joseph Smith:
I believe that God foreknew every thing; but did not fore ordain every thing; I deny that foreordain and foreknow is the same thing. He fore ordained the fall of man; but all merciful as he is, he foreordained at the same time, a plan for Redemption for all mankind.
I believe, said he, that a man is a moral, responsible, free agent, that although it was foreordained he should fall, and be redeemed, yet after the redemption it was not fore ordained that he should again sin. In the Bible a rule of conduct is laid down for him, In the old and new Testaments the law by which he is to be governed may be found. If he violates that law, he is to be punished for the deeds done in the body.
So Joseph Smith is a compatibilist of some stripe. Hmmmmm?
 Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700). (Chicago: Univ. Chicago P, 1977) p.11.