Christian Theology, Biblical Theology

"You are no longer under law but grace; therefore, sin shall not have dominion over you" "The grace of God has appeared teaching men to say no to sin"

The Early Church on Free Will

The early Chruch Fathers on Free Will. Following are quotes from the ante-Nicene Church Fathers regarding free will:

Clement of Alexandria in 195 AD wrote “We…have believed and are saved by voluntary choice.” “Choice depended on the man as being free. But the gift depended on God as the Lord. And He gives to those who are willing, are exceedingly earnest, and who ask. So their salvation becomes their own. For God does not compel.”

Tertullian who is considered the “Father of Western Theology” in 210 AD wrote, “As to fortune, it is man’s freedom of will.” Origen in 225 AD wrote, “It seems a possible thing that rational natures, from whom the faculty of free will is never taken away, may be again subjected to movements of some kind.”

Hyppolytus in 225 AD wrote, “Christ passed through every stage in life in order that He Himself could serve as a law for persons of every age, and that, by being present among us, He could demonstrate His own manhood as a model for all men. Furthermore, through Himself He could prove that God made nothing evil and that man possesses the capacity of self-determination. For man is able to both will and not to will. He is endowed with the power to do both.”

Cyprian in 250 AD wrote, “The liberty of believing or of not believing is placed in free choice. In Deuteronomy, it says: ‘Look! I have set before your face life and death, good and evil. Choose for yourself life, that you may live.’ Also in Isaiah: ‘And if you are willing and hear Me, you will eat the good of the land’.”

Justin Martyr in 150 AD wrote “if the human race does not have the power of a freely deliberated choice in fleeing evil and in choosing good, then men are not accountable for their actions, whatever they may be. That they do, however, by a free choice, either walk upright or stumble, we shall now prove... The Holy Prophetic Spirit taught us this when He informed us through Moses that GOD spoke as follows to the created man: ‘Behold, before your face, the good and the evil. Choose the good.’” Deut 30:15,19.12b

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