Free will, grace, and anti-Pelagianism
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Critics of synergism often complain that the view entails Pelagianism (or at least semi-Pelagianism), and so, critics think, monergism looks like the only live (orthodox) option. Critics of monergism often claim that the view entails that the blame for human sin ultimately traces to God. Recently, several philosophers (including Richard Cross, Eleonore Stump, and Kevin Timpe) have attempted to chart a middle path by offering soteriological accounts which are monergistic (and thus avoid Pelagianism) but maintain the resistibility of God’s grace (with the aim of blocking the tracing of sin to God). In this paper, we present a challenge to such accounts of the resistibility of grace, namely that they imply that human beings are praiseworthy for omitting to resist God’s grace. Even if such views escape Pelagianism as it is typically defined, they fail to avoid the worry at the heart of prominent criticisms of Pelagianism concerning the praise for a human being’s salvation. At the end of the paper, we suggest three possible solutions to this problem.
KeywordsFree will Moral responsibility Omissions Pelagianism
For very helpful comments on previous drafts of this paper, we thank Simon Kittle, Dan Miller, Michael Robinson, and the audience at the 2015 Far West Regional Meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.
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