Sunday, November 17, 2013

Free-WIll Defense and Original Sin

W. Paul Franks argues that a broad robust free-will defense of Christian theism against the problem of evil requires abandoning original sin or significantly rethinking it.

Franks argues that if an agent cannot choose his own will, then he is not blameworthy for actions that flow from it.

One cannot be held accountable for what could be but only for what will be the case. In other words, one is not held responsible for possible actions he or she  would commit in different circumstances; rather, one is responsible only for those actions he or she will commit

Franks thinks the traditional formulation of original sin as inheritance, imputation and imitation should be revised lest God be implicated as the source of sin and evil.  He suggests possible revisions are to remove inheretence and replace imputation with association. On his model humans would be guilty by association. When Adam sinned God associated all humans with him. Thus we all are guilty by association.  The implications of such a view is to neglect exegesis. First, guilt by association is based on a hasty generalization. It is often called the fallacy of association. But more importantly, it assumes, as does imputation, that God set the laws,  commandments, and punishments for mankind prior to Adam's sin. Second, it drastically affects justification. If Adam's guilt is not imputated then nor is Christ's righteousness imputed. Then how do men stand righteous before God? By association? Third, such a robust revision is  unnecessary with other possible models available to account for sin and evil. Forth, guilt by association does not remove the knotty problem of sin and evil.  How is sin universal? Why are all humans by nature children of wrath?

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