CALVIN’S DEFENSE AND REFORMULATION

OF LUTHER’S EARLY REFORMATION DOCTRINE

OF THE BONDAGE OF THE WILL

 

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http://www.calvin.edu/library/database/dissertations/Choy_Kiven_S.PDF

 

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Kiven Choy

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A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO

THE FACULTY OF CALVIN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

 

 

BY KIVEN S. K. CHOY

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN

JANUARY 2010

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract                                                                                                  v

 

Chapter

I. INTRODUCTION                                                                        1

A.  A Review of Literature: A Comprehensive Study Sensitive to                                                                                                                       

     Calvin’s Historical Context Is Needed                                 4

B.   Guidelines in Reading Calvin’s Formulation in His Historical Context           29

C.   Division of the Subject Matter                                            37

 

II. CALVIN IN THE CONTEXT OF REFORMATION DEBATE: CALVIN AS A REFORMER OF THE SECOND GENERATION

A.  Calvin between Augustine and Luther                               41

B.   Calvin as a Defender of Luther’s Early Reformation Formulation          44

C.   Calvin’s Defense amidst Melanchthon’s Changes of Formulation          49

D.  Calvin Defends Luther’s Formulation in His Treatise against Pighius              58

 

III. LUTHER AND THE PROBLEM OF FREE CHOICE IN REFORMATION DEBATE

A.  Luther’s Necessitarian Argument in the Assertio               70

B.   Luther and “The Preference for Biblical Expressions”     82

C.   The Mature Augustine Is Better Than the Younger Augustine:             

Luther’s Rejection of the Term Liberum Arbitrium           89

D.  God’s Active Role over Sins in The Bondage of the Will  95

E.   The Post-Fall Framework in Luther’s Necessitarian Argument      100

 

IV. THE SHIFTED CONCERNS AND DIVERSIFIED FORMULATIONS: ZWINGLI, BUCER, AND MELANCHTHON                     107

A.  Zwingli’s Necessitarian Argument                                   108        

B.   Bucer’s Augustinian Formulation                                     111

C.   Melanchthon’s Theodical Formulation, ca. 1530-1545  124

 

V. FREE CHOICE OF THE WILL AMONG CALVIN’S CONTEMPORARIES: BULLINGER AND VERMIGLI                                            141

A.    Bullinger’s “Twin Concerns” Formulation                      142

B.     Vermigli’s Augustinian-Reformational Formulation      154

C.     The Shift Towards Theodical Concern and Classical Augustinianism

in the Second Phase of the Reformation                           169

 

VI. CALVIN’S ORTHODOX DEFENSE: HIS POSITIVE FORMULATION IN RESPONSE TO PIGHIUS AND IN 1559 INSTITUTES

A.  Calvin’s Defense: The Issue of Orthodoxy                     171

B.   Augustine as the Primary Witness in His Defense          174

C.   Calvin on Other Early Church Fathers                            181

D.  The Use of the Early Church Councils as Witness         186

E.   Bernard as a Star Witness in the Medieval Church        189

F.    The Augustinian Distinction Between the State of the Human Will      

Before the Fall and the State After the Fall                     198

G.  Calvin’s Rejection of the Term Liberum Arbitrium       204

H.  Calvin’s Clarification of the Nature of Servum Arbitrium     210

         

VII. CALVIN’S RECEPTION AND REFORMULATION OF THE NECESSITARIAN CONCEPTS OF THE EARLY REFORMATION

A.  The Impact of Luther’s Necessitarian Concepts on Calvin    220

B.   Calvin’s Reception of Necessitarian Concepts               223

C.   Calvin’s Re-Interpretation of Augustine                        234

D.  Calvin vs. Other Reformers on Divine Permission         245

E.   Does Calvin Differ from Luther in His Affirmation of the Scholastic Distinction Regarding Necessity?                                                        251

F.    Calvin’s Extension of the Active Concept of God’s Sovereign Will

to the Fall of Adam                                                            257

 

VIII. CONCLUSION                                                                  264

 

APPENDIX

Theological Theses for Public Defense                           273

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                                       276


 

 

ABSTRACT

 

          This dissertation finds that Calvin’s reformulation of the doctrine of free choice reflects his convictions of the early Reformation heritage, his learning of the tradition from the early church fathers and especially from Augustine, the influences generated by his continuous dialogues with the development of the formulations among the Reformers in the second phase of the Reformation, and his personal theological convictions. Calvin formulated his defense as a Reformer of the second phase of the Reformation defending the early Reformation formulation set by Luther. The early Reformers used various necessitarian arguments to argue their cases. The Reformers in the second phase had the apologetic and pedagogical need to shift from the necessitarian argument. They incorporated theodical concern in their reformulations. They generally affirmed the genuine integrity of second causality, by affirming the existence of contingency, the voluntary nature of the bound will, and the freedom of choice for Adam before the fall. Calvin was quite unique among them, in maintaining several necessitarian concepts similar to Luther’s: the rejection of the term liberum arbitrium, an all active concept of divine omnipotence, and the preference for active biblical expressions in affirming divine sovereignty over sins.

          Calvin grew theologically in debate with Pighius. He clarified his early less nuanced concepts. In the process, he utilized scholastic distinctions and the witnesses of the early church and medieval church to defend the doctrine. Calvin followed Luther’s conviction that the mature Augustine is more biblical. Calvin read Augustine’s works, including Against Julian, through the lens of Luther’s convictions.

          Calvin, in his explicit affirmation of the divine ordination of the fall, deviated from the post-fall framework of Augustine and Luther. Because of this, we find that there are two sides to Calvin’s formulation. In his reaffirmation of the genuine integrity of the second causality, Calvin is like a classical Augustinian. In his reception of necessitarian concepts and his idea of the divine ordination of the fall, the deterministic side of Calvin is revealed. This may be the source of various debates among Calvin scholars and the ambiguity in reading Calvin, on the issue of human freedom.