Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

John Piper on Free Will and Antinomy

A link to a short video of John Piper is at the end of this post. But before watching it, let's explore the background a little bit.

3 things are at work here:

1. Awhile back, J.I. Packer wrote a chapter in a book called, "Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God." It offered a very fine and well-reasoned defense of the paradox of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. However, Packer did something unusual that significantly altered the conversation. He chose to use the word "antinomy" rather than the word "paradox." As a result, the two words have become nearly synonymous in the modern Evangelical mind. Their close cousin is the term, "mystery." Antinomy properly means laws that genuinely contradict one another, while paradox designates seemingly contradictory truths. I think Packer was trying to rescue the truth of Biblical paradox from its misuse in Dialectical theology, and so he opted for a different word. Piper follows suit. As for me, I still like the word "paradox," as long as it is defined and applied properly.

2. John Piper has a high enough view of God that he is forced to admit to an element of mystery. He is also humble enough to admit some things are beyond his grasp. All the while, he wisely and carefully distinguishes between that which is clearly revealed and what is actually mysterious.

3. The author of a website called "Truth Matters" occasionally posts material related to Biblical paradoxes (or antinomies, or mysteries, or whatever you want to call them), which is part of the reason Truth Matters is on my list of recommended sites. The other reason is that the site aggregates many challenging, God-centered messages and articles from around the web.

Watching this video reminded me of the reason I awarded John Piper a THEOparadox T-shirt. But it also made me wonder if I should have written "THEOantinomy" on the shirt, instead.

What Piper says here is also a very good argument for what is commonly referred to as the "free offer of the Gospel." That is, the notion that God commands us to preach the Good News to everyone, not only those we happen to believe are elect. But that's a subject for another series of posts.

Click here for the video from TRUTH MATTERS.

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