Let us now contemplate these motives which are said to act upon the mind so as necessarily to influence the will. Let us look them full in the face, and ask the question, What are they? Are they intelligent beings, capable of locomotion? Are they endued with a self-moving energy? Yea, more: Are they capable … Continue reading Great Quotes: Thomas Ralston on Calvinist Arguments Against Free Will Based on Greatest Motive Force
This post completes our series on Ralston's defense of the Arminian belief in self-determinism. This is the grand finale where Ralston tackles the favorite argument against free-will, the doctrine of motives as presented primarily by Jonathan Edwards. This is especially relevant since Calvinists continue to argue along these same lines today and often hold up … Continue reading Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 9: The Doctrine of Motives
Thomas Ralston now tackles the necessitarian objection that God's foreknowledge of our actions renders the power of self-determination impossible. II. The next grand objection to the doctrine of free agency is, that it is supposed to be irreconcilable with the Scripture account of the divine prescience. Necessitarians argue that free agency, in the proper sense, … Continue reading Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 8: Can Free Agency be Harmonized With Divine Foreknowledge?
Thomas Ralston now begins to examine and respond to various objections posed by "necessitarians" against the Arminian view of self-determinism. WE propose in this chapter, to examine some of the principal objections which have been urged against the view taken in the preceding chapter of the freedom of the will. Those most worthy of … Continue reading Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 7: Is the Doctrine of Free Agency Absurd?
Thomas Ralston now concludes his positive arguments in favor of self-determinism: (4) In conclusion, upon this part of the subject, we think it proper briefly to notice the absurdity of attempting to reconcile the doctrines of necessity with the proper freedom and accountability of man. This, President Edwards and many others have labored hard to … Continue reading Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 6: Conclusions to the Positive Argument
Ralston continues with his defense of free moral agency from Scripture: (2) In the next place, the Scriptures everywhere address man as a being capable of choosing; as possessing a control over his own volitions, and as being held responsible for the proper exercise of that control. In Deuteronomy 30:19, we read: "I call heaven … Continue reading Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 5: The Scriptural Evidence
Thomas Ralston begins his appeal to Scripture with his third evidence for self-determinism in his Elements of Divinity: 3. Our third evidence of man's proper free agency is founded upon the divine administration toward him, as exhibited in the Holy Scriptures. Here we shall perceive that revelation beautifully harmonizes with nature; and those clear and … Continue reading Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 4: God’s Divine Administration
We continue with Ralston's second argument for self-determinism from his Elements of Divinity: 2. Our next argument for the self-determining power of the mind over the will is founded upon the history of the world in general. Turn your attention to any portion or to any period of the world's history and you find among … Continue reading Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 3: The Argument From Universality
We now continue with Ralston's defense of free will from his Elements of Divinity II. We proceed now to consider some of the leading arguments by which the free moral agency of man, as briefly defined above, is established. 1. We rely upon our own consciousness. By consciousness, we mean the knowledge we have of … Continue reading Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 2: Its Self-evident Nature
Thomas Ralston was an early Methodist theologian. The following is taken from his Elements of Divinity (Wesleyan Heritage Collection CD): "The great question in this controversy is not whether a man can will "as he pleases," for that is the same as to ask whether he can will as he does will. But the question … Continue reading Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will: Introducing the Controversy