Man’s Freedom within the Sovereign Plan of God

Today we welcome Daniel Ragusa, to speak about the Westminster Standards and their teaching of the self-sufficient and self-contained triune God of Scripture. Ragusa begins with Westminster Confession of Faith 3.1:

God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

In developing this doctrine, Ragusa draws upon Cornelius Van Til’s Trinitarian theology, covenant theology, and representational principle. Ragusa writes,

According to Van Til’s representational principle, for man’s will to operate and for an act of his will to be significant and meaningful it must take place within an exhaustively personal environment, that is, it must take place within the sovereign and eternal plan of the self-sufficient triune God. The absolute freedom of God does not take away or limit man’s freedom, but rather establishes it in an analogical fashion.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program and learn how to subscribe.

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Jeff Downs

5 months ago

Is Mr. Regusa’s article available at this point?

Daniel Ragusa

5 months ago

It’s not yet available, but I can let you know when it is.

Dan

Micah

4 months ago

RE: “Is Mr. Regusa’s article available at this point?” I am interested in reading it also. When the paper is available – will it be posted here at reformedforum.wpengine.com? Thank you.

Jason Tate

5 months ago

This was providential for me. I am working on a BA in Philosophy at ASU and am currently going through my metaphysics course. I asked Mr. Jared Oliphint but figured it wouldn’t hurt to see if Mr. Regusa had any recommendations for resources that are speak to the questions of free will/determinism and universals/particulars that would be thoroughly covenantal and interact with analytic philsophy? Thank you for the episode

Daniel Ragusa

5 months ago

A good place to start would be with Van Til’s “The Will in its Theological Relations.” He opens with a review of philosophical theories that you might find helpful. You can find a PDF copy of it here:

https://presupp101.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/the-will-in-its-theological-relations-by-cornelius-van-til/

Blessings on your studies!
Dan

Arjen Vreugdenhil

5 months ago

Re. the question of secondary causes in the Forms of Unity: The Canons of Dort were written in a time of more “sophistication”, or developed Reformed scholasticism; they indeed do mention secondary causes in III/IV (context of regeneration) and V (perseverance).

But one can hardly expect the same of the Heidelberg or Belgic; they were written before Reformed theology had become interested in these more sophisticated questions. It seems to me that the Reformers were generally wary of scholastic argumentation, as they were rediscovering the simple gospel instead of the fancy Romanist conclusions! (And, of course, the Heidelberg Catechism as a basic instructional booklet with person focus simply has no interest in these deeper questions.)

Daniel Ragusa

5 months ago

Thanks, Arjen! That’s a very helpful observation.

Jason Tate

5 months ago

Thank you for the suggestions.

Cris Dickason

4 months ago

Looking for the usual links, bibliography, pointers to additional resources…

Timothy Reichmuth

1 month ago

It is significant that Daniel, at least, recognizes that Van Til is not ‘new’ in his expressions of Reformed theology, but instead is in agreement with Calvin. In fact, both are in agreement with much earlier creeds. At times this program seems to be Van Tillian to the exclusion of theological history.
None of this diminishes the value of this program for our faith, just an observation

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