Freedom of the Will By Jonathan Edwards


“Freedom of the Will” is a philosophical and theological work written by the American preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards. Published in 1754, the book explores the complex relationship between human free will and divine sovereignty. Edwards was a prominent figure in the 18th-century Great Awakening, a religious revival movement in the American colonies.

In “Freedom of the Will,” Edwards engages in a detailed and systematic discussion of the nature of human will, the concept of choice, and the role of God’s sovereignty in the process of decision-making. The central theme of the book revolves around reconciling human free will with God’s foreknowledge and sovereignty. Edwards argues that true freedom does not consist of arbitrary and unconditioned choices but rather of acting in accordance with one’s nature and desires.

Edwards famously presents his concept of “compatibilism,” which asserts that divine sovereignty and human free will are not contradictory but can coexist. He contends that while individuals make choices according to their desires and inclinations, these desires are shaped by their inherent nature and external influences, which are all under God’s control.

One of the key points Edwards makes is that humans are morally responsible for their actions even if God’s sovereignty is acknowledged. He believes that God’s preordained plan and human decisions are not in opposition; instead, God’s sovereignty ensures that human choices align with His divine purposes.

“Freedom of the Will” is a dense and thought-provoking work that continues to be studied and discussed by theologians, philosophers, and scholars. Edwards’ exploration of the relationship between free will, divine sovereignty, and moral responsibility has had a lasting impact on discussions about these topics in both theological and philosophical circles.

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