As I understand Calvinist/Reformed doctrine;
1) As are result of Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden (Gen. 3) aka “The Fall”, every aspect of creation is corrupted by sin, particularly the human will.
2) The will is enslaved by sin and as a result it is unable to do anything good, especially have faith in Jesus through the Gospel.
3) Consequently, faith is only possible after the Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner.
4) Once regenerated (i.e. born again) the will is no longer enslaved,
5) which is why the regenerate are able to have faith / believe in Jesus.
RC Sproul puts it this way, “before a person can choose Christ his heart must be changed. He must be born again…one does not first believe, then become reborn”.
Among the Reformed, there is this idea that not only are the “reborn” enabled to have (saving) faith in Jesus, but they also inevitably will have (saving) faith in Jesus. Again, as I understand it, the faith of the regenerate is inevitable because God is Sovereign and His call is consequently efficacious.
Since the enslavement of the will to sin is one result of The Fall, it is reasonable to think that Adam was created with an un-enslaved will (aka a “free” will), one capable of believing God. However Adam, with his unbound will, chose to disbelieve God, instead believing his wife (also in possession of a yet-to-be-bound will) who had believed Satan’s lie about God. As a result, we see not just one (Adam’s) but two (Adam’s and Eve’s) wills unfettered by sin choosing to disbelieve and disobey. Furthermore, God’s command was not efficacious as evidenced by the fact that both Adam and Eve did not obey. Consequently, it appears that faith is not inevitable even though the will is not enslaved to sin. If this was the case for our first parents, why should we assume that this is not the case for their descendants?
If the Reformed position is correct, and the regenerated will inevitably chooses faith in Jesus, then it would appear that the post-lapsarian, freed will is less free than Adam’s pre-lapsarian, uncorrupted will. After all, Adam was able to exercise his will so as to reject faith in God whereas Adam’s regenerated descendants are apparently unable to reject faith in Jesus. Said another way, there seems to be less freedom (of choice) for those in Christ than there was for Adam prior to The Fall.
Comments are open. Bring your own tar and feathers.