1st Corinthians 7:37-38
But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.
Question: What does this passage say of free will?
Is this free will, that is, “being under no constraint,”
having “decided this in his own heart,” just the
illusion of Calvinistic determinism?
One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians: “This passage seems to indicate that one can have ‘authority’ or ‘control’ over his own will. In the alternate rendering, it speaks of one who is deciding whether or not he should marry a virgin. In that context, it seems that ‘will’ would primarily speak of his ‘desire’ which would suggest that he is in complete control of his desires. This would be the opposite of what Calvinism teaches, since their system makes us controlled by our desires, rather than having control over our desires.”
Another member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians: “It affirms something important, that at least in some way, we have control over our wills, ourselves. Some Calvinists will claim that God controls everything, and we control nothing. However, this is neither accurate, nor biblical. God created us with limited capacities, but capacities nonetheless, including the capacity to do our own actions, which involves controlling our will and making our own choices. This passage in 1 Cor. 7 is a good one. There are actually others in chapter 7 as well. … The point is that chapter 7 does not at all fit the claim the God directly controls and predetermines everything, so that we no longer have choices. Chapter 7 is full of real choices that God leaves up to us.”