Man as such is free: this is a thought which, thus expressed, nowhere occurs in Scripture; for 't?Sn is everywhere in the Old Testament (apart from Ps. lxxxviii. 5, where it implies relaxed, stretched forth, languishing; comp. 2 Kings xv. 5) the free man, and indeed the freed man (as distinguished from "in, and other words, which usually denote the free-born man). points to this or that obligation (e.g. the duty of defence, Deut. xxiv. 5) being released and made void. "rtTI is the freedom from imprisonment, debt, and slavery, which the year of jubilee brought; and even in the New Testament, the external political legal meaning of iXevdepo< ; is prominent (see, among other places, 6 avrov u>v, Ovk aXkov; comp. for n'K'Sn) Deut. xxi. 14). As, in the classical i\evdepo<;, the word proceeding from this sense takes the moral signification liberalis; so also, in the passages of the New Testament, where they are used in a meaning of spiritual internal enlightenment, ikev0epo<;, tKevOepia, itevOepovv, return everywhere to that primitive politico-legal sense: freedom as the peculiarity of man, as man, is everywhere taken for granted in the Scripture, without anywhere being so named.
Instead of saying man is free, Scripture says man can choose pCf, LXX. aipelaOai, aiperi^eiv, e/cXe7ea#ai); he can act MS"}?; he can do vrjQ 3tan. Life and death, blessing and cursing, were put before the first men, the people of Israel, as the result of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai: they could choose; and Joshua gives to his assembled kindreds of the people the choice between Jehovah and idols. Man can choose what God wills, and can choose what he himself, and not God, wills: he is free in his conduct towards God, as moreover God the righteous is in His conduct towards man (Isa. lxv. 12, lxvi. 3). The New Testament, moreover, everywhere takes this for granted : man has the choice to occupy such a position, or otherwise, with respect to Christ. Christ came not into the world iva npivr) (John iii. 17, xii. 47), but yet He came into the world eh Kpifia (John ix. 39), in that man in His presence must determine himself, and thus decide upon his own eternal destiny. Ovk rjOeXrjaare is one of the last parting words of Jesus to Jerusalem (Matt. xxiii. 37).
That the freedom of self-determination is a common possession of humanity, Scripture indirectly says when it denotes the entrance into maturer age as an entrance into the position of 3its3 -rirni jn3 Dikd njn (Isa. vii. 15, comp. Deut. i. 39). Decision supposes distinction, and free self-determination supposes conscious discrimination (SidKpiais, Heb. v. 14) of that which is diverse, and conscious reference of the same to the discriminating subject. Freedom of self-determination is thus something that is developed contemporaneously with the selfconsciousness; and personality and freedom in this sense are inseparable correlatives. It is no contradiction of this, that njnn jni 3ia was attached to the forbidden tree of Paradise, as the result of self-determination; for knowledge of good and evil is in some sense the consequence, and in some sense the postulate, of self-determination. These already knew good and evil prior to their determination: the divine prohibition distinguished the two for them. But this theoretical knowledge did not become practical until their self-determination. They first knew what good and evil were, when they knew from their own experience what were the relations of good and evil; in such a manner, nevertheless, that they recognised the opposite good from the position of evil, instead of recognising the contracted evil from the position of good.
We call this freedom of self-determination the freedom of choice. "Man is free to choose" would, according to the Old Testament mode of speech, be, u he is rrynan $>ja." God thus originally created man, and gave him for his own the free decision for good or for evil—acprjKev avrbv iv xeipl SiafiovXiov avrov (Ecclus. xv. 14); and thus it is still. An external constraint may be used upon man's freedom of choice, which makes impossible its being carried into effect outwardly, or, as Paul expresses it (1 Cor. vii. 37), takes away from him the itjovoia 'rrepi rod Islov dejiiaTo<;; but only God could exercise an inward constraint which would compel man to do that which, in the moment of doing it, is not his own will. And God does not use this power: it would be a neutralizing intrusion into the nature of man; for, to be compelled to will what a man does not will, is a contradiction which annuls will itself in his nature. The strongest impulses might bias and urge the will of man in one or other direction; but for it to come to determination and action without man's self-determination and consent, is impossible. The ancients name this freedom libertas naturce; in Bardesanes and other Syrian writers, it is called chirutho (Heb. nnn). That it is just as incapable of being lost as the will itself, to whose nature it belongs, is among our dogmatists not at all questioned. They for that reason do not regard it as the image of God, as Raymond of Sabunde, Bernhard, and others; even these, however, not without distinguishing between imago and similitudo.
Moreover, since the fall also, man is free to choose, and for that reason is accountable; but equally certain it is, from Scripture and from experience, that by his own guilt he is not free. He is free to choose, in so far as no foreign will can irresistibly constrain his to will against his own will. He is not free, in so far as within his own personality the sin which has been allowed by himself rules and enslaves his will (Rom. vii. 14); and even when his Ego wills what is good, makes it impossible to him to execute that which corresponds to the will of the Ego (iroeiv, irpcmeiv, evepyeiv, Karepyd^eadai), Rom. vii.
19. In the former case the will itself is absolutely enslaved, in so far as, having forfeited its holy original position in which it was the free power over the opposites of good and evil, it fell under the power of evil, and thus became not independent in the presence of good. In the latter case also the Ego of man is enslaved, which on the one side has become free from the sinfully-excited nature-life, and the spirit-will absorbed into the flesh (OeXrjfia T^s aapKos); on the other side is impotent, by the entire downward tendency of sin, to bring the desired good to mere actuality. But in both cases it is man who does not succumb to sin without willing it, and is thus free to choose.1 In the former case he wills the sin with his whole will; in the latter case, according to the better part of his Ego, which in itself is twofold, he wills not sin; but the part of the Ego absorbed into nature-life—"-the afiapria—with which it has become one, gains the upper hand (Rom. vii. 20). Man in both cases acts with formal freedom, but without substantial freedom or, as we prefer to say, he acts in both instances with freedom of choice, but not with freedom of power.
Man is never found, and has never found himself, in a position of absolute indifference with respect to the contrasts of good and evil. God made man IB* (rectus), Eccles. vii. 29. The will of the first created man had its position in good. But instead of becoming permanently independent in good by willing obedience to God, it became permanently independent in evil (Gen. iii. 22). The entire natural condition of man fell thereby into the principle of wrath, and even the will of man became choked by the Turba. This situation, not to be rectified by any determination of human will, is what is natural to all men.3 By nature we are SovXoi Tt)v afiaprias, and hence
1 Very justly says Harless, Ethik, p. 42: "Precisely in the obligation to one's own inclination the will is free. The will is not free only when, instead of one's own inclination, any kind of outward or internal pressure conditions the volition; whereas, by virtue of his own inclination, man has the ground of determination of his will absolutely in himself, i.e. is free. Thus obligation by an evil inclination, considered in the abstract, is certainly not unfreedom. Man, in this obligation to his inclination, is perfectly free, as certainly as inclination is perfectly different from constraint."
8 Ed. Nagelsbach, Der Gottmensch. i. 58-66.
1 The church dogma expresses itself thus: the liberum arbitrium is lost. In opposition to the Pelagian melting away of freedom into mere freedom
£\evdepoi rjj Suiaioovvy (Rom. vi. 20). For either man resigns himself to righteousness, to love, or he resigns himself to sin, to wrath: a third alternative is not possible. Freedom is thus, withal, always a voluntary bondage (oouXet'a), in that man either allows himself to be conditioned and determined by God, or by that which is foreign to God (1 Pet. ii. 16). If man succumbs to sin, to wrath, his freedom is degraded to a shadow; for although sin is manifest to him in its results, as bringing ruin, he yet has no more power over them and over himself: it is opposed to his Ego,—a power which he increases by every sinful motion of his will, and every sinful action. If he, on the other hand, surrenders himself to righteousness, to love, he remains in his true nature,—wills and does what is good, as that which is according to his nature, without needing an external law, for his own satisfaction; and has power over evil, in that he holds it off from himself, as that which is destructive of his peace and his happiness. Of such an one, Old Testament language says (Ex. xxxv. 21,26, xxxvi. 2), \t&), irrn vira"iJ, i.e. he rises from within outward to the good deed: he is spurred to it not from without, but from within. The spirit of such an one is '"IJH3 nn (Ps. li. 14); for without inward constraint, such as sin exercises over him, out of the innermost, freest excitement of its nature in the likeness of God, it impels him to good. Such a man is ni3i3, i.e. absolute voluntariness (Ps. ex. 3). He cannot will, and do otherwise: he wills and acts joyfully, according to his nature, and according to the inmost need, not Kara avd^Kijv —that is, an externally compelling necessity; possibly, however, according to an inwardly impelling necessity, or, which is the same thing, Kcnh. eKovcnov (Philem. 14), nvSn tPS3a (1 Chron. xxviii. 9).
Only such a man is truly free, for he is free as God is, because he is free in God. God, indeed, is never called in Scripture, the Free; but in calling Himself iTnK "lt?K rvnK (Ex.
of choice, liberum arbitrium (liberlas arbitrii) has become almost exclusively used in the seuse of freedom of power; but it is necessary, especially in the face of the Romish dogmatics, always to remember again, that even the Lutheran doctrine attributes to man in all cases of responsibility the libertas a coactione: for will without freedom, as Job. Gerhard says, is a self-contradiction, like something warm without warmth. "Voluntas quse potest cogi et cogitur," says Luther himself, " non est voluntas sed noluntas."
iii. 14, comp. with the expression, Ex. xxxiii. 19,2 Kings viii. 1), and thus unfolding His name of Jehovah, He designates Himself, who governs in the history, as the absolutely Free. As He is so in history, He is so in Himself. The Divine Being, as such, is one that is conceived in constant self-fulfilment, i.e. living; and in this his living forth, is directed and determined by nothing else than His own nature. Similarly the will and deed of the man surrendered to God are conditioned by nothing else than by his own nature in the divine image, existing in God; he is thus free, like to God. But our natural position out of God is unfree: for we are conscious of the sin in us ruling over us; and—which is no otherwise possible—we feel ourselves in conti-adiction to our true nature, and are nevertheless imprisoned in this contradiction, yielding ourselves up therein to freedom of choice, but without being able to struggle forth therefrom into freedom of power.
This is the case with man. Apart from grace, his freedom is yet only the shadow of that freedom in the image of God, which he lost. The same is moreover true of his spirit, the living source of the thought of Ego, and of freedom. The spirit of man was the image and mirror of God, as the Triune. Out of this, his past, which also is his future, Scripture teaches us to understand his present. But, moreover, this divine mirror reflects it to our gaze only in enigmas: therefore the consciousness ought never to forsake us during the progress of the following investigation, that they are only fragments which our present knowledge grasps,—fragments, however, which serve to enhance our eager longing to attain thither where we shall know God even as we are known of God.