In LOVE, FREEDOM, AND EVIL, Thaddeus J Williams tackles the problem of evil and specifically explores the validity of the free will defense. Does authentic love require free will? Through philosophical arguments and biblical exploration, Williams exposes many of the weaknesses of the free will defense for the problem of evil. Williams espouses the compatibilistic view of human free will. I come to this book as one who holds to libertarian free will, but I must admit that Williams’ arguments seem solid and give me much to think about.
Compatibilistic free will on the surface does make sense. People are responsible for their actions if what they are doing is in accord with what they want to do. They’re not forced to do something they don’t want to do. Williams argues for this pretty convincingly. On the surface, obviously people do what they most desire. But there’s obviously times where there is some deliberation between competing desires. I don’t think compatibilistic free will can deal with this deliberation or explain why someone chooses one thing one time and something else another time if their nature determines their desires.
I actually enjoyed this book a lot because it forces me to think hard about what I believe. It also raises a lot of questions in my mind about what determines what people do. Because responsibility seems to require people doing the thing that they most desire, I have questions about desires being a coercive force that bends a person’s will toward it.
While I still hold to a libertarian view of free will, I really enjoyed the writer’s style and how he approached the issues. He handles opposing views with humility. I would recommend this book as a catalyst for thinking deeper about the issues of human freedom and divine sovereignty.
Review copy provided by Rodopi
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