III. Is there any freedom of the human will?

That there is in man a certain freedom of will, is proven: 1. From the fact that man was created in the image of God, of which free will constituted a part: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." "God made man in the beginning, and left him in the hand of his counsel." (Gen. 1:26. Eccl. 15:14.) 2. From the definition of the freedom which belongs to man; for man acts upon deliberation, freely knowing, and desiring or rejecting this or that object. If this definition, now, correspond with the nature of man, the thing which is expressed and defined by it must also belong to him.

Obj. 1. If man be in the possession of freedom of will, the doctrine of original sin is overthrown; for it is a contradiction to say that man is not able to obey God, and to affirm, at the same time, that he has liberty of will.
Ans. There is no real opposition in what is here affirmed, because since the fall man has liberty of will only in part, and not such as he had before the fall, nor to the same degree.

Obj. 2. He who has not a will to choose in like manner the good and the evil, does not possess free-will. But man, since the fall, has not a will to choose equally the good and the evil. Therefore he does not possess freedom of will.
Ans. We reject the major proposition, because it contains an incorrect definition of liberty; for, according to it, God himself does not possess any liberty of will.

Obj. 3. That which is dependent upon another is not free. Our will is dependent upon another. Therefore it is not free.
Ans. We reply to the major proposition, by making the following distinction: That which is dependent upon and ruled by another, and not by itself also, is not free. The will of man, however, is ruled not only by another, but also by itself; for God influences men in such a manner, that they are not constrained and carried along involuntarily, but most freely; so that it may be said that they move themselves. The being or will which is moved only by itself, belongs to God alone, of whom infinite liberty may more correctly be predicated, than of creatures. In the mean while, however, it may be suffi cient, as far as it respects the liberty which belongs to man, to affirm, that whatever he wills, he wills freely, and by his own proper determination.

Obj. 4. That which is enslaved is not free. Our power of choice is enslaved since the fall. Therefore it is not free.
Ans. The whole argument is conceded, if by free we understand that which has the power of choosing that which is good and pleasing to God: for thus far the will is held in bondage, and can only will and choose that which is evil. "I am carnal, sold under sin," &c. (Rom. 7:14.) But if by free we understand voluntary, or deliberative, then the major proposition is false; for it is not the subjection, but the constraint of the will, that takes away its liberty.