The Liberty of the Will (Muller)

“The freedom or liberty of nature; viz., the liberty that is proper to a being given its particular nature.  No being, not even omnipotent God, can act contrary to its nature.  In man, this ‘libertas naturae’ can be distinguished into four distinct categories or states:

  1. The ‘libertas Adami,’ or freedom of Adam, before the fall – this is the ability or power not to sin, potentia non peccandi, and Adam and Eve are described, in the traditional Augustinian terminology, as ‘possse non peccare’, able not to sin.
  2. The ‘libertas peccatorum’, or freedom of sinners, a freedom that is proper to and confined within the limits of fallen nature and is therefore an absolute ‘impotentia bene agendi’, inability to do good or act for the good, with the sinner described as ‘non posse non peccare’, not able not to sin,
  3. The ‘libertas fidelium’, or freedom of the faithful, a freedom of those regenerated by the Holy Spirit that is proper to the regenerate nature and is characterized by the ‘potentia peccandi et bene agendi’, the ability to sin and to do good; the regenerate, because of grace, can be described as ‘posse peccare et non peccare’, able to sin and not to sin;
  4. The ‘libertas gloriae’, or liberty of glory, a freedom proper to the fully redeemed nature of the ‘beati’, who, as residents of the heavenly kingdom, as ‘in patria’, are now characterized by ‘impotentia peccare’, inability to sin, and as ‘non posse peccare’, unable to sin.

Richard Muller, Dictionary, p. 176.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

3 thoughts on “The Liberty of the Will (Muller)”

  1. I really appreciate these posts. Always useful, on point, and from a wide array of sources! Thank you, and keep up the great work.



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  2. Thanks for this, Shane. From your perspective, would this be a good resource to use for reading Hodge’s ST (I understand there are extensive parts of his ST that are in Latin and have not been able to find out if there is a version that has been wholly translated)?


    1. Yes and no, but mostly no. Yes because Hodge does talk about these things in his ST, but no because his Latin use isn’t just a word or phrase here and there, but more like a few sentences at a time. Either way, Muller’s dictionary is a good one to have and even just read parts of – it’s clear and concise!

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