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Freedom of the Will (The Works of Jonathan Edwards: With a Memoir of His Life and Character)

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  417 ratings  ·  32 reviews
"Considered by many to be the greatest book by enormously influential American preacher and theologian JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703 1758), this provocative 1754 work explores the necessity of God s grace for the salvaging of the damaged will of humanity and argues that free will is an extension of and connected to the grace of God. What is the nature of morality? Can God be evil ...more
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Published January 1st 2010 by MobileReference (first published January 1754)
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Mike Reynolds
Edwards excellently argues for the validity of Calvinistic theology. He demonstrates through cause and effect that the human will is not self-originating or self-determining; that God's foreknowledge demands determinism; that the present world is the best possible world for the purpose of the greatest possible good and that though God is the permitter and designer of sins existence He is neither the fountain, agent, or promoter of sin. His permission of sin is ONLY for the greatest possible good ...more
Brent McCulley
Edwards was a wonderfully prolific theologian - surely America's greatest, and arguably the greatest of them all, and Freedom of the Will is not exempt from his theological genius. With someone who is also so well written, one could hardly call this his magnum opus (surely Religious Affections surpasses it), but notwithstanding, Freedom of the Will is a phenomenal treatise on God's divine foreknowledge, and sovereignty; human bondage, and volition; all the while serving as a forthright rebuttal ...more
Chuck
People make massive assumptions about what the will is and what condition it is in. Few have sought to define the issues and treat them biblically: Edwards has done both.
Kelvin Candelario
Hard read, page long sentences. But absolutely worth it to understand God's divine grace on our wicked desires.
Kirk Miller
Absolutely brilliant!

Not any easy read by any stretch of the imagination. But what is given up in ease of ready is made up for in philosophical precision and leaving no stone unturned.

I can see how JE could be misunderstood as advocating a rather mechanistic view of human volition since he does argue for determinism. But in my understanding, that would be to misunderstand the fundamental premise of JE's view--that man's volitions, BECAUSE THEY ARE TRULY THE VOLITIONS OF MAN, are absolutely neces
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Jay Risner
Laying the smack down.
Rhonda
Jonathan Edwards is America's most precise and careful writer of theology. One can do worse than to spend the time plodding through his stodgy yet careful language in order to get to his points: they are very well made indeed.

I often find it a shame that readers of philosophy, especially those college sophomores who have read a short treatise from cheeky David Hume, do not go further and examine Edwards. It is true that Edwards isn't that much about tearing down the world, something which must a
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James Rutherford
Wow. This book was a very hard read, both because of the thick content and Edwards use of page long sentences, but well worth it.
Edwards provides an in depth response to the challenges raised against the Calvinist idea of Total Depravity and the bondage of the will. It is still relevant today almost 300 years later, addressing much of what we see today in Arminian challenges to Calvinism (Chosen but Free, Geisler [technically Molinism, but it is really just a philosophically advanced framework d
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Nile
First, I did not read this book in its entirety. I read about to the end of part 2. I felt that I got out of I all I can handle for the time being and I am going to dwell on this while I read other books.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and feel that it has really helped me understand the paradoxical coexistence of God's sovereignty and the decisions we make as humans. The best illustration posed, at least in aiding my understanding, is that of the will acting on what is most agreeable in any
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Scott Roper
I wonder if those wearing "Jonathan Edwards is my Homeboy" t-shirts have ever actually read him. Edwards writing is the exact opposite of John Owen. With Owen, if you blink, you miss at least one idea. Edwards, it seems, would never write one hundred words when one thousand would do. I found myself skimming if I got the idea of the argument from the first few sentences of a paragraph.

Putting his laborious writing style aside, there is not a whole lot to commend here. Edwards presents a mechanica
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Simon Wartanian
It was definitely a very hard read for me. I've heard that Edwards is verbose and I think that it is right.
Besides the Bible there is not a book that I so carefully tried to understand, but yet not completely understand. But I'm thankful for Sam Storm's essay on Edwards titled "Free Will: Fettered Yet Free", helped me a lot to understand Edwards' concept of the Freedom of the Will. It was also hard because it was very highly philosophical, I'm used to reading books that have a lot of Scripture i
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Alex Nolette
Certainly asks serious questions about the western world's views on the liberty of choices.
Jeremy Egerer
Almost absolutely sure, after reading this book, that Jonathan Edwards was the most brilliant thinker than America ever produced. Also somewhat strange realizing about a third of the way through the book that I'd unknowingly held so many Arminian positions -- until Edwards entirely demolished them.

A brilliant treatise of the liberty of man, the concept of the will, and the requirement of moral necessity for virtue. An A+ read, although extremely difficult.
Daniel Alvers
Edwards is astonishing in this work and I will spend my life thinking and reading on these arguements. I am not sure they are even answerable. He so radiates the truth of scripture in such a profound way that you can't say much of anything. It feels as if no stone has been left unturned in the giant of a work. Everyone should read this volume and Luther's volume on the will as well.
Sergio Flores
This book was definitely a challenge to read, one of he hardest ones I've ever read. The book is an attempt to solve the issue of free will between Arminianism and Calvinism. He does use a bit of philosophy and also quotes some of the big thinkers of that time but He does his best to convey lofty ideas in terms that most Christians can understand. This is a good book overall
Jen
Great book! Jonatan Edwards was clearly an intellectual. I do, however, think the reader should remember that he is using one extreme (Calvinism) to argue against another extreme (Arminianism) neither of which I completely agree with. In parties of two different extremes arguing against each other, important info usually gets lost in the middle. Look at Congress!
Josh
The best work I've ever read on the Calvinist view of the will. The hardest book I've read in a long time, too, but well worth it. Edwards doesn't just argue that maybe Calvinism isn't fatalism; he argues that it fits with reason and common sense, and Arminianism is the view that is contradictory and unnatural.
Bryce Lee
A little hard to drag through, I find myself only reading a few pages at a time. Still, no one addresses the logical impossibility of a truly self-determining will better than John Edwards. Required reading for all . . . well . . . Christians!
Brian
In terms of theology, it receives high marks. Defending the biblical notion of total depravity is a worthy cause. In terms of readability, abysmal. I can see philosophy students engaging it but not laymen as this prose is damn near opaque.
Mike
It was a dense, philosophical read, but in the end was an incredible argument for God's sovereignty. I will probably have to read it again someday for a fuller understanding, but the 40% I digested was great.
John Yelverton
It is a masterpiece for the argument for predestination. My only complaint, is that Edward's arguments are so "high brow" that many readers will be easily lost in the philosophical discussions.
Aaron Carlberg
Oh, Jonathan Edwards...probably the greatest preacher and thinker the American church has ever produced (in my unbiased opinion). Edwards writes like Edwards and may be hard to follow.
Sam
Communicated the same message as "Bondage of the Will" by Luther. Simply from a different perspective. Persuasive, fiery, to the point.
Eric
Very good book but very hard to read and I had to read it very slowly. Don't let this be your first Jonathan Edwards book.
Michael Springer
Most difficult book I've ever read. Good stuff. Just really hard to plow through.
Dane
It's a monumental work. Challenging, but important.
Brandon Barnes
This should be on every Christian's bookshelf.
Philip
Havent quite finished it as yet.
Kurt
Feb 10, 2009 Kurt is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, but this will be awhile.
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  • Reformed Doctrine of Predestination
  • The Mystery of Providence (Puritan Paperbacks)
  • God's Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (with the Complete Text of the End for Which God Created the World)
  • Willing to Believe: The Controversy Over Free Will
  • The Death of Death in the Death of Christ
  • The Bondage of the Will
  • Redemption Accomplished and Applied
  • A Body of Divinity: Contained in Sermons upon the Westminster Assembly's Catechism
  • The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (A Theology of Lordship)
  • The Potter's Freedom: A Defense of the Reformation and the Rebuttal of Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free
  • Lectures on Calvinism
  • The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way
  • Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
  • Van Til's Apologetic, Readings and Analysis
  • The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented
  • Christianity and Liberalism
  • The Christ of the Covenants
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database named Jonathan Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards was the most eminent American philosopher-theologian of his time, and a key figure in what has come to be called the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s.

The only son in a family of eleven children, he entered Yale in September, 1716 when he was not yet thirteen and graduated fou
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More about Jonathan Edwards...

Other Books in the Series

The Works of Jonathan Edwards: With a Memoir of His Life and Character (5 books)
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards: With a Memoir of His Life and Character, Volume 2
  • The Works of President Edwards: With a Memoir of His Life, Volume 2
  • The Works of President Edwards: With a Memoir of His Life, Volume 3
  • The Works of President Edwards: With a Memoir of His Life, Volume 5
The Religious Affections Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions: And Advice to Young Converts Charity & Its Fruits The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2 Volumes

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“Of all the knowledge that we can ever obtain, the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves, are the most important.” 95 likes
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