Degrees of freedom

In statistics, they speak of degrees of freedom.

Our body illustrates degrees of freedom.  Our feet need to be stable for our foundation and so the joints of our feet are stable and fixed with little movement.   The ankle has a little more movement.  Our knees have more movement in one plane, and less movement than the ankle in other planes.

Our hips have a greater degree of freedom than our knees, and our shoulders have even more than our hips.  The higher we go, the more freedom.  Our head moves on our spine with a remarkable degree of freedom being able to move in all planes.

Our brain, housed in our head, has even more freedom of action.  Our soul united to our bodies, presumably through our brain, has even more freedom.

“God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined, to good or evil”

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter IX, Of Free Will, Section 1.

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 9 is about Free Will.

Section 1, quoted above, is about the will of man as such.

Section 2 is about the freedom of man’s will in the state of innocency.

Section 3 is about the bondage of man’s will after the Fall of Adam, celebrated in Martin Luther’s book on the Bondage of the Will.

Section 4 is about the change when the enabling power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God regenerates a sinner by God’s grace.

Section 5 is about the Will of man in the state of glory in heaven.

The four states of man – in Innocency, after the Fall, in a state of grace and a state of glory – are explained by Thomas Boston in his celebrated book Human Nature in its Fourfold State, which was, along with the Bible, read in most Christian homes in Scotland in earlier centuries.

Jonathan Edwards, the American theologian of revival and Christian experience, wrote a significant work on the Freedom of the Will.

Samuel Bolton‘s The True Bounds of Christian Freedom deals with the place of the law in the Christian life, explaining the proper relationship between Christian freedom and obedience to Christ, being ‘under law to Christ’ 1Cor 9:21. The extremes of legalism and antinomianism (ignoring the law of God) are unbiblical but commonly seen among Christians.

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