Turretin On The Covenant Of Nature (4)

VI. The liberty of Adam was not the liberty of independence (as if he was irresponsible [anypeuthynos] and absolutely his own master) because he ought always to be in subjection (as a creature to his Creator, as a second cause to the first and to depend upon his will). It was not the liberty of a will undetermined by the practical intellect; for this would have changed the will into an irrational appetite, so that he would have sought evil as evil. This would not have been so much liberty as an unbridled license, incompatible (asystatos) with the image of God. But there was in him another threefold liberty:

(1) from coaction;

(2) from physical necessity;

(3) from slavery (both of sin and of misery). The former two constituted his essential liberty. It belongs to man in whatever state constituted and has two characteristics: preference (to proairetikon) and will (to hekousion), so that what is done may be done by a previous judgment of the reason and spontaneously. But the latter was accidental because it comes in upon the essential liberty and can be separated from it (since true liberty exists where such freedom from slavery does not exist, as in the state of sin).

FRANCIS TURRETIN, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, ed. James T. Dennison Jr., trans. George Musgrave Giger, vol. 1 (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1992–97), 8.1.6 (p. 570).

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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