Friday, October 3, 2008

Freedom in Naturalist Worldview is but an Illusion

C.H. Dodd highlights this well when he says in ref. to Romans 6:16:

... Either one is a slave of "sin" or a slave of "obedience."
Paul makes it clear in this "either...or" that there is no "possibility of
neutrality" (Kasemann). One is never "free" from a master, and those
non-Christians who think that they are "free" are under an illusion created and
sustained by Satan. The choice with which people are faced is not "Should
I retain my freedom or give it up and submit to God?" but "Should I serve sin or
should I serve God?"

Again on Romans 6:18, Dodd writes:

... we must remember that Pual's concept of freedom is not that of
autonomouse self-directin but of deliverance from those enslaving powers that
would prevent the human being from becoming what God intended. It is only
by doing God's will and thus knowing his truth that we can be "free


  1. Sword,
    We are set free by regeneration through the Spirit.

    Certainly, I understand the exhortation that Paul is making for believers to be sanctified. My comment was concerning this statement, It is only by doing God's will and thus knowing his truth that we can be "free indeed". This statement seems to suggest two types of Christians. Justified believers that only experience being free through their own effort of obedience or some kind of carnal Christian believer who is saved but is not free because of a lack of obedience. I believe Romans 8 and 1 John both assert that all Christians through the power of the Holy Spirit achieve being free (though not perfection). If I could quote the late D. James Kennedy, “If there is no sanctification in a persons life then there has been no justification.” I hope Dodd does not mean to suggest that some Christians fail to be free indeed which means they fail to be sanctified. Romans 8:14 makes it clear that all (100%) of believers are led by the Spirit of God. Not perfect, but a new creature in Christ that is free from the domination of sin. I believe Paul is comparing the flesh, law (legalism), sin, and death verses grace, spirit, and life in Chapters 6-8. Those in these chapters who Paul says are in the flesh are not saved. Thus, while sanctification is being presented, Paul is asserting that those who are in the flesh and not being led by the Spirit are not saved. IOW, the root will produce fruit……….

  2. Jazzy,

    First, let me state, the direction this discussion has gone was not my intent in the original post. It was simply to state that while unbelievers think they are "free", they are not.

    Second, you must be careful to "distinguish" what kind of "free" - dom you are referring to. For example, sometimes Paul uses it to speak of freedom from guilt (of sin) and condemnation (i.e. justification) at other times he uses it to refer to freedom from sin as a master.

    Third, rather than me speaking to the answer, let me ask you, is it possible for a justified believer (though ultimately freed from the dominion of sin - as a master) to still submit to sin (even as a master) for whatever reason (ignorance of the work of sanctification, fooled into thinking it doesn't matter if we sin, failing to understand that to give oneself to sin is to serve sin, failure to rightly value the righteousness & life God provides, etc.)?

    Fourth, I'd like to see you reconcile your statement "Those in these chapters who Paul says are in the flesh are not saved" with Paul's statement in v. 17 "But THANKS BE TO GOD that THOUGH you USED to be slaves to sin, YOU wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted." Again in v. 22 "But NOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN SET FREE FROM SIN and have BECOME SLAVES TO GOD..."