The debate between predestination and “free” will has raged on for thousands of years now, and a recent post at Triablogue has raised anew an interest in this seemingly timeless conundrum for this beachbum. A verse in Sacred Scripture that always comes to the fore in such reflections is from the lips of our Lord:
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (Matthew 11:21 – KJV)
I discern two important issues concerning predestination and “free” will in this verse: first, contra Reformed doctrine, unregenerate folk (in the classic Reformed sense) sure seem to be capable of repentance under certain circumstances; and second, on the flip side, for a reason(s) unknown to us, the “certain circumstances” that would have produced repentance in the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida was withheld.
Personally, I think this very interesting verse can be harmonized with Augustinian and Thomistic thought; however, I also believe that it poses certain difficulties for Calvinism.
I sincerely wonder what others think about this verse…
Grace and peace,