Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Excerpt from Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, page 263
Liberty and Necessity are Consistent; As in the
water, that hath not only liberty, but a necessity of
descending by the Channel: so likewise in the
Actions which men voluntarily doe; which (because
they proceed from their will) proceed from liberty;
and yet because every act of mans will, and every
desire, and inclination proceedeth from some cause,
and that another cause, which causes in a
continuall chaine (whose first link in the hand of
God the first of all causes) proceed from necessity.
So that to him that could see the connexion of
those causes, the necessity of all mens voluntary
actions, would appeare manifest. And therefore
God, that seeth, and disposeth all things, seeth also
that the liberty of man in doing what he will, is
accompanied with the necessity of doing that which
God will, & no more, nor lesse. For though men
may do many things, which God does not com-
mand, not is therefore Author of them; yet they
can have no passion, nor appetite any thing, of
which appetite Gods will is not the cause. And did
not his will assure the necessity of mans will, and
consequently of all that on mans will dependeth,
the liberty of men would be a contradiction, and
impediment to the omnipotence and liberty of God.
And this shall suffice, (as to the matter in hand) of that
naturall liberty, which only is properly called liberty.
I have a political theory class this semester, and we are reading some of the great minds of the Enlightenment and forward. I was excited about the book list, but the actual reading is rough. I have been putting my favorite quotes up on my twitter (@kuwalker) as they catch my eye.
But this one was different. The debate on Freewill vs Predestination has haunted me for quite some time. I've dismissed it for a while, calling it a "learn nothing" debate that only caused Christians to get mad at each other. Not exactly fruitful. Despite my efforts at cooling this debate, however, it popped its head up at various times whilst I was bounding across Europa. Then, just when I think I've escaped, who comes along with a wonderful quote that explains things rather nicely (albeit hard to read because of the Old English)?
Oh Murphy's Law, you never fail.