The Will to Deny Free Will and the Intelligence to Deny Intellect
That being the case, it can only be defended based upon selecting certain biblical passages and interpreting them in such a way that they not only contradict the overall thrust of scripture -- i.e., man as moral agent -- but also contradict the very people who put the book together.
The compilers would have been quite surprised to learn that they were promoting a doctrine that denies free will. Among other inconveniences, denial of free will renders life utterly meaningless, as meaningless as the world of pure chaos from which religion is here to rescue us.
To put it another way, absolute order and absolute chaos are both absolutely meaningless. Besides, no sane human being actually behaves as if he has no free will, for it is an impossible doctrine. Might as well pretend the world is just an extension of one's own imagination.
(By the way, the purpose of this post is not to argue with anyone, for such arguments are pointless, being that if someone believes in predestination, it is not because it is rational, but because he prefers to or is destined to, i.e., it is rooted in will, not intellect. So this is for my own clarification. No offense intended.)
The Catholic Catechism puts it about as clearly as possible, saying that "God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions." This is "so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him." I mean, if we aren't free, then Jesus's instruction to evangelize is pointless.
St. Irenaeus, a disciple of John and one of the earliest theologians on record, wrote that "Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts."
I suppose this common sense (to us) position had to be spelled out, because it was in direct contrast to the pagan view, which was indeed that man has no free will, but is a prisoner of fate and a plaything of the gods.
Christianity was unique -- along with Judaism, of course -- in promulgating this novel doctrine of human freedom and therefore dignity. One can draw a straight crooked line from those early pneumanauts to RIGHT HERE and NOW, where you and I are exercising our precious freedom. (Most of us, anyway; my site meter indicates we have readers in a number of unfree locales from outside the Judeo-Christian stream, yesterday, for example, Tunisia, Viet Nam, and Manhattan.)
Here again, the Catechism is quite lucid in defining the meaning of freedom, with hardly a wasted word: "Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility. By free will one shapes one's own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude."
And "the right to the exercise of freedom... is an inalienable requirement to the dignity of the human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority," Obama and illiberal leftism notwithstanding.
This is precisely what we were saying yesterday vis-a-vis the "three freedoms," i.e., horizontal <--> vertical <--> divine. And because we have free will, we inevitably fail to exercise it properly, hence the reality of sin. Among other things, predestination renders sin impossible because it fails to posit man as moral agent.
Rather, as the presaved commenter put it yesterday, only "the originals," i.e., Adam and Eve, had the freedom to choose God, and since they chose unwisely, we are all subject to the same punishment, and no longer free to so choose. It was a one-time-only offer, and they blew it for everyone.
I can't stand any presentation of religion that makes it look foolish and provides ammunition for postmodern sophisticates to ridicule and reject it. In my opinion this falls under the heading of taking the name of the lord in vain, which is a quite serious offense. After all, it blocks the path to salvation.
In concretizing the parable in this manner, its true meaning is lost. In other words, in making it about a historical "Adam and Eve," it is no longer about us, except indirectly, via hereditary collective punishment.
But if the parable is about us, then it goes directly to the misuse of our own freedom, here and now. According to tradition, "The grace of Christ is not in the slightest way a rival of our freedom when this freedom accords with the sense of the true and the good that God has put in the human heart."
While looking up another passage, I found this one from Schuon, that man "alone among terrestrial creatures is free to go against his own nature," hence the possibility of such intrinsic deviations as homosexual marriage and the like. Interestingly, he does not situate this liberty in the prelapsarian phase, but rather, only as a consequence of the fall, which "separates [man] first of all from that immanent Revelation which is Intellection."
In other words, the fall ushers us into a kind of meaningless horizontal freedom, no longer oriented to the divine attractor. Thus, "in God and through Him, man can be reunited with pure Liberty; only in God are we absolutely free" (ibid.).
Conversely, man "possesses the paradoxical freedom to wish in his turn to make himself God..." Ironic that this is precisely what predestination does, that is, turn man into God, since his self-styled "destiny" is indistinguishable from God's will.
This follows from an Intelligence Fail -- i.e., from a Major Malfunction in the use of our most precious gift -- in that "Intelligence separated from its supra-individual source is accompanied ipso facto by that lack of sense of proportions termed pride" (ibid.). Hence the irritating smugness of the Already Saved.
At the other end is the scientistic pride that "prevents intelligence become rationalism from rising to its source," here again elevating man to God. Numberless are the ways, both religious and secular, to "prove the absurd."
The final, ultimate freedom, the daring of freedom and the burden of freedom, is the virtue of religious maturity. To arrive at religious maturity means to know final freedom.... He who is not free, the slave, cannot enter the Kingdom of God: he is not a son of God; he is subject to lower spheres. --Berdyaev
Not that there's anything wrong with that.