Determinism concerning human beings is the thesis that every action performed by a human is determined, that is, antecedently caused or fixed, by something else. The something else might be another agent, one's genes, one's upbringing, a prior state of the universe, God, or some combination of these factors. Most Christian philosophers that have been determinists have been theistic determinists, that is, have regarded human actions as being ultimately determined by God. Most non-Christian philosophers that have been determinists have held that human actions are determined by the prior states of the universe and the laws of nature. There has been a variety of opinion among Christian philosophers over exactly who is determined: whether it is (1) all unregenerate humans, (2) all humans with original sin (that is, excluding Jesus and Adam before the fall), (3) all nondivine humans (that is, excluding Jesus), (4) all creatures (that is, including angels), or (5) everything (including God, who is determined by his own nature). The major questions concerning determinism are (1) is it true? and (2) if determinism is true does it follow that those determined are not free? Those that answer 'yes' to (1) and (2) are called 'hard determinists', and those that answer 'yes' to (1), but 'no' to (2), are called 'soft determinists'. Those that answer 'no' to (1) and 'yes' to (2) are often called 'libertarians'. In general, those that answer 'no' to (2) are called 'compatibilists', those that answer 'yes' to (2) are called 'incompatibilists'.
   Further reading: Earman 1986; Helm 1993; van Inwagen 1983

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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