Was Arminius an (Unwitting) Determinist? Another Look at Arminius’s Modal Logic

in Journal of Reformed Theology
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Eef Dekker argues, on the basis of a letter from Jacob Arminius to Johannes Uytenbogaert in 1598, that Arminius’s modal logic commits him to determinism. In this essay, I revisit Arminius’s modal logic. I grant that Dekker may be correct in his analysis of this letter and its contents, but I argue that Arminius’s musings in this letter are not representative of his mature thought. I argue that Arminius significantly alters his views, and that with a bit of further correction Arminius’s position can avoid determinism.

Was Arminius an (Unwitting) Determinist? Another Look at Arminius’s Modal Logic

in Journal of Reformed Theology




Eef Dekker“Jacobus Arminius and His Logic: Analysis of a Letter,” Journal of Theological Studies (1993) pp. 118–142. Dekker notes that Carl Bangs translates part of this letter as well cf. Carl Bangs Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation (Nashville: Abingdon 1971) pp. 203–205.


Dekker“Logic” p. 126.


E.g.Epistolae p. 57; Dekker “Logic” p. 139. Arminius does much more here as well but the present examples suffice.


Dekker“Logic” p. 126.


Dekker“Logic” p. 126.


Dekker“Logic” p. 127.


Dekker“Logic” p. 128. He thinks that the most that Arminius does to mitigate this determinism is to introduce “a kind of epistemological indeterminism on the human side” but he thinks that this move “does not loosen the ties of metaphysical determinism and leads to further incoherences” “Logic” p. 138.


William Lane Craig and J.P. MorelandPhilosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press2003) p. 49.


E.g. Dekker“Logic” pp. 138 142.


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