Love, Freedom, and Evil

Does Authentic Love Require Free Will?


The defining premise of the Relational Free Will Defense is the claim that authentic love requires free will. Many scholars, including Gregory Boyd and Vincent Brümmer, champion this claim. Best-selling books, such as Rob Bell’s Love Wins, echo that love “cannot be forced, manipulated, or coerced. It always leaves room for the other to decide.” The claim that love requires free will has even found expression in mainstream Hollywood films, including Frailty, Bruce Almighty, and The Adjustment Bureau.
The analysis shows convincingly that the claim that authentic love requires free will, does not meet the criteria of consistency, compatibility with Scriptural sources, and the demands of concrete encounter with problems of moral evil.

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"The analytical rigor of his exposition, the way in which the argumentation has been structured to progressively sharpen and deepen the focus of the critique, the compelling clarity of his thought and the almost blistering style of his writing, his ingenious ability to invigorate the discussion with metaphor, thought experiments and examples from ordinary life, and his evident mastery of the relevant literature, are only some of the outstanding features of what can rightfully be described as a tour de force." – Willie van der Merwe, VU University Amsterdam / Stellenbosch University
"The manuscript provides a well written critical analysis of the Relational Free Will Defence and is a significant and original contribution to current scholarship in philosophical theology ... Even those scholars who (like myself) do not agree with the author’s preferred solutions, cannot merely dismiss his arguments, but will be necessitated to provide adequate counter arguments in order to uphold their alternative views. In this way the manuscript is a worthy contribution to the current debate. Even his opponents can learn much from his argument." – Vincent Brümmer, Utrecht University
"Why another book on the problem of evil? Judging by the volume of scholarly and popular work on this subject in recent decades, this perennial and vexing human question remains very much on our hearts and minds. Every now and again, though, there are truly new treatments that move the ball down the field. This is such a volume. Simultaneously rigorous and sympathetic in its engagement with contemporary defenders of libertarian free will, Williams also contributes fresh insights of his own to a debate in which “nothing new under the sun” is often the rule. Especially among those of us who think they’ve already made up their minds on this question, Love, Freedom and Evil not only deserves but demands a serious reading and evaluation." – Michael Horton, Westminster Seminary California
Evil and the Autonomous Heart. Rethinking Free Will as a Condition of Authentic Love
The Relational Free Will Defense
The Axiom of Libertarian Love
True Love: Is Freedom from the Heart Indubitable or Dubious?
Freedom and the Enslaved Heart. Depth Capacity and the Case for Libertarian Free Will
The Moral Imperative Argument: Does Ought Imply Can?
The Grievous Resistance Argument: Does Divine Grief Imply Human Autonomy?
The Relational Vision Argument: Can One Guarantee Another's Love?
Love and the Reformed Heart: The Scope of Divine Action in Human Love
Five Models of Divine Action in Human Love
Heart Reformation and the Bible
The Problems of Evil Revisited
Epilogue. What a Difference One Word Makes
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