Edwards on permission

Jonathan Edwards presents a view of permission that promotes the very proud boast that God punished the king of Assyria for -- the proud boast of the Assyrian king was that God is not in control of his actions.  In short, Jonathan Edwards is in league with the Assyrian king.


"[T]here is a great difference between God's being concerned thus, by his permission, in an event and act, which, in the inherent subject and agent of it, is sin, (though the event will certainly follow on his permission,) and his being concerned in it by producing it and exerting the act of sin; or between his being the orderer of its certain existence, by not hindering it, under certain circumstances, and his being the proper actor or author of it, by a positive agency or efficiency. ... So, inasmuch as sin is not the fruit of any positive agency or influence of the Most High, but, on the contrary, arises from the withholding of his action and energy, and, under certain circumstances, necessarily follows on the want of his influence ... men never commit sin, but only when God leaves them to themselves, and necessarily sin when he does so ... As it has been demonstrated, that the futurity of all future events is established by previous necessity, either natural or moral, so it is manifest, that the sovereign Creator and Disposer of the world has ordered this necessity, by ordering his own conduct, either in designedly acting, or forbearing to act. For, as the being of the world is from God, so the circumstances in which it had its being at first, both negative and positive, must be ordered by him, in one of these ways; and all the necessary consequences of these circumstances must be ordered by him. And God's active and positive interpositions, after the world was created, and the consequences of these interpositions, also every instance of his forbearing to interpose, and the sure consequences of this forbearance, must all be determined according to his pleasure. And therefore every event, which is the consequence of any thing whatsoever, or that is connected with any foregoing thing, or circumstance, either positive or negative, as the ground or reason of its existence, must be ordered of God, either by a designing efficiency and interposition, or a designed forbearing to operate or interpose. ... God does decisively, in his providence, order all the volitions of moral agents, either by positive influence or permission; and it being, allowed, on all hands, that what God does in the affair of man's virtuous volitions, whether it be more or less, is by some positive influence, and not by mere permission, as in the affair of a sinful volition." (Jonathan Edwards, Freedom of the Will) SOURCE