A.A. Hodge’s Outlines of theology (2)

A.A. Hodge, in his Outlines of Theology (“attributes of God” heading; “absolute goodness of God subheading”) writes the following:

“71. What are the different theories or assumptions on which it has been attempted to reconcile the existence of sin with the goodness of God?

1st. It has been argued by some that free agency is essential to a moral system, and that absolute independence of will is essential to free agency. That to control the wills of free agents is no more an object of power than the working of contradictions; and consequently God, although omnipotent, could not prevent sin in a moral system without violating its nature.— See Dr. N. W. Taylor’s “Concio ad Clerum,” 1828 (p. 160; italics Hodges).

As far as I know *some people* use the terms “free will” and “free agency” interchangeably and synonymously, while others make distinctions between these two terms. Hodge appears to be enunciating the Arminian view, when speaking of “absolute independence of will.” Of course, Calvinists like Hodge admit a “partial independence of will” when they assert that in things pertaining to sin, man has an “absolute independence of will” — they might object that man’s will is not independent since they believe that God restrains the sinful will of man. But they would have to admit that when it comes time for a man (e.g., Judas Iscariot) to sin a specific sin, there IS (in their blinded minds) “absolute independence of will” from God’s active controlling sovereignty at that particular point.

2nd. Others have argued that sin was permitted by God in infinite wisdom as the necessary means to the largest possible measure of happiness in the universe as a whole.

On both of these we remark––

1st. That the first theory above cited is founded on a false view of the conditions of human liberty and responsibility (see below, Chapter 15); and, further, that it grossly limits the power of God by representing him as desiring and attempting what he cannot effect, and that it makes him dependent upon his creatures.

2nd. With reference to the second theory it should be remembered that God’s own glory, and not the greatest good of the universe, is the great end of God in creation and providence.

3rd. The permission of sin, in its relation both to the righteousness and goodness of God, is an insolvable mystery, and all attempts to solve it only darken counsel with words without knowledge. It is, however, the privilege of our faith to know, though not of our philosophy to comprehend, that it is assuredly a most wise, righteous, and merciful permission; and that it shall redound to the glory of God and to the good of his chosen” (p. 160).

A.A. Hodge is the one who darkens counsel with hypocritical-mutiny-cloaking-pseudo-humble words without knowledge when he says that sin, “in its relation both to the righteousness and goodness of God, is an insolvable mystery.” Hodge further says that “all attempts to solve it only darken counsel with words without knowledge” — and then he hypocritically proceeds to make an attempt to “solve” it.

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