(Book: First Apology, by Justin Martyr, courtesy of The Christian Classics Ethereal Library.)
Let’s see, where were we? For the past several chapters, Justin has been telling us how God (meaning the One True God) has everything under His control, and foretold even the most minute details of Jesus birth, death, and alleged resurrection. In Chapter 58, though, Justin’s mind goes off on a new tangent. Apparently he worries that, if God predicted everything in advance, some people will draw the conclusion that all of men’s actions are predestined by fate.
But lest some suppose, from what has been said by us … that whatever happens, happens by a fatal necessity … this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets … that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions… For if it be fated that this man, e.g., be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed. And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be.
That’s not necessarily the direction I’d have gone if I were Justin, but he seems to think it’s a valid concern, so it will be interesting to hear his arguments against predestination.
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