One of the key presuppositions of many libertarian free will incompatibilist theists like Leighton Flowers is the assumption of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities. I will be calling this PAP for short and I will refer to Libertarian Freewill as LFW. In his article on freewill he states quite clearly that:
LFW (or contra-causal freedom) is “the categorical ability of the will to refrain or not refrain from a given moral action.”
He continues saying that:
It makes no practical sense to hold mankind responsible (response-able) to Christ’s words, if indeed they are unable-to-respond to those words, nor is it ever explicitly taught in Scripture.
In other words this kind of PAP is a key presumption for Leighton's LFW version, and is a necessary precondition for moral praise and blame. So what exactly is meant by the "Categorical ability to do otherwise" here? Leighton's version of LFW and PAP would be something like:
An agent S has the ability to choose or do otherwise than ϕ at time t if and only if it was possible, holding fixed everything up to t, that S choose or do otherwise than ϕ at t.
In other words if this categorical ability version of PAP is necessary for moral responsibility then without it a person cannot be morally praised or blamed. Which is just to say they cannot be held morally responsible. But is it true that that the categorical ability to do otherwise is necessary for moral praise and blame logically and biblically? I will contend here that the answer is a clear no.
The Argument from the Impeccability of God's Righteousness
Premise 1 - God always chooses and acts righteously, and lacks the categorical ability to do otherwise than acting righteously.
According to scripture there are many things God does not have the categorical ability to do otherwise. God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18; Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Romans 3:4; Titus 1:2; 1 John 1:10; and 1 John 5:10). God cannot break a promise or be unfaithful (Psalm 89:34; Leviticus 26:44; Jeremiah 14:21; and Jeremiah 33:20–22). God cannot stop loving you (Jeremiah 31:3; Deuteronomy 7:7–9; Psalm 103:17; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:3–6; and 1 John 4:19). God cannot be tempted by nor tempt anyone with evil (James 1:12-13). God cannot stop being God nor deny himself (Psalm 90:2; 2 Timothy 2:13). God cannot sin because he is holy (Psalm 99; Revelation 4:8), righteous (Psalm 97; Romans 3:26), just (Psalm 97:2; Genesis 18:25) and good (Psalm 34:8; Mark 10:18).
Premise 2 - God is morally praiseworthy, that is, he is morally responsible, for his
righteous choices and actions.
On the other hand in scripture we find that while God does not have the categorical ability to do otherwise regarding these things because of his perfect essential moral character or nature he can and is praised and blamed precisely for lacking this ability altogether. The Psalmist tells us to praise God for his love endures forever even though God cannot stop loving (Psalm 106:1; 107:1; 135:3). Despite God's inability to stop being God and his inability to not be good we read "Great is the lord, and greatly to be praised" (Psalm 48:1; 145:3; Psalm 150:2).
Therefore Moral responsibility does not require the categorical ability to do otherwise.
If this is true on the highest level then it follows on the lowest level considering that mankind is created in the image of God. In the next post I will go over some responses or possible objections and expound a bit, but consider all of this seriously brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you seriously want to be put into a position where we could not morally praise God? I hope not. We have a perfect God and Savior who can save to the uttermost, and clearly there is no possible world in which a perfect maximally good God and Savior having the categorical ability to sin or be unrighteous is feasibly a good making property. The very existence of God himself shows this conception of PAP and LFW to be false according to scripture and logic.
15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15 NAU)