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God and Human Freedom

A Kierkegaardian Perspective


Tony Kim

In God and Human Freedom: A Kierkegaardian Perspective Tony Kim discusses Søren Kierkegaard’s concept of historical unity between the divine and human without disparaging their absolute distinction. Kim’s central analysis between the relation of God and human freedom in Kierkegaard presents God’s absoluteness as superseding human freedom, intervening at every point of His relation with the world and informing humanity of their existentially passive being. Kim argues Kierkegaard is not a strict voluntarist but deeply acknowledges God’s absoluteness and initiative over and against human life. Moreover, the author’s exploration of unity in Kierkegaard points to the very ethics of who God is, one who loves the world. Ultimately, God manifests that love in Jesus Christ, representing God’s ultimate reconciliation with the world in his humility.
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Chapter 1. Introduction


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The God-Freedom Relation

The question concerning the relation between God and human freedom in Kierkegaard is a difficult one. The reason is due to his emphatic focus on freedom. Some see his view as affirming total absence of divine constraint in human life.

For example, a Kierkegaard scholar, Louis Pojman, claims Kierkegaard is a strict proponent of human freedom and sees faith as something which is “essentially active and experienced as a result of one’s willful choice of action.”1 He writes:

Although Kierkegaard is not always as lucid as he could be in these discussions of faith/belief (Tro), the context usually makes the concept tolerably clear. Most of what he says I take to be insightful and plausible; however, there is one place where I think Kierkegaard’s theory bears especially close scrutiny. I refer his doctrine of volitionalism: the thesis that we can attain beliefs by willing to have them, and that we ought to attain some beliefs in this manner.2

In Pojman’s view, Kierkegaard thinks of human will as that which independently achieves religious faith without dependence on God. ← 1 | 2 →

In this book, I will exam the problem of God-freedom relation in Kierkegaard. Contrary to his critics, such as Pojman and others, I will argue Kierkegaard is not a strict voluntarist but acknowledges the absoluteness and the initiative of the transcendent over and against human life. Specifically,...

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