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God and Human Freedom

A Kierkegaardian Perspective

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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 3. Unity of Faith and Reason

Extract

← 44 | 45 →

·3·

UNITY OF FAITH AND REASON

Kierkegaard on Freedom and Grace

Despite the fact that Kierkegaard opposes human autonomy, some disagree. They argue he propagates autonomy and the fact is most transparent in his discussion of freedom and grace. One critic who advocates that argument is Timothy Jackson. Jackson states, “Kierkegaard and his pseudonyms offer a consistent, and consistently Arminian, account of grace and freedom.”1

Jackson calls Kierkegaard Arminian for three reasons: 1. His “commitment to universal access to the highest things, over and against belief in double predestination or Christ’s limited atonement for the elect.” 2. “His commitment to equal responsibility before the highest things, over and against strong versions of sacerdotalism or spiritual collaboration.” 3. His “commitment to human freedom, freedom of choice, and what might be called ‘true’ freedom, over and against fatalistic doctrines of irresistible grace or an overly rationalized account of moral and religious commitment.”2

First, by commitment to universal access what Jackson implies is Kierkegaard holds that a person “can grasp the highest,” namely the universal or religion. One can achieve his or her own salvation. In support Jackson quotes a passage from Kierkegaard’s Journal. It reads: “I cannot abandon the thought ← 45 | 46 → that every man, however simple he is, however much he may suffer, can nevertheless grasp the highest, namely religion.”3 Jackson also refers to Philosophical Fragments as evidence of Kierkegaard’s Arminianism. He writes: “Johannes...

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