Fundamentally, Compatibilism and Libertarian Free Will (LFW) both run on the premise that “We have wills, but our will is influenced by factors such as environment, genetics, mood, etc.”

Where the two differ is on number of real options we can choose.

Under Compatibilism, our will ALWAYS chooses our greatest desire. Hence there is only ever one real option.

Under LFW, we can choose from a RANGE of options each compatible with our nature. Hence there is (at least sometimes) more than one real option. This is often referred to as the Principle of Alternative Possibilities or PAP.

Hence the two systems are based on fundamentally similar premises, yet with very different results.

Tim Stratton (Calvinist turned Molinist) when chatting with Eli Ayala (Molinist turned Calvinist) parsed it this way: He is a Compatibilistic Libertarian, as opposed to a Compatibilistic Determinist.


Now, how do we test each hypothesis?

If in any particular event there is only one real option, then either Compatibilism or LFW is true. Hence a single event or even many events are not wide enough a sample of cases to test the hypotheses.

If EVERY single event ever has only one real option, then Compatibilism is true and LFW is false.

If there is EVER any event where there is more than one real option, then Compatibilism is false and LFW is true. Hence it’s clear that proving LFW has a much lower bar.

And thus, the above is why LFW proponents like to point to 1 Cor 10:13 as follows:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with THE TEMPTATION he will also provide THE WAY OF ESCAPE, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13.

It says that in every event, we have more than one real option – specifically, at least two (TEMPTATION or WAY OF ESCAPE). This fits with LFW (which remember, already doesn’t even need to be true in every event, just some events).

But if Compatibilism is true then we only have one real choice, in every event ever. This would falsify 1 Cor 10:13. Compatibilism (and other forms of Determinism) are the exact opposite of what 1 Cor 10:13 states.

1 Cor 10:13 – “We ALWAYS have at more than one real option.”
Compatibilism – “We NEVER have more than one real option.”

Thank you for attending my TED Talk.

See also: Passages That Exclude Divine Determinism

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One Response to “COMPATIBILISM, LFW, REAL OPTIONS & 1 COR 10:13”

  1. Ron Says:

    Maybe consider this…

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