motivators behind our actions as Christians in class this morning, fear of and love of Christ. Unrelated to that topic but very much on my mind these days is the question of why Christians stumble. Came across this from Hodge this morning that made me think.
The Argument from Consciousness.
A third argument on this subject is derived from consciousness. It is conceded that every man is conscious of liberty in his voluntary acts. It is concealed further that this consciousness proves the fact of free agency. The validity of this argument urged by the advocates of contingency against the doctrine of necessity in any such form as involves a denial of this fact of consciousness, we fully admit. The doctrine opposed by Reid and Stewart, as well as by many continental writers, was really a doctrine which denied both the liberty and responsibility of man. This is not the Augustinian or Edwardean doctrine, although unhappily both are expressed by the same terms. The one is the doctrine of physical or mechanical necessity; the other that of certainty. As between the advocates of the latter theory and the defenders of contingency, it is agreed that man is a free agent; it is further agreed that it is included in the consciousness of free agency, that we are efficient and responsible authors of our own acts, that we had the power to perform or not to perform any voluntary act of which we were the authors. But we maintain that we are none the less conscious that this intimate conviction that we had power not to perform an act, is conditional. That is, we are conscious that the act might have been otherwise had other views or feelings been present to our minds, or been allowed their due weight. No man is conscious of a power to will against his will; that is, the will, in the narrow sense of the word, cannot be against the will in the wide sense of the term. This is only saying, that a man cannot prefer against his preference or choose against his choice. A volition is a preference resulting in a decision. A man may have one preference at one time and another at another. He may have various convicting feelings or principles in action at the same time; but he cannot have coexisting opposite preferences. What consciousness teaches on this subject seems to be simply this: that in every voluntary act we had some reason for acting as we did; that in the absence of that reason, or in the presence of others, which others we may feel ought to have been present, we should or could have acted differently. Under the reasons for an act are included all that is meant by the word motives, in the subjective sense of the term; i. e., principles, inclinations, feelings, etc. We cannot conceive that a man can be conscious that, with his principles, feelings, and inclinations being one way, his will may be another way. A man filled with the fear of God, or with the love of Christ, cannot will to blaspheme his God or Saviour. That fear or love constitutes For the time being the man. He is a man existing in that state, and if his acts do not express that state they are not his.
Hodge, C. (1997). Systematic theology. Originally published 1872. (2:303). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
I thought that was pretty interesting. Have to mediate on it for awhile. On the subject of today’s discussion, I thought this was pretty interesting.
We have already seen that devotion to God consists of three essential elements: the fear of God, the love of God, and the desire for God. Think of a triangle representing devotion to God, with these three elements as each of its three points.
The fear of God and the love of God form the base of the triangle, while the desire for God is at the apex. As we study these elements individually, we will see that the fear of God and the love of God form the foundation of true devotion to God, while the desire for God is the highest expression of that devotion.
Bridges, J. (1983). The practice of godliness. “A navigator book.” (17). Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress.