Menslike vryheid in konteks en perspektief
Raath, Andries Wilhelmus Gerhardus
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Part I of this thesis starts with the problem of human freedom. Part II of this thesis deals with the Calvinistic theory of human freedom. In order to study the theoretical foundations of human freedom in Calvinistic philosophy, it is essential to distinguish between the Philosophy of the cosmonomic idea and the Philosophy of the creation idea. Although there are minor points of difference between these streams of thought it is clear that in essence the fundamental cosmological principles between these philosophies are the same. An analysis of the Philosophy of the cosmonomic idea reveals that the fundamental principle underlying man's freedom was first formulated by prof. dr. H. Dooyeweerd: only through the salvation of Christ Jesus can man receive and know true human freedom. As far as human freedom is concerned it is clear that prof. dr. H.G. Stoker further developed this fundamental principle in the Philosophy of the creation idea. Much along the same lines as the Philosophy of the COSIIOnomic idea H.G. Stoker stresses that an analysis of human freedom should fulfill the following conditions: (a) Human freedom is self-insufficient and must essentially be distinguished from the freedom of God; (b) an analysis of human freedom should be an analysis of positive freedom; (c) human freedom is intimately connected with man as a concrete whole and with his destiny on earth; and (d) human freedom presupposes a real choice between different possible acts, ultimately between obeying and disobeying the principles of order concerned. Furthermore H.G. Stoker reveals that the nature of human freedom should be discovered by observing how man occupies himself and how his doings essentially differ from animal activity; human mastery is creativity; human freedom is no caprice, nor something arbitrary. but is governed by the principle of order and human freedom is finally the realisation of a divine calling: (a) his innate abilities and talents call man to master, to create, to be free; (b) his circumstances, the problems which confront him, and the tasks presented to him, appeal to his mastery and creativity. Among men, human freedom is realised as a coherent differentiation of freedom. Formally and in relation to God and the universe in general, all human beings are equally free. But materially and in relation to the abilities, talents and circumstances concerned, the freedom of the one differs from the freedom of the other. Not equality but inequality, not similarity, but dissimilarity, is the key to an understanding of the realisation of human freedom. In the light of the principle of the coherent differentiation of human freedom it becomes clear that prof. D.F.M. Strauss has made an important contribution to an understanding of the freedom of structures and temporal things. Without the human act-structure in its enkaptic interwoveness (D.F.M. Strauss) as well as the state's enkaptic interwoveness with other societal spheres (e.g. the church) man cannot be free. In Part III the humanistic (rationalistic and irrationalistic) theories of human freedom are subjected to a critical analysis. This reveals that (a) humanistic theories of human freedom are essentially nominalistic; (b) humanistic theories of human freedom harbour mostly negative viewpoints; (c) these theories furthermore arise when a particular human freedom is equated to the whole of human freedom; and (d) fourthly humanistic theories of human freedom identify human freedom with the choice between several possible acts. Part IV emphasises the fact that the correct religious perspective on human freedom presupposes the correct context within which human freedom can be approached. For the purposes of this study such a context is found in the light of God's Word. Within this context it is revealed that human freedom is based on four fundamental principles, namely (a) that of the Absolute Ground of human freedom; (b) that of the cosmic essential ground of human freedom; (c) that of the cosmic universal ground of human freedom; and (d) the cosmic dependant ground of human freedom. Finally this study serves as a call on all Calvinist scholars to develop these theories of human freedom in the light of God's Word and on the foundations of other builders of a Calvinistic theory of human freedom.