God's sovereignty and man's responsibility, part 3
In case you didn't read that, let me explain the difference between a natural ability/inability and a moral ability/inability. If I have a natural ability to do something, that means I'm physically able to do it. If I have a natural inability, that means I'm physically unable. For example, if I have no legs, I have a natural inability to walk.
A moral inability consists in lacking the desire or inclination to do something. Since the will always acts on a motive, it cannot act without a motive. I have a moral inability to walk if I lack any inclination whatsoever to walk.
Okie dokie, with that out of the way, let's move on. We've seen (or assumed or taken my word for it) that we can be morally responsible even if we are unable to do otherwise provided the inability is a moral inability, and not a natural inability. Whereas we would excuse somebody for not walking since he had no legs, we wouldn't excuse somebody for not walking just because they had no desire to walk. The lack of desire amounts to a moral inability and doesn't excuse disobedience. As long as we have a natural ability, we are responsible even without a moral ability.
The proper object of command is the will, since it's the will that either obeys or disobeys. It's the actions of the will, then, that determine whether a person is worthy of praise or blame. A person is morally praiseworthy if they act on good motives and blameworthy if they act on bad motives. As we've seen, though, the motives themselves are not under the control of the will. They are caused by something else.
Since a person is morally responsible for acting on a bad motive even though the motive is caused by something other than the will, then it doesn't matter what the cause is. We cannot be praised or blamed for events that occur outside the will, so the causes of our motives cannot be the basis upon which we are excused or held responsible. Remember, the will is the object of command, not those things that lie outside of the will, including the causes for our motives. What makes us responsible, regardless of how the motive got there, is that our will is engaged in acting on the motive.
Whether the cause of our motives is our DNA, our environment, another person, or God, they all amount to the same thing--a motive that we did not choose. Since we can be held responsible for acting on motives that we did not choose, God's sovereignty is compatible with human responsibility. God may, either by causing or allowing, by direct or indirect means, create in us a motive to do wrong. But that does not excuse us, since we still act willfully.
God intended for Joseph's brothers to sell him into slavery, he intended Pharaoh to refuse to let Israel go, he intended Judas to betray Jesus, and he intended the Romans to crucify Jesus. If God's intention brought these events about, then ultimately God was the cause for the motives these people acted on in doing these things. Yet they were morally responsible.
to be continued...