Consider the following plausible principle:
- If x's character are such that they causally necessitate x's doing wrong in circumstances C, then (a) the character is in some way vicious or (b) x is not culpable for doing wrong in C (or both).
Now, Calvinists are typically compatibilists. There are, however, two relevant senses of determinism: determinism by divine causality (d-determinism) and determinism by finite causes (f-determinism). Likewise, there are two senses of compatibilism: d-compatibilism asserts the compatibility between d-determinism and freedom, while f-compatibilism asserts the compatibility between f-determinism and freedom. The kind of Calvinist response to the problem of sin that I sketched in the comments to my preceding post require f-determinism and f-compatibilism.
But now consider this argument:
- (Premise) Antecedently to sin, the first sinner had character that were in no way vicious.
- (Premise) The first sinner was culpable for the first sin.
- (Premise) If f-determinism holds, the first sinner was necessitated to sin by his character in the circumstances in which he sinned.
- If f-determinism holds, the first sinner, antecedently to sin, had a character that was in some way vicious or he was not culpable for the first sin. (1 and 4)
- F-determinism does not hold. (2, 3 and 5)
The present argument together with the previous provides a dilemma for the Calvinist. Given Calvinism, either f-determinism or mere d-determinism holds. If f-determinism holds, the present argument leads to absurdity. If d-determinism holds, however, then it does not appear easy to get out of the objection that God intendingly causes people to sin (x intendingly causes A iff A fulfills x's intention that A occur; to cause intendingly is more than to intend and cause[note 1] and may be more than to cause intentionally[note 2]).