One of the most heated theological debates taking place today, both among academics and laypersons, is the Calvinism vs. Arminianism issue. Essentially, this debate comes down to the relation between God’s sovereignty and human freedom. In Predestination and Free Will, 4 scholars trained in theology and philosophy consider this issue from distinct perspectives.
John Feinberg defends the Calvinist view of sovereignty. According to this view, God ordains all things. Humans don’t have libertarian free will. However, Feinberg contends that humans can still have compatibilistic freedom. According to this view, an agent has freedom as long as he or she is not unduly coerced by external factors. As long as a choice is made in accordance with one’s desires, the choice is free. Feinberg supports his view of sovereignty with Biblical arguments and also tried to show that there are philosophical difficulties with incompatibilist free will.
Norman Geisler defends a ‘moderate Calvinist’ view which is arguably an attempt to mesh Calvinism and Arminianism. This view is defended in more detail in his book Chosen But Free. His view is, in my opinion, difficult to actually understand. He declares that God’s predestination is neither based on nor done in spite of His foreknowledge, rather, God’s predestination is in accord with His foreknowledge. According to Geisler, we should think of God as “knowingly determining and determinately knowing from all eternity everything that happens, including all free acts.”  Geisler also offers a detailed defense of libertarian free will, responding to several objections against the view.
Bruce Reichenbach defends a more classical Arminian position, according to which God voluntarily withholds His power so that humans can have libertarian free will. He also defends the view that God has perfect foreknowledge of the future. According to Reichenbach, this does not prohibit truly free actions, because it is human free choices that determine God’s foreknowledge of what will occur.
Clark Pinnock defends a controversial version of Arminianism according to which God does not have foreknowledge of future human free choices. Pinnock thinks that true free will is impossible on Reichenbach’s account. Despite God’s ignorance of future free choices, Pinnock maintains that God is omniscient. It is simply logically impossible to know what future free choices will be made. Just as God’s omnipotence does not imply that He can make square circles, God’s omniscience does not imply that He can know (with absolute certainty), future free actions. Pinnock’s view, commonly called open theism or free will theism, is strongly opposed by many orthodox Christians but has also garnered sympathy from a number of others, including John Sanders, William Hasker, and Richard Swinburne.
One problem with this book was that authors were not given the opportunity to respond to the criticisms raised against their essays. This problem aside, however, Predestination and Free Will is an admirable effort to present the major Christian views being seriously discussed today. It is recommended for anyone who is interested in the topic of divine sovereignty and human freedom.