On the Bondage of the Will, by Martin Luther Essay

On the Bondage of the Will, by Martin Luther Essay

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The year is 1524; Desiderius Erasmus, the famed humanist scholar, has finally chosen a side in the debate between the Catholic Church and Martin Luther by publishing his Diatribe on Free Will (Waibel 71). Prompted by Pope Adrian IV to distance his own humanist work from the spiritual reform of Luther, Erasmus’s Free Will asserts how important humanity’s freewill is in the effort of salvation (Tomlin 139). His view was a direct assault against Luther's own vocal opinion on the subject (Waibel 72). Both Luther and Erasmus were well aware of the theological differences between them. Erasmus, having been suspected of contributing to Luther’s rebellion against the medieval church, at last made the differences between himself and Luther clear in print (Waibel 71). Luther responded to Erasmus’ provocation a year later with his own book On the Bondage of the Will (Waibel 81). On the Bondage of the Will seeks to assert that there is no such thing as ‘freewill’ due to God’s foreknowledge of all things, and thus the human will has no role in the spiritual salvation of humanity. We can use Luther’s book to answer important questions on worldview: What is prime reality, external reality and the basis for morality? We will look at each of these questions in greater detail later and exactly how Luther’s book is addressing these important questions.
The year of 1525 was a momentous year for Martin Luther. At Luther’s urging, the German princes crushed the peasant revolt; the decisive victory ended the lives of thousands of men, women, and children (Waibel 21). In June Luther married Katherine von Bora, an ex-Cistercian nun, and the marriage was a happy one by all accounts. In December Luther published his book On the Bondage of the Will, a counte...


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...certain and he is eternal, God is our prime reality. He created and controls our external reality, and he is the sole basis for morality as we have no control over the matters of good and evil. Inescapably, we can see in On the Bondage of the Will that Luther has crafted a master thesis, asserting in contrast to Erasmus, that there is no such thing as ‘freewill’.



Works Cited
Luther, Martin. "On the Bondage of the Will (Abridged)." Luther's Bondage of the Will. The Reformed Reader, 1999. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.
Marshall, Peter. "Chapter 2: Salvation." The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 42-59. Print.
Tomlin, Graham. "Chapter 7: The Breach." Luther and His World. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2002. 135-53. Print.
Waibel, Paul R. Martin Luther: A Brief Introduction to His Life and Works. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 2005. Print.

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