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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 31, Issue 1/2, 2019

David Clark
Pages 3-19

Tertullian on Divine Sovereignty and Free Will
A Christian/Stoic Resolution

Christian thinkers in the patristic era were not reluctant to integrate classical philosophy with biblical theology as they addressed the seeming incompatibility of free will and determinism (fate). This paper compares and contrasts Tertullian and the Stoics as they explain three issues relating to freedom and fate: 1) The operation of the Logos, 2) Theological Anthropology, and 3) Teleology. While in agreement with the Stoics on several key points, Tertullian crucially departs from them as he argues it is not by necessity—but rather by voluntary collaboration between humanity and the Logos—that the Creation arrives at its determinate end.

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