Moral vs natural inability in the Helvetic Consensus Formula

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Mr. Bultitude, Feb 16, 2015.

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  1. Mr. Bultitude

    Mr. Bultitude Puritan Board Freshman

    When reading the Helvetic Consensus Formula, I came across a distinction between "moral" and "natural" inability to obey God. The creed affirms that man has both types of inability, and indicates that there are some who deny a "natural" inability. This is in canons 16 and 17. Since the creed was written to counteract Amyraldianism, I wanted to know what exactly it was referring to.

    Charles Hodge (in volume 2 of his systematic theology) writes that Amyrald taught (among other things):

    Earlier in his systematic theology (still volume 2), Hodge explicates orthodox view:

    But I'm still confused about the distinction.

    1. Was Amyrald saying that God has decreed the election of some, but that there are some non-elect who can nonetheless attain salvation by their own free will? If so, that sounds blatantly Pelagian, and it's surprising that someone who purported to be reformed would teach something like that.

    2. What's the actual distinction between moral and natural inability? Natural inability seems to be saying that man's nature has been so affected by sin that he can't overcome it himself; this seems to pin our inability on a moral failing (sin). Moral inability speaks of the "moral state of the soul" but is that not an issue of our nature? I just don't understand what's different about the two; they seem to be two ways of saying the same thing.
  2. Travis Fentiman

    Travis Fentiman Puritan Board Freshman

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