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The Remonstrant Debate: Conditionalizing Divine Will

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Chapter Summary

The Reformed physician Johan Van Beverwijck addressed all kinds of scholars with the question whether human lifetime is fixed by God and in which respect medical agency is useful and can extend life. Simon Episcopius, the Remonstrant spokesman on the Synod of Dordt, and Gisbertus Voetius, its youngest deputee, were also involved. In this chapter their opinions are described and summarized. Episcopius is considered as representative for the Remonstrant opinion in general, since he was the main Remonstrant dogmatician. Voetius extensive discussion of the terminus of life is structured by the metaphysical division of first and second causes. Episcopius agrees with Abraham Heidanus that divine decision would introduce a hypothetical necessity, but whereas Heidanus interprets it as a necessity of the consequence, Episcopius claims it must be a necessity of the consequent. The hypothesis of an irresistible divine will implies a cause that brings about its effect necessarily.

Keywords: Abraham Heidanus; divine will; Gisbertus Voetius; Johan Van Beverwijck; Remonstrant opinion; Simon Episcopius

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