Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Free Will

I've been thinking about free will lately.  Do humans have the ability to make their own choices? Should we be held accountable for the choices we make? Or is everything in our world pre-determined. Has God pre-planned everything, and is absolutely everything going to happen the way that God has planned it.

Many Christians have been influenced by the Calvinist beliefs in total depravity, unconditional election, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints.  They believe in predestination, that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others.

On the other hand, does a belief in free will limit God's sovereignty?

This is a complex question for my mind to grapple with.

Has God planned how I am going to sort this question out?  Is it worth even trying to sort out?

The debate of whether or not free will exists goes beyond the spiritual implications.  Determinism is the philosophical position that for every event, including human action, there exist conditions that could cause no other event.   Think science and cause and effect.  Is who we are, what we think, and what we do simply a product of our environment.  When people make poor choices, should we place all the blame on the poor inputs?

I should go outside and cut the grass.  The grass is tall. My yard would look better if I did.  The neighbours likely think I should have cut it yesterday. Will I cut it today, or will I wait for tomorrow?  Will when I cut the grass be determined by my free will, or am I simply a robot that responds automatically to specific prompts and inputs?

For now I'll choose to continue with this blog post...  because that's the way I'm wired.

There are some Bible verses that support the idea of predestination

Romans 8:29-30 (NET Bible)
because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.
Ephesians 1:5 (NET Bible)
He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will—
Ephesians 1:11 (NET Bible)
In Christ we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will

There are other Bible verses that support the idea of free will

Proverbs 16:9 ESV
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Joshua 24:15 ESV
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, ...
John 7:17 ESV
If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.
Revelation 3:20 ESV
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV / 43 helpful votes
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Galatians 5:16-17 ESV
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Psalm 37:23 ESV
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;
Romans 10:9-10 ESV
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Mark 8:34 ESV
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
 Matthew 6:33 NIV
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

There are also Bible verses that speak about free life, and how Jesus has made us free  (Galatians 5:1, 1 Peter 2:16, John 8:32, 2 Corinthians 3:17, Romans 8:1-4, Isaiah 61:1). Can freedom exist if there is no free will?

Do we have free will? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Or should I say: I'd love to see how your mind processes this topic based on the the way it has been programmed and the inputs it has received.

Related Post: Calvanism