I am currently taking a philosophy class in college, and the question of free will was recently a topic of discussion. As a Christian, I have always believed, by default, that we do indeed have free will. After studying the view of the determinist, I decided to study free will a little bit more in the Bible. What I have come up with so far is that 1) The Bible doesn’t really mention that humans have free will. 2) One passage that I studied was Romans 8:18-27. It is very profound; What I understand is that we are free (maybe we have free will) as long as we are within the will of God. 3) Then there is the whole issue of The Holy Spirit, which I totally believe works in our lives to help us conform to God’s will. I guess I lean towards the belief that there is no real free will, only God’s will, to which we must conform. My next question then is, if there is only God’s will, at what point in time does my choice to follow God in the first place come in? What about the people God has not predestined? That stinks for them. But I also believe that God wants all men to know Him and reach out to Him, as the scriptures say. I don’t agree with the determinist point of view. They believe that there is no free will and therefore morality has no place in the equation. My professor doesn’t even believe anyone has been successful at describing what free will really is. I would love to know your thoughts.—Lucy Mejia
I believe in free will. If there is no free will, then there are serious implications for the character and justice of God. I do not think we need to define free will, since it is an existential reality that all implicitly accept in living their daily lives.
In Acts 2, Peter reminds the crowd that the crucifixion took place in accordance with God's set purpose and foreknowledge... and yet the people were still responsible (v.36). Humans do have free will. (I do not think I am able to agree with you on that point.)
Imagine a criminal pleading in court: "Well, God knew I was going to rob the bank, so I really had no choice. It was all predetermined!" That would not wash, would it? And not just because of a human legal system, but because it is nonsense. Given that God operates on a level wholly above our own (Isaiah 55), there is no necessary contradiction between God's will and ours.
Reading suggestions for you: Decision Making and the Will of God (Garry Friesen) and The Prophets (Abraham Heschel). Or if you want something shorter, see my study on Calvinism in Shining Like Stars (IPI, 2006 edition).
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