Do We Have Free Will?
Lately, free will has been brought up in several conversations carrying the assumption that we have free will and it got me to thinking . . . how much free will do we really have?
Let’s look at what we didn’t choose in our physical life; to be born, where, when and to whom we were born, where we grew up, who we grew up around, our family, our genetic make up, our IQ, our body type, our race, our gender, our personality, generational weaknesses and strengths.
Given all these restrictions, how much free will do you think we have? Our will is constricted to certain things, whether we like it or not.
Those things pertain to our physical life, what about the spiritual life?
I believe it is very similar, because throughout the Word, this earth, our lives, the physical parallels the spiritual. First, I believe we don’t chose salvation. We didn’t choose our physical birth and we didn’t choose our spiritual birth. How can a dead life choose life? It is dead. It can’t comprehend the things of God. It can’t understand the spirit life to choose the spirit. It is in rebellion against God, not wanting to draw near. Isaiah 53:6
God saves, God calls, God chooses. We don’t think that is fair? What about the ones who didn’t have a choice where they were born and were given horrible circumstances, in slums, in drug addictions, in a place where human life isn’t valued, and no love? Is that fair? How much choice did they have?
Romans 9:11-23, John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, Matthew 22:14, 1 Peter 2:9
Second, like our physical life, we live within defined limits in our spiritual life. God saves us and gives us new life. He determines the grace we have, the spiritual gifts we possess, and our spiritual growth. Romans 12:3 1 Corinthians 12:11 Ephesians 2:10 Philippians 2:13 Our will comes into play in seeking Him, drawing near and abiding in His truth. Matthew 7:33, Hebrews 11:6 If we seek Him, then He has promised to do all sorts of wonderful, powerful and amazing things in our lives. Our will, what we say happens or doesn’t happen and the choices we have, is limited.
Acts 17:26-28 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’
There are two faulty beliefs that cause us to think that God being in control of our salvation isn’t fair and therefore couldn’t be.
1. The beliefs about hell.
2. The beliefs about God’s complete plan of salvation.
I don’t profess to completely understand either though I am seeking, but from what I read I am not convinced of an eternal torment as most churches teach or that we fully understand God’s plan of salvation and the roles we each play. Romans 9:22 We don’t know His thoughts, and I believe there is more to this life than we know. God is not like us, He is much bigger and we tend to forget that truth. We each try to fit Him and His ways into what we can understand right now.
To try to make God’s Word fit our ideas of justice and fairness is not seeking The Truth but trying to establish our own. We need to be okay with what we read, keep questioning, asking, learning, admitting we don’t know, and acknowledging there is more to learn. The entire Word fits together like a puzzle if certain pieces don’t fit we don’t have all the pieces yet. Only with all the pieces can we understand His Truth. We need to remove our church filters telling us what to believe and read His Truth to know and not to convince ourselves of what we currently believe. Only then do we have teachable hearts. God doesn’t want us to assume we know all or throw up our hands and say how can we know? He wants us each one of us to seek, grope, and ask for truth because that creates intimacy with Him.
Our will only comes into play in certain things. God holds the reigns. After all, He is God we are men. Psalm 9:20 We need to stop trying to make His truth fit ours and seek His.