ABOUT FREE WILL
FREE WILL is the faculty to act according to our own discretion, without the coercion of any constrain or necessity.
This faculty to choose was granted by GOD to humanity in order to create for Himself a rational community of intelligent and sentient living creatures, who freely love Him and take pleasure in his will, to live with Him eternally.
As creation is eternal, we do not know how many intelligent creatures have been created by GOD with power of decision, and to what level. We can only judge that animals and angels have.
Animals have a limited freedom according to their capacity of reason, and that is why they have little preferences, and animals prefer some humans while they dislike others, and chose a place to sleep instead of another. We don’t know how far it goes, but animals do not act by ‘instinct’ alone as we have been wrongly told. They make small decisions, and have a sense of limited guilt according to their capacity of reasoning. It is for this, that GOD will claim all human life ended by a deliberate action of an animal, from the guilty animal itself. If an attack to humans were a product of instinct, then the animal would be unimputable, but he is not (Genesis 9:5).
In the same way, we know by the security of the angels of GOD in glory, and the fall of Satan, that there must have been a time when they had the freedom to chose between doing GOD’s will or not, and that is when Satan fell from Glory with his followers. In this case, the guilt must have been greater because they were created directly by GOD with immense power and infused knowledge, and there was not tempter, but the disobedience was born from the soul of the angelic beings.
But in humanity, the thing changes.
Humans were granted free will to be able to chose to obey GOD and righteousness or disobey GOD and pursuit hedonism and self-gratification, which created evil and sin among us. This defined the heart of every human before GOD, so that only the righteous by nature will be able to live with GOD eternally, and the ones who rejected his will and holiness, would not.
ADAM’S FREE WILL
As Adam was created perfect and immortal, he never had the desire of disobeying GOD, even though GOD created him and placed him as the father of humanity knowing that Adam will eventually fall. There was a reason for that and we will treat it in another time. But it was necessary to make the sacrifice of Lord JESUS universal.
Adam chose to fall to the charms of his own wife, Eve, who induced him to follow her into the lie Satan had sold her at the foot of the forbidden tree, but he also believed Satan, as he was with Eve when this happened (Genesis 3:1-7).
Adam and Eve, after that, became aware of malice, the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ and they lost the innocence that they possessed before that.
THE CONDITION OF HUMANITY AFTER THE FALL
After the fall of Adam and Eve, the whole human race, was destitute from Paradise and their communion with GOD was broken, descending to an animal state-like, where their spiritual sense was bloated due to their disconnection from GOD. In fact, that is what Apostle PAUL says in Romans:
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned”.
This is a clear reference to an imputed guilt over the whole human race, due to the single sin of Adam; because if it was a reference to personal sin in Adam’s descendants, death would not exist for new born children, or mentally handicapped people, or any other non-responsible human. Nevertheless, death exists even for not born yet fetuses, showing that this death comes from an imputed guilt over all descendants from Adam and Eve.
However, even through physically they lost the primordial balance they were given at creation, and sickness, old age, deformities, concupiscence and death came over the whole human race, and their spirit was cast out of glory and communion with God, humans retained all their faculties as they were given to them by GOD.
Humans retained the original image of a correct human, one head, two arms, two legs, five fingers and toes, and the physical metabolism.
They remained intelligent, and above everything else, they retained their FREE WILL.
Humans could distinguish between life and death, between white and black, between light and darkness, between good and evil, between just and unjust. Even after the fall. And also, they were still able to chose which path to take.
FREE WILL AFTER THE FALL ACCORDING TO SOME
Centuries later, theological theories, especially CALVINISM, started proposing that after the fall humanity was totally corrupted to the core.
Humanity had lost their free will to do good.
John Calvin assured that humans were totally incapacitated of electing and follow good, and their condition was so damaged, that even when they did perform an act of clear goodness, like saving a life, these actions were considered ‘filthy rags’ in front of GOD (See TULIP, principles of Calvinism).
According to this doctrine, humans were unable to believe, to repent, and to make a good decision for their own good, and therefore, the whole process of salvation was TOTALLY instigated and carried out by the HOLY SPIRIT, on a selected bunch of people, even before they were born (Calvin’s Christian Institutions).
The final result, was a bunch of humans saved from a fallen humanity, entirely by GOD’s decision and action, so that the ‘saved’ had nothing to do with their own salvation, except being eternally thankful to GOD.
An ‘elected one’ did not have even the opportunity to accept or reject JESUS, but was ‘made’ or ‘programmed’ to accept JESUS in their life time, as it was prepared and predestined from even before creation.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT FREE WILL
The Bible is full of warnings given by Lord JESUS and his apostles, that can only make sense if humans were in control of their own free will.
‘No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.’
‘You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.’
‘Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon’.
And many others like Revelation 3:20; Matthew 8:34, or 2Peter 3:9.
Even though these verses are taking as speaking only to the chosen for salvation, and not to the whole humanity, this contradicts an important part of interpretation, which says that we should not assume secret meanings, unless told to do so by the passage itself.
For example, 2Peter 3:9 says:
‘The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’
Here, Calvinists say that ‘with you’, refers only to the elected Christians reading the epistle, and not the whole humanity, meaning that GOD will wait the time necessary for the elected to come to repentance.
HOWEVER, there is nothing in the passage to assume that it refers only to a selected few, but on the contrary, as it is written, it can only be assume that the words ‘anyone’ and ‘everyone’ as they stand, are referring to the whole human race.
Other passages like 1Corinthians 10:13, as it is presented above, where the word ‘you’ is taken as referring only to the chosen ones, however, the fact that is says that these tempted are called to ‘endure’ temptation, it shows that they have freedom to resists or fall. To follow God or their temptation. To sin or not to sin. This denotes a freedom of choice, which Calvinism denies to humans. If this passage was destined to only the elected ones, who have no say over their own salvation, then the warning to resists would be useless, because they would be programmed not to fall into sin. But instead, this warning, denotes the capacity of humans to chose the wrong path.
IT would be extensive to quote every passage mentioned by fatalists, and contest them with the Scripture that proves Free Will in humans. But it may suffice to say that they would not fit the warnings, since a warning implies danger, which comes from disobedience.
INSTEAD, the Bible speaks of the capacity of humans to judge good from evil, and to choose either path even after the fall.
Passages like Isaiah 55:6-7, where GOD calls the ‘wicked to forsake their ways’ can only make sense if they have the faculty to distinguish good from evil and have also the capability to choose good and reject evil. Otherwise, any warning would be pointless, because if humans are programmed to obey or disobey, whatever is destined to happen, it will happen anyway.
WHY ADAM WOULD HAVE FREE WILL IS ONLY THE ‘ELECT’ ARE SAVED
Another contradiction in Calvinistic theology, resides exactly in their concept of irresistible grace for the elected, and the free will they admit Adam had.
If GOD empowered Adam with free agency to chose good or evil, and as GOD, He knew Adam would fall, and so He elected from eternity the ones He chose for unfailing salvation. The final result would be a group of programmed people to accept Christ redemption, beyond even their own capability of accepting or rejecting this salvation imposed over them.
If God in his omniscience decided this even before He created humanity, then why would He bothered to create a single human with free will?
Why would He bother in incarnating as human and die as an atonement sacrifice?
If at the end, the ‘saved ones’ will be a bunch of robots, then certainly He would have created them pure and deprived from choosing evil from the beginning and take them to Heaven, sparing Himself the suffering of the passion and death, and us, the consequences of evil, like wars, famines, and murder and everything else evil humans do.
It really would be pointless.
There is Election, and there is Predestination, based not on a capricious whim, but on the foreknowledge of GOD of our life choices. It is us who place ourselves in the Book of Life, but it is GOD’s Glory that this book exists and that we can make a choice. Because to have free will does not dishonor GOD, because He made us with that capability, to be able to be independent and chose to live with Him, freely, because we love Him and his will. Not because we were programmed to do so.
The idea of total depravation and lack of free will is a wrong idea that looks to destroy any human cooperation with GOD’s grace, who does not want ANYONE to perish, but to come to repentance and be saved.
Total Depravation makes us believe that it is impossible for us to be good, and instead we sit waiting for salvation been pushed down our throats, while we continue on sinning and displeasing GOD, under the belief that salvation is already granted to us, despite our behavior.
God granted Adam free will to show his true heart, and this capacity passed to all humans for the same reason, to show our true colors, and be judged worthy of eternal life or not at the Day of Judgement.
Humans maintain their natural goodness granted to them at birth, even though they are born separated from GOD to a certain extent, but not totally, since GOD still sustains us, and every good decision, every good action born from a good human heart, has its reward before GOD, because it follows our Creator’s will.
BUT SALVATION, is only possible through JESUS CHRIST, because through his atoning sacrifice, He paid for the punishment of the sins we commit, so that when we fail, we can attain forgiveness through his HOLY NAME.
But it is also good to remember, that despite our own capability to chose good and evil, this capability, as the atoning sacrifice, and the whole mechanism of salvation, was made possible through GOD’s decision alone. Without GOD’s mercy, none of these would be possible.
‘This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you, life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live’
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