Source: Based on part of Is God Free?
Man has a free will with which to make a choice: (1)
- John 3:36 >> “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
- Hebrews 11:24-25 >> “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;”
- Amos 5:15 >> “Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.”
- 1 Kings 3:9 >> “Give therefore your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this your so great a people?”
- Joshua 24:15 >> “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
God also has a free will with which to make a choice. Even though Vexen Crabtree tried to argue that God has no free will to choose with, we can clearly see examples of where God does choose. For example, the word “elect” means to “select or choose out”. God chose! (This particular example is #8 in this list here.)
- Numbers 16:5, 7; 17:5. God chose Moses to be the leader of the nation of Israel.
- 1 Samuel 10:24. God chose Saul to be king.
- 2 Samuel 6:21; 1 Kings 11:3. God chose David to be king.
- 1 Chronicles 28:53. God chose Salomon to be king.
- Deuteronomy 7:6-8. God chose the nation of Israel.
- Luke 16:13; John 13:8 Acts 1:2, 24. Jesus chose the disciples.
- Matthew 20:16; 22:14. Many are called but few are chosen.
- Mark 13:20; Romans 8:28-39; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9-10. The “elect” or “chosen ones”.
The Bible teaches that God has a will.
- Numbers 16:5, 7; 17:5 – He chose Moses to be the leader of Israel.
- I Samuel 10:24 – He chose Saul to be the King of the Jews.
- 2 Samuel 6:21 – He chose David to be the King of Israel.
- Deuteronomy 7:6-8; Acts 13:17; Romans 9:11 – God chose Israel.
- Luke 6:13 – Jesus chose his 12 disciples.
- Mark 13:20; John 15:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Rev. 17:14 – the “elect” are chosen.
- 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some people understand slowness, but is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to perish, but wants everyone to repent.” (2)
It is interesting regarding what 2 Peter 3:9 says that “God is not willing that anyone perish”. It states in 1 John 4:8 and 2 Corinthians 13:11 that God’s nature is “love”. He loves mankind and demonstrates his love by sending Jesus to pay the penalty for sin (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Obviously not everyone is going to become saved. Some have stated that John 3:16 really is focused on the “elect” and that Jesus only died for them. They translate “the world” meaning only the elect. But looking at 2 Peter 3:9 it should be obvious that God does not want anyone to perish, not even the elect. And if He chose the elect it makes no sense why He would state “He does not want anyone to perish”. Why would the “elect” who He chose perish?
Determinism comes into play here. Determinism is the notion that all propositions are either true or false, whether about the past, present or future. It is the thesis that God determines all that humans will do – by knowing their actions in advance. This is achieved by His Omniscience. The problem of the free will of man, in this context, is the problem of how one’s actions can be free, if God has determined them for man ahead of time. So those who hold to the theory of Predestination would be Determinists. (3)
Defining free will. Another way of defining free will is this: it emerges from the interaction of finite rules and deterministic parameters that generate infinite and unpredictable behavior. For example, God could determine what man will do given God’s Omniscience, but His Free will and man’s free will could generate infinite and unpredictable behaviors. That doesn’t mean that God wouldn’t know what would happen, but it does mean that having a free will would generate decisions made that might not be so predictable for man.
Continuing on with the topic regarding the “Will”
The Bible teaches that Angels have a free will.
- Jude 6 – “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (4)
The Bible teaches that man has a free will.
- John 3:36 – “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
- Hebrews 11:24-25 – “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;”
- Joshua 24:15 – “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
- 1 Kings 3:9 – “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (5)
Now it is interesting to think about man’s “will” in regards to him making a choice that will affect him, or having a choice made that he didn’t make, but will affect him. Examples:
Man making a choice:
- He can choose to believe that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus paid the price for his sin with perfect blood, that he can repent for his sin and that by believing he can be saved from his punishment. (John 1:12; 3:36; 1 John 5:10-12).
- He can choose the person who to marry (Proverbs 5:18).
- He can choose to do good and not evil (Amos 5:15; 1 Kings 3:9).
- He can choose who he will follow (Joshua 24:15).
A choice over which he has no control:
- Where he is born.
- Who his parents will be.
- What his DNA is like when he is born.
- Being born with AIDS or some other disease.
- Being born a boy or a girl.
We have seen that God cannot change — but He can choose.
- He already chose – outside of what we, in our limited minds, could comprehend (Job 12:13; James 3:17; Romans 11:33).
- He does whatever pleases Him (Psalm 135:6).
- There is no way to resist God’s will (Romans 9:19).
- He is perfect in all His ways (Matthew 5:48; 2 Samuel 22:31).
- He chooses according to His pleasure and His nature (Numbers 16:5; Acts 13:17).
- He has a “will” and that “will” is to be followed, just as we see in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus had his own will but chose to do the will of the Father (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36).
So with that will, God chose. In having a will God is free in making choices. But He does all these things outside of what we can fully understand with our limited minds and our limited understanding (i.e. He knows everything about me -Job 31:4; He can measure the heavens and knows the earth – Jeremiah 31:37; He knows everything that is secret -Matthew 6:4, 18; He knows everything about everything – 1 John 3:20; Who can resist God’s will? – Romans 9:19).
“Constraint of nature
does not equal the lack of freedom.
It is, indeed, the ultimate freedom to do as one is.”
-Pastor John Crandall