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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Do People Have Free Will?

Many atheist believe that free will does not exist. They believe that we are merely the products of our environments. If two people had exactly the same parents, the same exact time and date of birth, ate exactly the same things, had the same DNA, the same exact looks, had the same exact experiences at the same time with the same people and had every other experience and stimuli the same, these two people would think the same thoughts, say the same things and make the same decisions. (Of course, this destroys the concept of alternate universes because there would be no variations given exactly the same conditions.)

On the other hand, there are Christians who believe that some will go to heaven and others go to hell because God has chosen to same some. They believe that people have a free will about everything but salvation. They believe that God's grace is irresistible to these people. Those people will come to know Christ do not have a free will to do so. Many of these people deny that God, therefore, condemns others by not choosing them. I don't see how they are able to come to that conclusion. I can't help believing that I would know my choice of who is getting on my lifeboat would also condemn those whom are not chosen. It would occur to me; why not to God?

Yet, the words "predestined" and "chosen" are clearly used in the New Testament. But are these words being taken out of context when talking about salvation? Is it possible that God does not steal our free will when we understand the whole counsel of the word of God? I think so.

God does not see time as we do. He knows it as completed but experiences it in the moment. We know it and experience it at the same time. Therefore, God makes His decisions out of His knowledge of what He knows will happen. He knows all the variances of all the decisions that can be made. He knows what will happen if this computer crashes right now and what will happen if it continues to allow me to write. He knows how to bring me to worship and serve Him if it is possible. But God never violates my will. He will allow me to sin. He will allow some of the greatest atrocities known to be completed because He does not violate my will or anyone else's. He intervenes but does not take over my body or mind to so what He wants. I can resist or I can comply.

However, God is also very persuasive. He will do what will cause me to come to Him. He will work around me to bring others into my life as His grace to me when I allow Him. I can resist His Spirit, resist the environment He works around me and resist His urgings through others to come to Him. These are all grace.

God knows the exact time and date that I gave my heart to Him before the beginning of time. He, therefore, knew what it would take to cause that to happen. He worked to make that happen. I was "predestined" and "chosen" because of His infinite knowledge. God's grace happens for us individually in our own fullness of time.

Should this make me praise God less because I have decided to follow Jesus? Am I less joyful because my grace was resistible? No, absolutely not! I know that He worked to save me. I responded because of His knowledge of what I would do.

God saves people because of His love. There is no other reason. None of us would be saved if He had not worked to save us. He sent Jesus to save us while we were still sinners. He sent people to tell you the gospel story. He worked through media, books, the Bible and other means to have you hear the gospel. You can and could resist but why would you really want to? Its not like the world is offering you a better deal.

Ephesians 1:4-7 (NIV)
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

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