Free Will?

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by -Cp, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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    There is so much confusion on the subject that one hardly knows where to begin to attempt to help another find his way out of the maze of presuppositions (that have no basis in biblical truth) and downright sloppy thinking. The old testament prophets gave a preview of this principle, saying, to quote just one representatively, "I will put my Spirit within them and cause them to walk in my statutes" (Ezek. 36:27). And the new testament confirms this with such statements as, "Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Eph. 1:11).

    The idea that God has given men a will, that by some definition and in some sense, is to be understood as autonomous and independent of the will of God is a philosophical notion that has no support in scripture. There are many shades of this idea, but regardless of the various theological systems that hold versions of the idea of human "free will," you'll find one common thread. They all agree that there is a point at which God, having done all that He chooses to do to influence one to a right decision, He stops short of actually causing him to act as He desires.

    This amounts to God leaving a dimension of sovereignty up to man; a place within man, where he, the man, having felt the influence of God and the influence of evil, in all practical terms, functionally makes the good or evil actually happen by his choice. Every version of that scenario agrees that man is the final decider as to whether he will do or not do the will of God. It, in effect says, "God only has the ability to bring his will to pass in a life, if that person allows Him to." Can you see how that really makes man the sovereign one, not God.

    The truth is that the only One in the universe who has true free will is God Himself. As is true of every good thing, free will is something found in God's very nature and we can only experience freedom of will by God causing us to participate in His freedom by causing us to become "partakers of the divine nature" (II Pet. 1:4); and that is His choice not ours.
    That is, He causes us to participate in the divine ability to desire something, then foreordain it, predestine it, and make it come to pass.
    That's freedom; to be without constraint, without hindrance, without anything that can, in any degree, stop or hinder one's desire. The scripture is quite clear that God will bring to pass His desire for all men and for the entire cosmos.

    Freedom of will was the primal possession of God alone and could be only enjoyed by participation in the nature of God. As is true of all good things that God gives, it is a gift of grace which functions in communion with God, a communion that God FREELY grants by grace, not a communion that man brings about by his decision. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). "If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has set you free" (Gal. 5:1). What kind of freedom is that, the freedom to sin? No, the freedom to live righteously. Should we stand fast in the liberty that capacitates us to sin, or stand fast in the liberty that has freed us from the law of sin and death?

    Freedom was never given to provide an option to sin; it is given to deliver men from sin. Bondage, in the form of man's innocence being subjected to an overpowering, adversarial mentality (the serpent), was introduced by God, transitionally, into His penultimate plan to bring about sin and death. Sin and death are a necessary transitional element in the purpose of God to show the glory of His grace.

    Bondage results in sin, death and turmoil and perpetuates the same. Freedom results in righteousness, life and peace and perpetuates the same. Those who refuse to accept the whole revelation of scripture in regard to sin and death, never really deal honestly with the passages that teach that it was God who subjected all creation to futility, not of its own will (the creature's will) (Rom. 8:19-20), that He consigned all to disobedience that He might have mercy upon all (Rom. 11:32), and that God creates good and evil and the Waster to destroy (Isa. 45:7; 54:16).

    So, to repeat, what are we to be judged for if we do not have a "free will"
    in the sense of having the capacity to hinder and/or thwart the will of God?
    We are judged, first to expose and demonstrate, that left to ourselves, we succumb to deception and second, to correct that situation by the light of God inherent in His judgment. So many just can't get it through their heads that God's judgments are not vindictive retaliation for our sins, but unavoidable, correctional confrontation by "Him, with whom we have to do"
    (Isa. 26:9; Heb. 4:13).
    His judgments always amount to God saying, "My will must be done, and left to yourself, you haven't done it and you won't do it, so I'm stepping in and making it happen by putting my Spirit in you and making you like Me." That's the new covenant, pure and simple.
     
  2. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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  3. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I know we've talked about this topic before. Here are my thoughts.

    Here is where I will disagree with you (not actually you, but the author). It's not that free-will advocates believe that God is unable to force a person to act according to His will; it's that God chooses not to act in such a manner. See Ezekiel 18:30-32 (NASB):

    "Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!"

    We can see that the will of God is that mankind does not sin, and that we will be held accountable for the choices we make. However, what is the last sentence? Repent, and live! God puts the decision in our hands, making us accountable for our actions.

    I will agree that God has free will; it's God who made the choice to create the universe. And while I agree that there is freedom in Christ (see Galatians 3-5), that freedom means nothing if it is forced upon us. Forcing someone to choose freely is a logical impossibility, akin to God creating a stone so big He can’t lift it.

    That sounds like LDS doctrine to me. Maybe you should research your sources a bit closer. If sin and death were part of God’s plan, then mankind could complain that it was God’s will (or God’s plan) that caused them to sin; therefore, God would have no right to judge sin.

    So much truth intermingled with so many wrong conclusions.

    Re: the Judgment, 2 Cor. 5:10:”For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
    Heb. 10:26-27: “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. “

    Regarding God “stepping in and making it happen,” Rev. 3:10: “'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” The onus is on us to accept the gift of God through Jesus Christ.
     
  4. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    And when we do that, we study His word, and see how we "should" live.

    It still comes down to our choice what we do each day.
     
  5. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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    You guys seem to be under the assumption that mankind can somehow find God on his own accord... nothing could be further from the truth...

    "Unless the Spirit Convicts a man, he cannot be Born Again...."

    That clearly tells us that the onus is NOT on us, but it's on the Spirit...

    We also know that the Spirit won't waste his time convicting someone who won't respond...


    "... For who resists his will?"

    Romans 9:19One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "[h] 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
     
  6. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    I Googled this..couldn't find it.

    Reference?
     
  7. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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  8. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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  9. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I think he meant this specifically: "Unless the Spirit Convicts a man, he cannot be Born Again...." Is that supposed to be from John 3:5? If it is, the quote is "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

    And I don't think anyone will argue that man can save himself - salvation is a gift, granted by God's grace, not by our effort. But one cannot receive a gift that one does not accept. Therefore, man must accept the gift, through faith.
     
  10. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    Correct. And if that is the verse, it doesn't mean what you think it does. Unless one is born of water (baptism) and Spirit (acceptance).....

    That does not relate in any way to the Spirit convicting a man, he cannot be Born Again.
     

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