The Vestibule

Christian Perspective => Why Believe => Topic started by: Michael:D on May 17, 2016, 12:38:55 PM

Title: There's No Such Thing As Free Will
Post by: Michael:D on May 17, 2016, 12:38:55 PM

There's No Such Thing As Free Will
Stephen Cave - (

For centuries, philosophers and theologians have almost unanimously held that civilization as we know it depends on a widespread belief in free will?and that losing this belief could be calamitous. Our codes of ethics, for example, assume that we can freely choose between right and wrong. In the Christian tradition, this is known as ?moral liberty??the capacity to discern and pursue the good, instead of merely being compelled by appetites and desires. The great Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant reaffirmed this link between freedom and goodness. If we are not free to choose, he argued, then it would make no sense to say we ought to choose the path of righteousness.

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Title: Re: There's No Such Thing As Free Will
Post by: GregD on January 31, 2017, 03:41:51 AM
Interesting article, thanks for posting it.

I have come to believe in what I'll call "directed or navigated" free will. We do have wills but they are not "free". By free, we mean free from outside influences... God, weather, other people etc. There are many bible verses that seem to indicate that our will's are not free:

Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 

Rom 9:18  Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

Note: the verse between those two (verse 17) talks about how God hardened Pharaoh's heart.

Eph 1:11  In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

In terms of faith or our belief in Christ, the bible says this:

Mat 11:27  All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 

Joh 6:44  No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 

So, it seems that we can only believe in Christ, for our salvation, if/when God says we will. When He gives us faith.

Of course there's always the most famous free will passage known to mankind...

Eph 2:8 & 9  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9  not of works, lest anyone should boast.

not to mention...

Php 1:29  For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 


Php 2:13  for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

A study of Calvinism vs. Arminianism teaches us a lot about how the whole idea of man having a free will began. The Calvinist basically believes that God is in total control of everything, good or bad. They also believe that Jesus only died for the elect, those He knew would believe. So, since God is in total control, He decides who goes to Heaven and who goes to hell. This didn't sit too well with a lot of theologians (namely Jacobus Arminius), so he came up with a new belief system. He believed, that Jesus died for everyone and that man ultimately decides, of his own "free will", whether or not to believe, therefore relieving God of any responsibility of who goes to Heaven or hell.

The problem is that they are both wrong and they are both right. The truth is somewhere in between. Take parts of each and you'll arrive at the truth.

Ok, this has already gotten longer than I wanted it too (no surprise there... right  :) ).

I believe that God allows us to make decisions and choices as long as they don't conflict with His will. This way, God is still in charge and man can be held responsible for his actions. God directs with His Spirit. God manipulates man's environment. God can and does, if His plans and purpose dictate, influence us to do things that we wouldn't normally do. Pharaoh and Paul are prime examples of God overriding man's will.

A good analogy I heard once is to think about life as us being a passenger on an ocean liner. We are free to move about the ship but it's the captain (God) that determines where the ship is going.

So again, we do have wills and we do make choices, but God can and does influence us if it is in accord with His will, Eph.1:11.
Title: Re: There's No Such Thing As Free Will
Post by: Michael:D on January 31, 2017, 11:48:50 AM
Great comment Greg - thanks for taking the time to further this discussion.

I think Free Will for many means a 'License to boast.'

Some believe that in order to receive salvation through the work performed by Jesus at the Cross that you must make the choice to believe in the Death, Burial and Resurrection; as if somehow your decision will alter the Truth.

1Corinthians 1:18  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

"If you do not make a conscience decision to believe, then Jesus did not die for you... He died for me however, because I have made the brilliant choice to believe in Jesus."

It is rather like... "I was drowning in sin but Jesus threw me a life-line and thanks to my wisdom I grabbed a hold and was pulled to safety."
The reality is more akin to... "Everyone is drowning in sin and God casts in a net in the form of His Son and brings multitudes to safety." We did not 'take the bait' we were saved by the grace of God through his Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will...

The difference between 'getting' saved and 'being' saved.