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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Free Will Defined

This entry is not mine. My son, David, wrote it. I thought it was worth a read for others, so I am including it here. Enjoy.

The argument of the requirements for salvation in Christ has gone on for a long time. The obvious opponents are Calvinism and Arminianism. Calvinists argue that only the elect are saved, and nothing Man can do or choose can determine salvation. Arminians claim that God does not override our free will and that we must come to Him and choose Him as our Lord. Both sides have strong Biblical defenses, and both tend to denounce the other as restricting God or enhancing Man. But I think the argument between the two fails if you only give a proper definition of "Free Will".

The first question that should be asked when we are told that God wouldn't infringe upon our free will is, "What is Free Will?" What does it mean to say that we have a free will?

It can't mean that we have the ability to do what ever we please, however we please, whenever we please. Free will is limited by capability. I cannot choose to soar in the air as a bird, for example.

It can't mean being able to choose without any outside influence. Every choice we make includes some outside influence. I choose to run a red light or stop at it based on what the law says and by what the consequences of breaking that law could be. Free will without the influence of outside stimulus could only work for a solitary person in a vacuum. Everywhere we go and look, we are influenced by something, so that can't be "Free Will".

So, Free Will must be the ability to make choices based off outside stimuli, and within our ability to make such a choice. This is why I can believe that only the Elect are saved, and why we must make a choice to follow Christ, and not have conflicting ideas. We are sinners separated from God. Our spirit (the portion of us that interacts with the metaphysical) is dead. If the portion of us that is able to interact with the metaphysical, i.e. God, is dead, then we cannot make a choice for God. God must first make our spirit alive before we can choose him, and those spirits he regenerates are the Elect. Once our spirit has been regenerated, the clarity of the Gospel is shown to us, and thus we choose Christ.

God has not forced the Elect into salvation, but given them the only means to salvation. And though some say that since you can't choose Christ, then there is no point in evangelizing. Then I say, shame on you. We can't possibly know who are the Elect, and we are commanded to make disciples. God graciously uses us in His process of reviving dead spirits, so we should be encouraged to do the work He has appointed us.


Anonymous said...

Excellent points! I used some similar points in a Sunday School discussion about predestination last week, including the flying analogy.

Stan said...

Yeah, I think the kid has promise. (By the way, I think that I would define "predestination" different than most.)

Stan said...

Well, David, no one disagreed. You must have done such an outstanding job on this that everyone was reasoned into agreement, eh? (We can dream, can't we?)

David said...

Or no one really disagreed in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Of course we may disagree... and that too it God's will. There is a lot to this topic of FREE WILL but only God has truly FREE WILL. Anyway, here is a little reading for you about my ideas with many verses to support my beliefs.
Bob Todd
San Jacinto, CA

Stan said...


Truthfully, I don't think I'd disagree with you, as long as "free will" is properly defined. Most people, by "free will" mean "autonomy". No one has autonomy. If be "free will" we mean "the ability to make uncoerced choices", I think that definition fits into the position that God determines all things (as long as we don't assume that "free will" as "uncoerced choices" doesn't mean "NEVER uncoerced"). I don't think we're really in disagreement.