A God who uses humans….as robots, who have the illusion of a freedom that isn’t really there.
There are some Christians who do not believe in free will, beyond simple choices like what clothes to wear, or what car to buy. They base their beliefs on verses like Acts 13:48, “…as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” and Ephesians 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love“. But do these verses really mean that whether or not we receive eternal life, has already been predetermined? To me, this idea is totally at odds with the God of Love that I see portrayed throughout the Bible and demonstrated in Jesus Christ who never turned anyone away. Instead the God that these people believe in appears to be a God who uses humans as mere toys, as puppets, or robots, who have the illusion of a freedom that isn’t really there. This is a God who just picks & chooses before a person’s birth whether they will go to Heaven or hell. This view does not paint a picture of the God who so loved the world (John 3:16). This view, which originated with John Calvin, is a dangerous deception, which serves the purpose of Satan who asks, “Is God really good?“. If the Calvinist viewpoint were correct then the answer to Satan’s question could not be a unanimous “Yes“. How can God be good, if He sends some people to hell, whilst making a way for others to go to Heaven? That cannot be described as love and “Well, God moves in mysterious ways…..” is not an answer. So in this post I will examine, whether or not we really have free will.
From God’s point of view, it was their destiny.
The J.B. Phillips translation of Acts 13:48 sheds a bit more light on the subject: “All those who were destined for eternal life believed“. Here the word translated as ‘ordained’ in the King James Version has been translated as ‘destined’. In other words, God already knew which people were going to believe (God does know everything after all). So you could say, that from God’s point of view, it was their destiny. However it was not God’s will that the other people did not believe, in fact God’s will concerning who is saved and who isn’t, is made very clear by 1 Timothy 2:3-4: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth“. It is God’s will that all men are saved, not just a select few. John 3:16, which I quoted earlier, also disproves the ‘no free will’ theory. Let’s analyse what it says, “For God so loved the world….” – God loved the whole world, not just those chosen few. Yes God chose you, but He also chose the person next to you – it is only their personal choice that will exclude them. Verse 16 continues, “…..that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” – notice that is says, “whosoever believeth in him”. This is not limited, ‘whosoever’ means just what it says: whosoever, anyone. This is backed up by Acts 2:21, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved“.
We are made to be like God.
Lack of free will is a very dangerous and misleading doctrine, so I will spend some more time proving that we do have free will and that any claim to the contrary is totally unbiblical. We will begin with Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness“. This is not referring merely to Man having a humanoid form, we are made to be like God and we cannot be like God without a free will. In fact the Chumash, Stone Edition (Jewish commentary on the Torah) says of verse 26,
“Among all creatures, Man alone is endowed – like his Creator – with morality, reason and free will. He can know and love God and can hold spiritual communion with Him; and Man alone can guide his actions through reason. It is in this sense that the Torah describes Man as having been created in God’s image and likeness.“
Another example of free will is found in Deuteronomy 30:19, where the Israelites are given a clear choice, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life“. God gives them some advice (choose life), but they have a choice. Then in Joshua 24:15, the Israelites are told to make a choice whom they will serve, “If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve“. Once again they have a choice, it is not predetermined. Jesus Himself showed that we have free will when He said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). Whether or not we do the will of God is our choice, we can decide to completely ignore God, no matter how foolish that decision would be.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it doesn’t matter what choices you make.
These are just some of the verses that show that we DO have a free will, and with it comes the responsibility to do things God’s way. All of this shows that we should never base what we believe on select Bibles verses, that could be misunderstood, whilst ignoring the wider Bible. There are some verses that are hard to understand, but we have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us, if we will just ask Him and pay attention to what He says. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it doesn’t matter what choices you make, because it does matter. We are not pawns in a game of chess, we are children of God, with a responsibility to take our stand against everything the devil can throw against us and emerge victorious.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord & Saviour, if you have gone away from God, or if you have any doubts regarding your salvation. I encourage you to click on the link below. Clicking on the link will not secure your salvation, but praying the prayer you find, from your heart, will.
For the salvation prayer, please click here.