Ep.1208: Do We Really Have Free Will?
Understanding the power of free will and why we have it
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Theme Scripture: Joshua 24:15
Outside of some deeply philosophical debates, the idea of human beings having inherent freedom of choice seems to be a generally acceptable premise. Free will makes us special. The capacity of conscious choice establishes humankind in a unique category in relation to the rest of life on our planet. When human beings interfere with the freedom of choice of other humans, the consequences are usually dark. We end up with things like oppression, slavery and dictatorships. Does God ever interfere with our freedom of choice? Does He ever override an individual’s chosen pathway and force them onto another one? Some scriptures seem to indicate this, but is it? How do we understand the value and application of human choice in God’s ultimate plan?
Because the debates over free will are so varied, we will focus on free will as defined by three conditions:
- The ability to do otherwise. This is the basis of free will, as it describes the fact that a choice exists because there are at least two alternatives.
- Control over one’s choices. We cannot be considered to be making a choice if we do not have personal say over the choices.
- Responsiveness to reasons. If my choice is based on “the luck of the draw,” I cannot be said to be choosing anything. Instead, I am simply accepting a result without any personal response to drive that acceptance.
When we look at the Bible, we can observe that God definitely gave humanity the gift of free will. This one thought can raise many questions regarding our relationship to God. For instance, if God gave us free will, then why doesn’t He give us better options to choose from? For the vast majority of humanity, the choices they are faced with always seem to be a mixed bag of good and bad no matter which way they go. If God loves us as we say He does, why isn’t there more quality in our daily choices?
Does God ever influence our choices so they really aren't ours anymore?
There are several scriptures that seem to indicate this is the case. If true, then is God contradicting the gift of free choice by taking it away from some?
Check out our recent podcast, “Do We Really Have Free Choice?” for more. We wade through the complexities of having a free will and discover the profound reasons that God gave such a gift to humanity. We look at several biblical examples that appear to show God overriding someone’s choices to find out what really happened. Finally, we put the whole equation together and discover how the whole freedom of choice thing fits into God’s plan. Free will is an extraordinary privilege. Join us as we uncover its power and place in the human experience!