Does God have totally free will?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by 12strings, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. 12strings

    12strings
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    What I want to discuss is this:

    Is God's will bound by his character, or is his character determined by his totally free choices that he has made in eternity past regarding what he wants his character to be?

    A few sample questions:
    1. Lying is wrong. Why? Many Christians will say God is the absolute authority and that if God says something is a sin, it is a sin, 'nuf said. But did God HAVE TO make lying a sin because of his good, truth-loving character, or did a totally free God determine that lying would be bad, but could have just as easily chosen the other.
    2. The sky is blue. Did God make a totally free choice of blue, as opposed to black, or orange, or pink? Or did God's character of perfection HAVE TO pick blue since blue is the best color for the sky...ie, Does God always create the best option because its the best, or is it the best because that's what god created?

    If, as I suspect some may, your answer is different between #1 & #2, how do you explain the difference?
     
  2. Winman

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    Wow, what easy questions you ask!

    #1 I believe God is an absolute, therefore lying is wrong because it is not the truth. Two plus two must equal four, that is an absolute, any other answer is false. Like God, this cannot change.

    That said, I believe God has free will. It is not that he lacks the ability to lie, but he lacks the will to lie.

    Jhn 8:55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

    I believe the word "if" is very important in this verse. It shows that Jesus had the ability to tell a lie, but it was not his will to tell a lie. So, Jesus had true free will, but always chose to tell the truth.


    Another verse of scripture to consider is Luke 22:42;

    Luk 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

    I have to admit, this is a difficult verse for me. It is difficult for me to conceive that Jesus could have a different will than his Father, but that is plainly what the verse implies. Jesus is God, but as an individual he had his own will, which in this instance was not the same as his Father's. Nevertheless, Jesus chose to conform his will to his Father's will.

    Also, very unusual, we see that Jesus could have prayed to his Father to be delievered from the soldiers when they came to take him in the garden, and Jesus fully believed the Father would respect and honor his request.

    Mat 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
    54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

    This question demands a YES answer. So, had Jesus willed it, he could have prayed to his Father and been delivered from these soldiers, and it is also implied the Father would have granted his prayer. But if so, then the scriptures foretelling his betrayal and crucifixion would not have been fulfilled.

    So, putting these scriptures together, I believe it shows that both God the Father and Jesus the Son had true free will. They could truely choose between available options. However, God is Holy and True, and it is always his will to do that which is good and right. So, it is not lack of ability, but choice.

    As far as the sky being blue, I can only guess that God is the Great Artist. He knows what is beautiful. I have read that green and blue are the most relaxing colors to the human eye, thus most interiors to buildings and houses are these colors. Colors like red, orange, and yellow tend to induce alarm, tension, and anxiety. Can you imagine a blood red sky? I don't think I would enjoy that myself. This is my best GUESS.
     
  3. HeirofSalvation

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    Great questions!! and definitely something that Christians would be wise to consider at some point. I would say that in reference to 1.) that at least all moral rights/wrongs are inextricably related to his character: i.e. "God cannot lie nor repent.." Divine Command Theory....That the essence of Good and Bad are an issue mostly or entirely of decree rather than an expression of God's essential nature does not hold water for me....The Euthyphro Dilemma exposes its poverty I think. However, if notions of Good and Evil flow necessarily from God's nature, then at least as correspondence it is intelligible.

    With respect to question 2.) I would probably argue that that is an expression of God's preference or will only. Moreover since at least two occurences...namely..the Fall and the Flood we do not live in an ideal world any more. But in short? Ostriches...Penguins...the Platypus. God just showing he has a sense of Humor :laugh:
     
  4. 12strings

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    I'm glad you think these are easy questions, but your answers go both ways:
    -You say God has "true free will."
    -But you also say God could never lie, nor could he make 2+2=5. So are you saying that there are two absolutes in the universe: God's character and math? Or did God invent math and freely determine that 2+2=4?

    So You're saying that Blue is inherently the best color, and God chose it because he's perfect...not that God could have picked blood red and made IT the best color for a sky?
     
  5. Winman

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    Uh... that was supposed to be obvious sarcasm, sorry you didn't pick up on that.

    Yes, and I showed scripture that suggests Jesus had the ability to lie, but never chose to do so. I also showed scripture where Jesus implied God would have changed his plans and rescued Jesus from the soldiers if Jesus had asked him to, but again, Jesus chose to obey his Father's will. So, God is not locked in stone, lacking ABILITY, but chooses of free will not to sin.


    Well, 2 + 2 = 4 is an absolute. If you can change this, you are a better man than me. You cannot alter the truth. God being Holy always chooses to say and do that which is true, that which is absolute.

    Jesus suggested he had the ability to deny that he knew his Father, and said that if he did so he would be a liar. It was TRUTH that he knew his Father, that cannot be changed. If it is true that Jesus truely implied he COULD tell a lie, then we know he tells the truth (an absolute) by CHOICE.

    If you know of scripture that refutes this, I am open to hear it.


    I plainly made it clear that my answer was a GUESS. Did you miss that? I am suggesting that God is the absolute artist who knows colors and how to use them, and that it was his choice to use certain colors for the sky or earth. But it is a proven fact that certain colors like blue and green are relaxing. Take this website, it uses blue. It is a nice color that is easy on the eyes. If this site were done in bright red or orange I don't think you or I would find it enjoyable to look at.

    This is my guess, my speculation. Do you have something better to offer?
     
  6. saturneptune

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    I think this is a great thread.

    On question one, I think God, being God from eternity past, is the final standard on what is right or wrong, and is the same standard as has always existed. Of course God could violate it, but He will not, because He is pure.

    Question 2, everything that God creates is good because He created it.

    I heard two questions on last years mission trip going house to house.
    "Can God create a rock too heavy for Him to lift?"
    "Can God commit suicide?'

    Of course, these questions was designed to have a no win answer for the one doing the visitation. I pretty much said good day and went to the next door.
     
  7. Skandelon

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    saturneptune, shouldn't you be out winning lost souls? ;)
     
  8. saturneptune

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    Well, to tell you the truth, I added 5000 to our church today. LOL Don't get me wrong, it was their choice.
     
  9. Skandelon

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    Then you got some discipling to do, don't be wasting your time getting involved in the this debate stuff...

    blah, blah, blah.... :wavey:
     
  10. saturneptune

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    I have a better idea. Drink some more of that free will Kool Aid. Remember that verse from the NT that says
    "you chose Me, I did not choose you."
     
  11. Skandelon

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    Actually it is Jesus speaking to his hand picked apostles and he says, "you did not choose me, but I chose you." Why would I deny that? Maybe you know less about my views than you think you do.
     
  12. psalms109:31

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    Matthew 12:50
    For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

    Matthew 7:21
    [ True and False Disciples ] “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

    Matthew 26:39
    Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

    Matthew 26:42
    He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

    Mark 14:36
    “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

    Luke 22:42
    “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

    John 6:40
    For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

    I believe we have our will and we are given His will through His word our will leads to death His will leads to life eternal. There is nothing free about it, the will does what it is motivated or taught to do.

    "Human responsibility we may (and certainly should) believe in. But “free-will” is simply ridiculous. The will is well known by all to be directed by the understanding, to be moved by motives, to be guided by other parts of the soul, and to be a secondary thing. It follows…it does not lead."

    C.H. Spurgeon
     
  13. saturneptune

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    You treat it like being chosen from a job interview.
     
  14. Skandelon

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    What does that even mean? :confused:
     
  15. Winman

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    Is this view correct? Are you saying that everything God does is good simply because he did it? If God kills an innocent newborn baby, it is good simply because God did it?

    This view has literally caused millions of people to become athiests. It is not a satisfactory answer to most people. If God is indeed good (which he is), then why is there so much pain and suffering in the world? To simply answer that whatever happens is good because God caused it to happen seems to be a direct contradiction to most people. They cannot see thousands dying in an earthquake as good, they cannot see a newborn baby dying as good.

    What this teaching fails to recognize is that Satan is the "god" of this world. He has real power and ability, and is often behind this calamity and suffering, not God.

    God did allow Satan to afflict Job, but we must remember Job was a very righteous man who obeyed God at all times. God promises to protect men who obey him. This protection does not extend to men who do not obey God. Therefore, Satan can go about and afflict non-believers and disobedient believers to a great degree freely at his will.

    2 Tim 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

    It was Satan who caused fire to rain down from heaven and destroy Job's flocks, not God. It was Satan who caused a great wind to collapse the house of Job's eldest son killing all his children. Of course, Job's servant mistakingly believed God caused this natural phenomena, but it was the devil controlling the weather in these instances.

    We often blame God for what Satan is doing in the world. And it is equally true we often blame Satan for what we ourselves do to ourselves. If you decide to stick a needle in your arm and inject heroin into your veins, it is not Satan's fault when you overdose and die, it is your own fault.

    This is the problem when you say that God ordains and decrees all things that come to pass. Folks reject this, as you make God the author of evil.

    Satan and we have free will. We do not always obey God's will, thus Jesus told us to pray that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This prayer would be unnecessary if everything occurs exactly to God's will on earth.
     
    #15 Winman, Apr 2, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2012
  16. seekingthetruth

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    We cannot compare our will to God's divine will. Nor are we capable of understanding God's will.

    For instance, God tells us not to kill, but yet He has ordered the killing of a whole nation, including the women, children and animals.

    God tells us not to hate, yet, there are many instances in the Bible where God states the He hates certain conduct, certain nations, and even certain people.

    Why? Because His judgement is divine and His reasons are just. Man is incapable of of divine judgement or just reasoning. We, by nature, misuse our judgement and reasoning because we are selfish.

    John
     
  17. quantumfaith

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    Kool aid comes in an assortment of "flavors".
     
  18. psalms109:31

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    Exodus 1:
    6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7 but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.

    8 Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. 9 “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. 10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”

    11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.

    15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”

    Ezekiel 18:23
    Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

    Exodus 19:
    5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[Or possession, for the whole earth is mine. You] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

    Leviticus 19:34
    The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

    Leviticus 19:
    18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

    Deuteronomy 10:18
    He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

    Matthew 5:
    Love for Enemies
    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[Lev. 19:18] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Luke 6:
    Love for Enemies
    27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
    32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

    Jonah 3:
    6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

    “By the decree of the king and his nobles:

    Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

    10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

    Nahum 1:14
    The LORD has given a command concerning you, Nineveh: “You will have no descendants to bear your name. I will destroy the images and idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are vile.”

    Zephaniah 2:13
    Assyria He will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, leaving Nineveh utterly desolate and dry as the desert.

    How quickly we forget all God has done for us and come to a point to stop sharing the will of God for all men to turn from their wicked ways onto Christ their salvation and live.

    John 6:40
    For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
     
  19. convicted1

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    FTR, God can not lie. God in the flesh, Jesus/Immanuel/Emmanuel, could not lie. He did not have the ability to lie in the flesh, and wills not to, neither the ability to lie, and wills not to in heaven, either.


    God can not lie. It's impossible for Him to do so.
     
  20. HeirofSalvation

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    I tend to agree (in principle) with what you were driving at with your example Winman, but it has a catch I think..that puts us in danger of Platonism..to wit:

    If there are propostitions or principles or even laws such as those of Mathematics or Logic, which can in any way have a necessary existence or fundametal reality, than we have robbed God somewhat of his unique aseity...Thus, I still think we have to understand them as extending directly from God, or more specifically being natural emanations from his very nature or essence..In this way they remain necessarry but not independent of God.
     

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