Free will is unimportant in the grand scheme of things

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Luke2427, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    Freedom is not that important to God (at least freedom defined as the power of contrary choice). We will not have the power of contrary choice throughout all of eternity once we leave here.

    If this "free will" thing even exists at all, it is clear that it is a very temporary, fleeting thing. For each human being, if he EVER has it, he only has it for a few years down here and then it is gone forever.

    It is not that important. God himself does not have it (if you define it as the power of contrary choice) so it did not come from some part of his character.

    God the Father did not have the power to NOT love the Son forever in eternity past- not for a millisecond. He does not have the power of such contrary choice now. He will never have it throughout the endless ages of eternity.

    It is not that great of a thing then if it exists at all.

    And the argument is that "free will" is necessary for "love to exist".

    Really? So there never has been any REAL love in the Godhead?

    The greatest love is displayed when it is so great that the power to do otherwise does not even exist.
     
    #1 Luke2427, Jul 21, 2012
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  2. HeirofSalvation

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    You brought this up a week or so in an exchange we were having and I was intrigued by it, as I had never heard anyone express these thoughts as you have...I am glad you brought them back up:thumbsup: You obviously have put a lot of thought into it (less than I have) So I will only respond with a few basic rejoinders.

    This may be assuming too much...You are no doubt aware that Free Will is properly understood as having limitations, specifically, only the limitations God permits his created beings to have...We will, I would imagine, not have the option to sin in Eternity...but either to sin, or not to sin are not the only contrary choices that we might make. There could be others.

    The power of contrary choice is a good definition, so I will work off of it....I again think you are possibly assuming a bit much to say that God does not have it. Free will is not merely the power to be duplicitous or evil, it can, I would assume be the capacity to do what are essentially "good" things.

    I may regret ever thinking this thought, but, I am not sure that even IF God does not "posses" it, that it cannot be a facet unique to his created beings that he can bestow upon them...I await any possible smack-downs on this idea from fellow "free-willers".

    I wouldn't argue with this....but you are arguing from the particular to the general. This is decidedly not the only "choice" God might have before him. For instance....I would argue that God had the option NOT to create at all, and yet he "chose" to. This option, either to create or not to would, I think, by definition be a "contrary-choice".

    It is also possibly more than that, and since you initially brought this up...I find your argument to be pretty strong, so I daren't argue this with you yet...but that is not the ONLY thing, I think, that "Free-Will" would be good for. I think it satisfies the demands of Justice as much as makes provision for true "Love".

    This may be...but "greatest" is not necessarily ALL there would be to it. It would at least be "different"....but your idea begs a further question. This love that was entailed within the God-head already existed, and would have satisfied the desire for God to experience such a Love...Thus, what need then for humanity at all? Indeed, I think that God's love for mankind is essentially different than that which already existed. He had a perfect fellowship indeed within the God-head....But the God-head desired to create an external object for His overflowing Love which was not previously there....That would be man, and it is quite probable that the particular kind of Love he wished to bestow upon man was one which required "Free-Will". God RECEIVED love eternally within the God-head...I think he may have desired to GIVE love by creating man. He did not, perhaps, wish to "FORCE" that love upon an unwilling recipient.
    I despise being forced to use this cliche'...but maybe it was more of a situation of "Love isn't love until it is given away".
     
    #2 HeirofSalvation, Jul 21, 2012
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  3. Luke2427

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    God bless you, friend, for your kind words. I do enjoy our discussions.


    This is actually an EXTREMELY good point.

    What we probably need is a more robust definition of what we mean when we say "free will."

    Let's then do what I suggest above. If "free will" is "not merely" this, let's decide what we think free will IS.

    I am coming at this from the angle that "free willers", as you call them, often argue that the reason there is SIN is because God wanted so desperately to have a creature with the "freedom to choose to love him or to choose not to love him." That is what I have found to be the idea of "free will" among most of the free-willers with whom I have had contact.

    And, BTW, I am literally a former Free Will Baptist pastor. I was a Free Will Baptist preacher for more than a decade before I embraced the soteriology I now espouse.

    Right. I think we have to be careful about using the word "need" as it pertains to God.

    I am not saying that it is NEVER applicable under any circumstance. But I do think it is important for Calvinists and Arminians alike to agree that God did not create the universe based upon any "need" within Him.

    I think God creates all things because he desired to have creatures share in his own glory- to experience it, revel in it, praise it, etc...

    I agree with all of this, although "love" I do not think was the only attribute which he desired for these creatures to experience.

    But he not only RECEIVED love in the Godhead- he gave it as well. And I think he was perfectly satisfied with the exchange therein.

    It is not force if they exist TO LOVE- in other words it is not force to do what it is your own nature to do.

    God the Son was not FORCED throughout eternity past to love God the Father. He did it because it was his very nature.

    The converse is true as well. We are born sinners. God does not FORCE us to sin. We sin because it is our very nature- it is what we WANT to do.
     
    #3 Luke2427, Jul 21, 2012
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  4. Skandelon

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    Good discussion. I was about to respond to the OP but after reading HeirofSalvation's response, I don't see the need. He said it very well.

    If you don't mind I'd like to submit a working definition for free will: If you are like most compatiblists you believe that a choice to act is free if it is made based on what an agent desires to do, but an indeterminists, like myself, believes a choice to act is free if it is an expression of an agent's categorical ability of the will to refrain or not refrain from the action (i.e., contra-causal freedom).

    I like to refer to this as a 'Self-Determined Choice.' Now, Compatiblists argue that their choices are 'self-determined' as well, but I'm not sure how strong their case is when you consider that the agents desires are determined by God, and those desires are what ultimately determine their choices. I believe men are influenced by desires, but desires are not determinative in nature (at least in regard to morally accountable choices). This, I believe, is one of the things that separates our choices from that of animal instinct, where the creature is merely acting reflexively in response to given stimuli according to his inborn nature and desire. A lion choosing between steak and salad is not a contra-causal self-determined choice by my standard, where it appears to meet all the criteria for a Compatiblist.
     
  5. HeirofSalvation

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    Yes, indeed: The word-choice belied my Arminian predjudice...No Calvinist would argue that God "forces" anything...and I recognize this, so I do not mean to suggest that they believe that, rather...it is one of those things that the average Arminian would argue logically amounts to it. You were right to object. It would be a straw-man to say that that is what Cals "believe", but accurate to suggest that an Arm thinks it amounts to that.

    I more or less like Skan's definition, only I like to ADD that it is "his categorical ability of the will to choose betwee two or more available options...AND to refrain or not refrain from an action." This seems a little more specific to me.
     
  6. OldRegular

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    If free will exists I believe the following can be said:

    The free will of the Child of God is constrained by the love of God and love for God.

    The free will of the unsaved is constrained by sin and the father of sin.[1 John 3;8]
     
  7. Winman

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    Try telling your wife you did not marry her because you chose her from all women in the world and see how that goes over. :laugh:

    Tell her you were simply compelled to love her and that is the only reason you love her. I'm sure she will consider it the most romantic thing you have ever said to her. :thumbs:
     
  8. Mlinar13b

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    Lucifer had the "free-will" to fall...maybe "free-will" is a test of faith. Jesus was tested in the flesh by Satan, and his free-will to NOT submit to Satan made him the better "Adam".
     
  9. Luke2427

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    It would go GREAT if your wife is sensible.

    Think about it. Try saying, "Sweetheart, from the first moment I saw you I COULD NOT HELP but fall in love with you! My will was gone. The freedom of choice was decimated. My love for you is such that I cannot do otherwise. I cannot HELP but love you. I have no choice in the matter. Your beauty, intelligence, charm, compassion and character have transformed my will. It is now simply my very nature to love you and the power to stop is as far from me as the east is from the west!"

    You ought to try that Winman. It might spice things up for you. I'd highly recommend it above saying:

    "When I met you I could just as easily have chosen not to love you as I could have chosen to love you. My love for you is fully based in my will. I only love you because I CHOOSE to love you. Your beauty, charm, intelligence, compassion and character are not such that they have bound me to love you one bit."

    What kind of woman would prefer the latter over the former?

    Maybe your wife would, Winman- but if that's the case, I'd have to say she'd be a weird one.

    Of course, that might be exactly what she would say about you?
     
    #9 Luke2427, Jul 22, 2012
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  10. Winman

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    Triple post
     
    #10 Winman, Jul 22, 2012
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  11. Winman

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    Triple post
     
    #11 Winman, Jul 22, 2012
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  12. Winman

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    Your statement is a contradiction, if your wife is beautiful, charming, kind, intelligent, compassionate, etc... these are all REASONS you chose her. These are all reasons you preferred her over other women. No man simply marries a woman out of compulsion, or at least no sensible man does.

    Tell her you do not know why you married her, you were just compelled to against your will, and see if she is flattered.
     
  13. Luke2427

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    No. They are reasons why I was compelled to marry her.

    You could say to your wife, "Your charm has no effect upon my will. My will is FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FREE!!!!! FREEEEEEE!!!!! The most important thing in the UNIVERSE is that I am FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! And you have not taken my freedom from me one bit. I could ALWAYS have chosen to stop loving you just as easily as I chose to love you- BECAUSE I AM FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!"

    My point, that you, not surprisingly, have missed COMPLETELY is that choices are made based upon causes. NO Calvinist thinks that men do not make choices. We just realize that something causes us to choose what we choose. That means that choices ARE NOT FREE.

    Your wife's charm, intelligence, etc... is what CAUSED you to choose her. That's Calvinism.

    There are REASONS why you choose everything you choose. Those reasons have CAUSED you to make your choices. Being CAUSED to do something is not freedom, the way you define it.

    The way most Arminians (I know- you don't have any theology so you are not anything so I shouldn't call you an Arminian; and I know you think you're not an Arminian because you believe in eternal security which is further proof that you don't know beans from apple butter about ANY theology since Jacobus Arminius himself was not settled on the issue) define freedom as the ability to choose one thing or the other without anything causing the choice.

    But you just admitted that your choice of your wife was CAUSED.

    Welcome to Calvinism!
     
    #13 Luke2427, Jul 22, 2012
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  14. Winman

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    I have never said that our will is not affected by influences, so you misrepresent me. Second, I know (and have posted in the past) that Arminius was not sure if a person could lose their salvation or not. So again, you err and misrepresent me.

    That said, most persons associate Arminianism with the doctrine that a person can lose their salvation, so I do not think of myself as Arminian. Further, Arminians believe in Perseverance of the Saints as do Calvinists, I disagree with this doctrine and hold to Preservation of the Saints which is altogether a different doctrine. I do not believe I am saved because I persevere in faith, I believe I am preserved in Jesus because he has promised me eternal life and Jesus cannot lie. I am not saved by my faithfulness to Jesus (thank God), I am saved because Jesus will always be faithful to me.

    Millions of Christians believe as I do, nothing unorthodox or heretical about it.

    You believe yourself smarter than others, but demonstrate your ignorance in your post. You were wrong on all accounts.
     
  15. Luke2427

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    You have to HAVE a position to be represented at all.

    On one hand you press this idea of "free will" and then you vacillate and acknowledge that choices have causes.



    I don't think there is another on EARTH who believes like you.

    In other words, there are all kinds of very consistent theologies besides Calvinism. Skandelon has a good one, for example.

    Heir of Salvation has a good one.

    But your handling of the Scriptures is so terrible, in my opinion, that I doubt there is another on EARTH who believes like you.

    Maybe Van? He is the second worst I've ever seen.
     
  16. Winman

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    It is you that demands the definition of free will means to be free from influence, I hold to no such distinction. It is absolutely impossible to be free from influence. By free will I simply mean that a person can make a choice to believe in Jesus or not. I do not believe a person is enslaved by their sin nature and cannot respond to the gospel, just as I do not believe a person is enslaved to their sin nature and must always choose to sin. Unregenerate persons choose to do the right and good thing all the time. If a person were truly enslaved by their sin nature as you teach, they would be compelled to commit the most serious sin at all times.

    You need to get out more.

    I believe what the Bible says. God directly says we have free will.

    Lev 1:1 And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
    2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
    3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
    4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.

    God himself said that any man of the Jews could make an offering of his own voluntary will. That is free will Luke, whether you like it or not. And not only did God say any man of the Jews could make a free and voluntary offering to him, which is WORSHIP, God said it would be ACCEPTED.

    You just go on denying what God himself said, I believe the scriptures. Martin Luther and his Bondage of the Will will not help you when you stand in front of God.
     
    #16 Winman, Jul 22, 2012
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  17. Luke2427

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    How many times have you been obliterated by so many people on baptistboard as you have employed this tired old argument?

    What causes one person to choose Christ and the other to choose the world?

    Why do some choose well and others choose poorly?

    See, if you would get under Skandelon, he would teach you how to be consistent here while not being a Calvinist.

    You ought to let him tutor you.

    No sir, you do not. You don't know how to even interpret the Bible so you certainly don't know what it says.

    No, he doesn't. And the Scriptures you provide below prove that you don't understand how to interpret the Bible.

    No, it is not- at least not in the sense that you are as able to choose to do one thing as you are to do the other. That is not taught there at all, but you don't know enough about how to read the Scriptures to see that.



    Wow. Perhaps you should switch to decaf this morning.
     
  18. freeatlast

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    All truth is important if we are to have the proper understanding of truth. Free will is and has always been part of God's plan. God simply does not always get His will by His own design. 1Thess 4:3 is just one example of God not getting His will in every case.
     
  19. Luke2427

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    You quoted my post, but you did not address anything I said in it.
     
  20. Winman

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    Luke, I am quite aware that Calvinism teaches that no man is bad as he can be, but that is a contradiction. If man was truly enslaved by his sin nature, he would be compelled to commit the most serious sin at all times. A man would not even realize he was doing this, because it would be his nature.

    The fact that even unregenerate men often choose to do what is right (tell the truth, return the lost wallet, be faithful to his wife, etc...) shows that man can resist his natural impulses and choose to do what is right.

    When the scriptures say we are enslaved to sin, it does not mean our will is compelled to always commit sin. What it means is that we are condemned under sin, we are under it's dominion. We have the death penalty on us, and nothing we can do can escape this. In this way we are all enslaved by sin.

    It is only by Jesus dying for our sins, and that we can trust him to save us can we escape the dominion of sin. When we trust Jesus we are no longer under the law, we are no longer held captive by sin and the death penalty, but we are now under grace and receive forgiveness of sins. This is the only remedy for all men.

    But even unregenerate men have the ability to choose to do the right thing, this is so obvious that even Calvinists cannot deny it. However, no good works a man might do can save him from the enslavement and penalty of sin except to trust in Jesus.

    The scriptures do not say we sin because we are enslaved to sin, they say the opposite, they say when we sin we become enslaved to sin.

    Jhn 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

    You have been taught the exact opposite of what Jesus said. You believe we all sin because we are enslaved by sin. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus said. Jesus sad the man who sins becomes the servant or slave of sin.

    If you ever get this straight, you will finally see the truth.
     

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