Free Will: What's the point?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Joseph_Botwinick, Oct 18, 2003.

  1. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    Is there any good in mankind outside of a relationship with Christ? If left to our own devices (free-will), would any of us ever really choose God? Isn't it the grace of God that draws us to him by his spirit and through his word? I guess what I am asking is this:

    If none of us are righteous enough to choose God on our own and it is only through the grace of God that we are saved, but not everyone is saved (universalism), what is the point of Free Will?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  2. Yelsew

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    God says to fallen man, "I have done all the work for your redemption, and I extend my grace toward you so that you have some time to make a choice. I however will not make you accept it. I leave that choice up to you, I give you free will with which to accept or reject what I have done for you.

    If you accept it, you shall have eternal "life" with my only begotten son Jesus. But, If you reject it you shall be judged and cast into the Lake of fire, which I call the second "death".

    It is my desire that none, no not one should perish, therefore choose life!
     
  3. swaimj

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    People believe in free will because they exercise each day. Calvinism accepts that this is true on a practical basis. However, when it comes to salvation, calvinists define sovereignty and free will in a completely different way. This necessitates a dual definition of God's sovereignty in the calvinistic system. What does "God's sovereignty" mean? Depends on what you are talking about. This distinction in the definition is what makes calvinism "hard to swallow" for the common person. It is why seminaries tend to be calninistic, but churches tend not to be.
     
  4. Yelsew

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    Free will exists because God provided choices for man to make using free will. God does not make the choices for man. For every choice, each option carries with it consequences.

    There is no choice given where man is not given a view of the consequences associated with the options.

    There will be "no excuses" for making the choices we do, because God has provided us with the information by which we are to make choices.
     
  5. rlvaughn

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    Perhaps this will not be an inappropriate question for this thread. If so, we can start a separate thread to discuss it.

    For those who favorably advocate that man has a free will: What does the term free mean in relation to the will? What do you mean by free will?

    I ask in relation to this - it seems that man's will is subject to be trumped by God's will, the devil's will, the will of other men, and even his own nature (e.g., no matter how much I might want to fly, I can't just start flapping my arms and take off). Just giving this as a reference point for the questions.

    Joseph, if you want this to go on another thread, let me know and I'll start one.
     
  6. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Actually, Robert,

    I think you probably just expressed what I was trying to say more clearly. It seems to me that outside of Christ, there is no capacity to choose what is right. Christ is, afterall, our righteousness since we are all unrighteous.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  7. Yelsew

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    Free will is a matter of perspective. From God's perspective man has NO free will, only choices.

    From Man's perspective, free will means that the man can. of his own free will, choose!

    Man is given parameters within which man is constrained. For example, man cannot create, man can only imagine ideas and alter existing creations.

    Man cannot under his own power lift his body from the surface of the earth and transport his body to distant location on the surface of the earth or sustain the "off the surface" experience. Man certainly is constrained in this matter of flying, a constraint overcome by making things out of God's creation that enable man to be "lifted" from the surface of the earth.

    I could list many areas in which man is constrained, having no free will.

    Man does have free will in the control of the flesh within the constraint imposed there on.
     
  8. swaimj

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    Let me explain free will in terms of a contrast, and in terms of a biblical narrative.

    By way of contrast, God could have created a moral world--that is a world in which sin, or evil choices are impossible. That in fact is the state in which God dwells, a state of holiness. God could have created an a-moral world. A world in which there is no such thing as good or evil. In fact he did created this type of world for the animals. They do not choose good or evil, they with by instinct and do not possess morality. For men, God created a world in which there is moral choice. Good and evil exist in our world. We are affected by them and we can and do choose between them. We choose between them because we have the free will to do so.

    In terms of a biblical narrative, the story of Adam and Eve reveals that they were given free will. They were placed in a world that was "very good", as God declared it. The possibility of an evil choice was placed before them. The consequences of the evil choice was stated to them. While Eve was deceived by the serpent and disobeyed God, Adam, fully aware of what he was doing, made a conscious choice to disobey God. He exercised free will.
     
  9. TJAcorn

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    Interesting "quote" from God. Here's what He actually said...

    "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."


    and Paul writes in Romans 9...

    18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
    19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' " 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
    22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory-- 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea:
    "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people;
    and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one," 26 and,
    "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them,
    'You are not my people,'
    they will be called 'sons of the living God.' "
    27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
    "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
    only the remnant will be saved.
    28For the Lord will carry out
    his sentence on earth with speed and finality."
    29 It is just as Isaiah said previously:
    "Unless the Lord Almighty
    had left us descendants,
    we would have become like Sodom,
    we would have been like Gomorrah."

    We can talk about free will all day long but the Bible declares that God chose a people for Himself and that we are at His mercy for our salvation. Apart from Him none of us would have ever "exercised our free-will" and accepted Christ as Lord.

    Trevor
     
  10. ILUVLIGHT

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    Hi Joseph;
    Isn't it the grace of God that draws us to him by his spirit and through his word? </font>[/QUOTE]I wasn't aware grace was involved.So if I wasn't aware of it how could it draw me. I know that I was drawn by the telling of the life of Christ. Grace being favor how is it that you would say we were drawn by Grace since everyone can hear the gospel preached.

    Grace wasn't experinced by me until I believed only then can I say that God showed me favor.

    There aren't any Christians any more righteous than the unsaved. They all sin. They're not perfect. Yet Calvinism teaches that we are changed when regenerated and then can understand spiritual things. We are saved by God's grace through faith. God does take the first step by offering eternal life as a gift. We then only have to believe. Believing is not a work for salvation.Believing is what must happen or you won't be saved. I make no claim that I have any part in the saving process. I just accept God's gift.

    If man has no choice as you would suggest.This would make God a totalitarin dictator.The Jews are God's chosen people.This means they are elect, yet he came unto his own and they received Him not. They rejected Him. How is it they could do this. Choice is the answer. You had the same choice.

    May God bless you.
    Mike
     
  11. Yelsew

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    Yes, God did chose a people for himself, and he hardened the hearts of his chosen people (Israel) so that we, gentiles, who by believing would receive the Gospel could receive the Gospel through our individual free will choice to accept what the Jews had rejected. All the while, the whole of His creation is under the Grace of God. All of this to bring glory unto Himself.

    The Jews are the only peoples on earth that God has declared are "His chosen people". There is no other population so defined, not even under the title "the elect".
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    Actually, calvinists are consistent in their definition of "free will." Your inadequate learning is affecting your position. Free will means that a person can act in any way that is consistent with his nature. That is true in any realm. There is no dualism in Calvinism and no confusion. The confusion comes when people wrongly define free will.

    Seminaries tend to be calvinistic because of their emphasis on Scripture. Churches may tend otherwise because Scripture is not being fully taught. However, I don't but that churches tend the other way.
     
  13. Nomad

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    That sums the debate up pretty well. I would only add that I think it's odd that we argue so much over this subject. Although I don't believe free will exists in the popularly accepted sense, I do always feel free in everything I do. In other words, I do what I want to do, not what I feel coerced to do. Now, it may be that the desire to do (or not to do) a certain thing comes ultimately from God, but if I don't feel controlled or manipulated by any outside force when making decisions, why get worked up about it?
     
  14. Primitive Baptist

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    Everyone who claims to be a serious student of the Scripture must admit that the will of man is limited. For example, can a man live without sinning? Most Christians I know will admit that this is impossible. Now, does this not prove that the will of man is limited to at least some degree?

    Is it the position of those on this board who hold to a more Arminian view of Scripture that man can come to Christ without any outide influence? Will you at least admit that the will of man is limited at least a little bit, and that he needs at least a little bit of help coming to Christ?
     
  15. Yelsew

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    NO! It amplifies the fact that man has a nature bent on sin. If man did not have a sin nature, but only the choices between good and evil, man would choose good more often than evil. You should know Larry, that we all seek our own comfort level, and having a sin nature, sinning is more comfortable. That does not mean we do not have the ability to choose good, and there are many who do. Noah, Abraham, etc. are good examples, but most assuredly every man can choose to do that which is outside his comfort zone.
    Why? God has established all that is necessary for man's salvation. Man can do no works good enough, there is only one sin strong enough to inhibit Salvation, and God's only requirement for man is that Man believes in Him, in his only begotten Son, and that man live the remainder of his natural life in accordance with his faith in God. Those who don't are subject to losing that which they don't use, including FAITH. God made it possible for man to return to Him. It is up to man to believe, and believing is a matter of Free will.
     
  16. TJAcorn

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    So did Christ not die for that sin? Are you saying we can be forgiven of all sins except one? I'm guessing you're talking about the sin of unbelief.

    Not my Christ - He reached down His strong arm and rescued me despite my rebellion and despite the fact that I always rejected Him.


    With all your talk you have yet to bring up scipture (in context) to support your view. A good browse through Romans and a short study on what it means to be a slave to sin might be good for you too.

    Trevor
     
  17. swaimj

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    Oh really? Nomad's post, which followed yours voices agreement with your comments,
    then essentially agrees with me! I said
    and Nomad said
    indicating that he doesn't believe in free will even though he does experience it! You're right Pastor Larry, my education was far too inadequate for me to decipher all the conflicting calvinistic mumbo jumbo. ;) :D
     
  18. Yelsew

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    TJAcorn
    I'll let Jesus answer that.
    I suspect that He put his truth before you and you chose to accept it!

    God gave man the ability to escape the bondage of sin through recognition of sin, confession of sin, and forgiveness of sin, coupled to repentance from sin.
    </font>
    • Acknowledging one's sin is what man does!
      Confession is what man does!
      Forgiveness is what God gives!
      Repentance is what man does!
      Cleansing from all unrighteousness is what God does!</font>
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    indicating that he doesn't believe in free will even though he does experience it! You're right Pastor Larry, my education was far too inadequate for me to decipher all the conflicting calvinistic mumbo jumbo. ;) :D </font>[/QUOTE]Okay, think about this. He agrees with me as he said. How does he then agree with you? In fact, he said "I don't believe free will exists in the popularly accepted sense." Did you miss that line? We would expect people to feel free in everything they do. Why? Because of the definition I gave. Free will means we act in accordance with our nature. That is why we "feel free." Is this another sign that your deciphering skills need some work??? :D
     
  20. swaimj

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    I expect them to "feel free" because they are free, according to your definition. But Nomad, even though he says he feels free denies that he actually is free.

    Regardless, it's hard to see you a person can have true freedom if God is sovereign in the sense that calvinism teaches (though it probably wouldn't be hard to fish out differences among calvinists on that definition either).
     

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