What exactly is a free will decision?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by David Ekstrom, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. David Ekstrom

    David Ekstrom
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    Do I schedule on my Palm Pilot that on next Tuesday at 3:00 pm I'm going to make a free will decision? Do I have to coordinate that with my secretary? Much discussion about free will imagines that they are unusual, big events, like, whether I'll go to Harvard or Cambridge.
    In fact, each and every moment, I'm making "micro-decisions." My life unfolds moment by moment and I am always making free will decisions. Each of these have ramifications and they impact one another. But there are 6 billion plus people on planet earth, each of whom are constantly making free will decisions. Your decisions affect me and everyone else and you are in turn affected.
    If God is not the Sovereign Lord over my "micro-decisions," He is not Lord at all. He is trying to catch up and get things back on track.
    How is such intervention any less a "threat" to free will?
    Let's grant that God only intervenes when He sees fit. Let's follow that out. If God intervenes and makes me turn off my cell phone because otherwise, I would have run over the kid who would eventually cure cancer, is not that a "violation" of undetermined free will? But if things are to turn out any way resembling God's intentions, must He not constantly be violating "undetermined" free will?
     
  2. StefanM

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    Is this discussion not utterly futile?

    If we are merely robots, I have no choice in the matter but to disagree with you. God would have made me believe in free will.
     
  3. David Ekstrom

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    I do not believe that we are "merely robots." All I said was that our free will decisions are not outside God's sovereignty. How can that be? Here's one possible model.
    God exists beyond our universe. He chose to create our universe, knowing it from beginning to end. He chose to create the universe in which I turn off my cell phone while driving, and thus avoid hitting the kid on the bike. He did not choose to create the universe in which I continue to talk on the phone and kill the kid who otherwise would have cured cancer.
    In other words, God's choice of creating this universe on the basis of His infallible foreknowledge, renders this universe and all of its free will decisions, to be determined, and yet they are free decisions.
    In other words, time exists to me as a succession of moments which unfold inexorably in one direction only. Therefore, free will to me appears to be dependent upon indeterminancy. God transcends time and He knows exactly what I will do. At the very least, by virtue of the fact of His choosing to create this universe and not another, He has "determined" what my free will decisions will be.
     
  4. David Ekstrom

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    Stefan asks about the value of all of this speculation. He does have a good point. Certainly if we adopt a fatalistic attitude, then this is foolishness. I do, however, find profit in these inquiries. First, I want to glorify my Sovereign Lord. It is awesome to me and inspires worship that He is so majestic. Second, I need to somehow understand the teachings of Scripture, esp with respect to my fallenness. Without Him, I can do nothing. I need to confess that. Third, I need to know that all things do truly work out for the good of those whom He has called. None can thwart His will or say to Him, "What have you done?" Though I don't understand the day nor the hour, He will come and the ages will unfold according to His sovereign decree. "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"
     
  5. StefanM

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    Your follow-up posts clarified it a bit for me. It's late, and I guess I read too much into your OP.

    I have no problem with the model of determined, free decisions.
     
  6. David Ekstrom

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    Stefan asks that God determined he would disagree with me and believe in free will. Thus we carry on this discussion where we think about God and ourselves. We have an opportunity to do so prayerfully and lovingly. We have an opportunity to grow in grace and thus work out our salvation in fear and trembling. I am forced to be ever reminded that I know so little. Isn't our Sovereign Lord wonderful who does all these things to fit us for heaven?
     
  7. StefanM

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    Free will, to me, is one of those things that I cannot prove. Nevertheless, I have an insurmountable intuition that free will exists.

    I see the discussion usually (though not always) boiling down to which is more persuasive: rationalistic arguments (for hard determinism) vs. intuition (libertarianism).

    I will readily admit that the existence of an omniscient God excludes total libertarianism, but my "gut feeling" is that individuals do actually have free choices.
     
  8. TexasSky

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    A free will decision would be Christ saying, "I love you, I died so you would have life everlasting. Will you accept the forgiveness I offer you?" AND ALLOWING YOU TO ACCEPT OR REJCT IT.

    A lack of free will decision would be Christ saying, "I have decided that you will be allowed to accept the gift of salvation I made, and you will NOT be allowed to."

    A free will decision is God saying, "Do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil," and Eve saying, "I know God said don't, but I will."

    A lack of free will decision would be God saying, "You cannot eat of this tree, I have removed it." OR, "I told you not to eat of it, but I want to make sin enter the world, so I will manipulate you to eat of it."
     
  9. TexasSky

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    David,

    One other thing to consider.

    God can take anything and work His glory into it. He doesn't have to "micromanage" to "manage."
     
  10. whatever

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    This definition was offered a few days ago:

    I suspect that the poster intended #1 but not #2. As you demonstrate, there are not many choices that we make that are truly unconstrained.

    I do believe that we have free will, but we rarely (if ever) can use it. We certainly cannot be saved that way, for without God's influence we would never be saved. We may argue about the nature of that influence but the fact is that once He starts "drawing" (whatever that means) then the choice is no longer "free", according to the dictionary definition of free will. And who wants to argue against the dictionary?

    Well, I can think of two or three who probably would ...
     
  11. rc

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    The unparalleled book on this subject is "The Freedom of the Will" by Johnathan Edwards. Excellent and DEEP read. Considered his greatest work and one of the, if not, greatest book published by an American.

    I believe Man HAS the will to choose WHATEVER HE DESIRES.... BUT ... THAT'S the problem NOT the solution.
     
  12. Wes Outwest

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    Not only that, scriptures tell us that we are to do that which brings honor and glory to God. That is not possible unless we are free to decide to do so!

    If I were God, and had to deal with every decision every human makes, though not beyond my capability, I would soon become very bored with the man that I created, and destroy the whole lot. So, I gave man the ability to learn, to think, to rationalize, to obey, to act upon his own thoughts, so that I, as God, do not have to direct each and all of man's thoughts and actions. Man will hear my word, and either believe into obedience, or not. Their eternal destiny is based on what they decide.
     
  13. johnp.

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    Excuse me Wes but you have gone from 'if I were' to You are. :cool:

    john.
     
  14. rc

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    Psalm 50:21 21 These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself . But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

    We should never put ourselves in a position to think what God would do if I were God... We should KNOW what God has revealed about himself in scripture (theology) and have ONLY that determine what God is like.
     
  15. rc

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    But Wes likes to change the subject when talking about the description of free will because the Arminian view fails miserably when forced to understand the Biblical definition (and not humanistic) of free will.

    No man does good. No man seeks after God, no not one. A man doesn't "decide" what his will is, his will decides what He will choose!

    The will is the mans disposition, Biblically it is his NATURE. The heart is explained as mans will.

    As posted earlier on this thread, it talked about "micro decisions".... This is the very point of mans disposition... You don't pause and to think about MOST things you do. You don't pause and say "hmmm.. I think I will look up right now... or shouldn't I? ... Yes, I will look up... or maybe I will look to the left?..." .. This is nonsense. You just "DO" it. You act like this most of the time. These decisions flow from the very essence of your disposition or "heart". The Bible says that mans HEART is continually WICKED. It knows ONLY evil. Thus everything that is spawned from mans heart is flooded with flesh.

    In view of man's decisions. The will of man is FREE as far as it is properly defined by the BIBLE. He can CHOOSE whatever his HEART desires. This is the essence of free will. The ability to CHOOSE what you want. BUT since man's disposition is only evil and at enmity with God, his DESIRES are always AGAINST God. For the things of God are FOLLY to him.
     
  16. johnp.

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    Hello TexasSky.
    Romans 9:19 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?

    Although this might not be what you want God to be it is scripture. How do you handle a passage like the Romans passage above?

    john.
     
  17. yeshua4me2

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    the problem is with the term "free will", we are slaves to our own depraved hearts. Spurgeon said "if God had painted a yellow stripe down the back of everyone who would believe, then i would spend my days lifting up shirts, but because he didn't i preach Whosoever Will. See the problem poeple have with pre-destination is they think it removes their choice, but that is not so....let me show you how you can pre-destine someone and have them choose the predestined path. (remember this example is a finite example God is infinite, therefore he can do the same sorta thing on a much grander scale. First you pick the person to be predestined, write a letter to that person explaining the predestined act to be performed (for this example i will use the act of catching a baseball). so i would write down so and so will catch a baseball on such a date. then seal the letter in an envelope and seal it, hold on to it. then simply (of course plan to be with the person predestined on that date) walk up to the person say hello, and without saying anything to him show him the ball make a catching motion and toss him/her the ball in such a way they are ensured to catch it. then hand them the letter. you see the person actually had no choice but to do what you wanted even though the person went along willingly. you knew what was comming and actually you are responsible for everything, the person would not have even caught the ball if it wern't for you, you were in control the whole time (even though the other person chose "freely" to catch the ball......i know this is very simplistic but the principle remains.....Pre-destination with choice....there is no desparagy between choosing Christ and Being Pre-destined unto Salvation.

    thank you for reading this i prayed for several years for understanding on this issue, i hope this show that you both choose christ and are predestined.... if my example is not clear enough please e-mail me.
     
  18. Wes Outwest

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    All one paragraph all one thought!
     
  19. Wes Outwest

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    Psalm 50:21 21 These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself . But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

    We should never put ourselves in a position to think what God would do if I were God... We should KNOW what God has revealed about himself in scripture (theology) and have ONLY that determine what God is like.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Hogwash rc!
     
  20. Wes Outwest

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    You surely make God's creation sound like junk!
     

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