Jul 6, 2012

Free Will Theodicy

Adam had a free will.  Very few would deny this.  Angels have free will.  Again, very few would deny this.  Adam's disobedience to the law of God was an act of his free will.  The sin of the angels was likewise an act of free will.  These things are almost universally believed by Jews, Muslims, and Christians. 

Obviously, having free will offers no guarantee of future eternal security.  So, why is the idea of "free will" so admired and highly valued by philosophers and theologians? 

The only way to insure that a person is eternally secure is to rid him of "free will."  But, if "free will" is so vital to being a responsible person, then this must unchangeably be the state of creatures.  But, if this is so, then there can be no certain security for any creature.  If I have "free will" in glory, then I will never be secure.  If God so fixes my will, however, that it cannot choose to violate the will of God, then how is my will "free"?  Does God not determine the future actions of the will in "glorification"? 

Why do Christians pray for God to conquer, subdue, rule, and control their will if "free will" is a necessary virtue to being?

The will is never free in every respect, but only in relation to specific things.  Only God has free will in its most perfect and absolute sense.  People are either free from or to.  They are "free from" this or that, and are "free to" think, say, or do this or that.  Not only is freedom relative, but it is also limited. 

3 comments:

Michael White said...

Stephen,
You said,"The only way to insure that a person is eternally secure is to rid him of "free will." But, if "free will" is so vital to being a responsible person, then this must unchangeably be the state of creatures."

Here is a big problem in understanding salvation: RESPONSIBILITY!!!

Responsibility has to do with LAW not Gospel. Man has a sort of freedom of the will and that is why he is responsible for his moral choices. But the Gosdpel is not an offer like, Whom shall you obey, God or Baal?

Thus the Gospel is not a moral choice. If the words of the cross are foolishness to a person, how can he morally be expected to surrender his life to a dead Jewish carpenter? If he is blind, how can one expect him to see?

Ryan Poe said...

Here's something interesting to think about: Is God's will truly free, meaning he can choose to sin? Or, is his will bound to his eternally good nature, which is eternally good because he eternally decrees that it be so?

It's like the old philosophical rock conundrum. God can't make a rock too heavy for him to lift because doing so would contradict his nature. Just a thought.

Tim Price said...

Stephen,

Good stuff. Check me out on http://jotopsredwasp.blogspot.com/ and I'd like permission to repost some of your stuff there.