Monday, August 27, 2007

Our will is free in Christ Jesus

Greg Krehbiel over at crowhill.net ponders the usefulness of free will. So much so that he denies the existence of it. Well, at least how he defines all the rest of us understanding it.

I have always thought of free will as the grace (gift) to choose God's will.

God gives us gifts out of love. The gift is given. Free will is in the use of his gifts. For God gives us the ability to use his gifts. As a creature we cannot use anything by our own power. We are dependant upon God to give us the power to use it. It is within the ability to use a gift that our free will comes into play. Without God we have no ability to use a gift. With God we have the ability to use a gift. So when we use a gift it is by God’s grace and power that we can use it. When we refuse to use a gift we are choosing nothing and that is not something given to us by God. It is returning to a graceless state of powerlessness. It is a rejection of the grace we have been given to use his gifts and therefore against the will of God. It is sin. So God gave us the gift of obedience and told Adam to not eat of the fruit. When Adam ate of the fruit he did not use the gift that was given to him by God to accomplish God’s will, and so he sinned. All of sin comes down to that rejection of God's will (i.e. refusing the gift). The greatest thing about the incarnation is that the gift that God has given us is himself. That is why rejecting that gift is damnation.

In other words, rejection of the gift is based in the freedom of the gift. God gives us the grace to accept or use the gift, yet we can still 'choose nothing' (i.e. refuse the gift) and remain without God's grace. All of God's gifts are freely given, but they are not without cost. We can not pay that cost, and so we can not 'choose' to accept. Our acceptance has already been paid for and so any 'choice' to accept is not our own. So in a way Greg is right. However, we can choose to reject, because there is no cost in receiving nothing.

2 comment(s):

Tracy said...

Todd, this is interesting bc I just had a conversation with Ryan this morning about Free Will. He was saying commenting on the whole Garden of Eden thing and was upset that God 'let Adam and Eve sin so it was really His fault'. This led to a little talk on free will. I am not sure what he took away, but I was refreshed by the whole thing.

A couple of years ago I remember trying to understand pre-destination and double pre-destination. I don't know that I ever really got to a point of clarity, but I did decide I do not believe we are all mere robots!

Todd said...

Tracy,

Although there was a lot of babbling in this post about what I think Free Will is, it really is just all conjecture. It is one of those things I don't think we can really wrap our heads around. So I think all of us are in good company with Ryan when he says it seems like God allowing things still make it his fault.

However, we do know that God is not the author of evil. We also know that God holds us responsible for our actions. Finally we know that God is responsible for authoring us. Somehow we need all that to make sense.

I think what Greg was saying is that when people claim to be the sole movers of their will they are not describing freedom. The will is ordered towards its creator, because God designed it that way. For someone to describe the will being 'free' as apart from that ordering does not make sense. That is called slavery. That is when we become robots.

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