What About Free Will? (Part 3)

I am writing a book on the ever thorny, controversial, misunderstood topic of free will.  Over the course of several weeks, I am blogging about the issue.  I invite your feedback, as this will help me fine tune the contents of my book.

Gavel

In this third post, I present the most common reasons libertarians give in support of their position and show why these reasons are flawed.

Libertarianism Establishes a Meaningful Relationship with God

According to libertarians, only if we are free to accept or reject God can we have a meaningful relationship with Him.  If our love for God is determined it must mean it is either mechanistically programmed or coerced against our will.  If either notion is true then love would be stripped of its value.  Greg Boyd says, “If love is the goal” of God’s creation of us then love “must be freely chosen. It cannot be coerced. Agents must possess the capacity and opportunity to reject love if they are to possess the genuine capacity and ability to engage in love.” Continue reading

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What About Free Will? (Part 2)

I am writing a book on the ever thorny, controversial, misunderstood topic of free will.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I plan to blog about the issue.  I invite your feedback, as this will help me fine tune the contents of my book.

Arminius

In this second post, I present the position on free will known as libertarianism. Libertarians are generally associated with Arminians and Open Theists.  However, most people, Christian or not, generally have some notion of free will that is akin to libertarianism although few could articulate what they mean by free will.  The libertarian concept of free will teaches two fundamental ideas.

Contrary Choice

First of all, libertarianism teaches that humans are fully capable of making choices contrary to the choices they actually make.  This is called the power of contrary choice.  Arminian theologian Roger Olson states, “Free agency is the ability to do other than what one in fact does.” A person can choose to do what they want to do, but they can equally choose to do what they don’t want to do. Continue reading

What About Free Will? (Part 1)

I am writing a book on the ever thorny, controversial, misunderstood topic of free will.  Beginning today and over the course of the next few weeks, I plan to blog about the issue.  I invite your feedback, as this will help me fine tune the contents of my book.

Blue_Question_Mark_clip_art_hight

In this first post, I am simply introducing the topic.

Biblical Christians embrace two foundational affirmations.  First, God is in control of all that transpires in time, space and history including the course of individual human lives.  Secondly, human beings are responsible moral agents who freely choose the direction their lives take.  On the surface, these two truths appear to be in conflict with one another.  How can God direct the course of human history and yet humans remain free to choose their own course of action?

Since free will and divine sovereignty seem irreconcilable, one or the other is usually denied or limited in some degree.  Historically, some Christians have limited God’s sovereignty in order to uphold what seems so obvious, that man has a free will.  This is most often associated with Arminianism.  Other Christians have emphasized God’s sovereign determination of what transpires while either limiting human freedom or denying it altogether.  This is generally associated with Calvinism. Either man has a free will which limits God’s sovereignty or God is absolutely sovereign and man is not really so free.  But is it possible to somehow reconcile God’s sovereignty with human freedom? Continue reading