Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Do We Have a Free Will?

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:18-25)

I was asked not long ago if we have a “free will.” I responded by stating that it depends on how one defines the word “free.” The Word of God never tells us that we have absolute freedom outside the boundaries of God’s will. Nor does the Bible tell us we have absolute freedom in the choices and decisions we make according to our own human will.. Because of the depravity of our fallen, sinful nature we are “free” only when we make decisions and choices that are in accordance to God's sovereign and providential will. This is why Jesus said: "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).Thomas Merton said it this way:

The mere ability to choose between good and evil is the lowest limit of freedom, and the only thing that is free about it is the fact that we can still choose good. To the extent that you are free to choose evil, you are not free. An evil choice destroys freedom. We can never choose evil as evil; only as an apparent good. But when we decide to do something that seems to us to be good when it is not really so, we are doing something that we do not really want to do, and therefore we are not really free.

Perfect spiritual freedom is the total inability to make any evil choice.
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:16-18)

No comments:

Post a Comment