Saturday, April 08, 2006

My Understanding of Free Will

From the TeamPyro blog, a very good explanation of the free will of man:
"You DO have more than one option. What you do not have as an unredeemed sinner is the moral capacity to choose the right option. Sinners HATE God and have no taste for righteousness. Therefore they will never make a righteous choice.

No one is denying that they have a choice. What we're denying is the idea that their wills are inclined neither to good nor to evil, so that they have an equal capacity to choose either way.

In other words, free choice can exist even when the will is determined. Look at it like this:

Let's set before a horse two meals. One is a bowl of raw horse meat and the other is a manger of hay. Set him completely free, and let him choose which lunch he will eat. Can you guess which meal the horse will choose? He will choose the hay *every time.* His will is governed by his desires, and the desires are shaped by his nature.

Now take the same two meal options and set them before a dog. Untether the dog and let him choose what to eat. What will the dog choose for lunch? He will choose the horse meat *every time.* Why? Because his nature determines his desires, and his desires govern his will.

In other words, both the will of the dog and the will of the horse are *determined* by something other than the will itself. There is no possibility that they will choose any way other than what their nature dictates. And yet they are perfectly free to choose, without compulsion, between the choices that are set before them.

So it is with fallen man. He is free to make his choices apart from any external compulsion. And yet every person ever born of human parents chooses to sin. Why? Because our nature determines our tastes. Our will is *free* to choose because it is not under any external compulsion. And yet it is also *determined* by our nature and inevitably chooses evil.

So there's a true kind of 'free will' that Calvinists affirm--but we deny that the will is free to determine itself.

In other words, you cannot change your nature by an act of the will (Jer. 13:23). The human will is inexorably bent toward evil. We cannot ultimately make any other choice. And in yet the moral choices we make, we choose freely and are therefore responsible for what we choose. This is not really that hard a concept, but the sinful mind does not want to receive it."
So, you're probably wondering, "How does anyone ever get saved - choose Christ?"

God changes that person's will - we call that regeneration. God makes that person a new creation. God takes out the heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. THEN, and only then, does man have any sort of desire to choose to follow Christ and because his nature desires it, he WILL do it. So, yes, I do believe a man has to choose Christ (make a decision for Christ in that "hour of decision), but he's never going to do it until God does something first.

This, then, is what we call "irrestistible grace." There is no sense of "dragging someone kicking and screaming into the heaven against his will," as so many want to caracature Calvinism thought.

Any thoughts? Comments? Rebuttals? Questions?

3 comments:

Andy Rosenbalm said...

In addition, if God changes a person's heart to enable him/her to choose salvation, he will always choose salvation. Correct? I have heard it said that the "Spirit called them" but they never answered. I find that impossible to believe.
The "I made a decision for Christ" statement is so many times missrepresented of what has actually happened in a persons life. In our human nature we can not humble ourselves enough sometimes to see that we had nothing to do witht the whole ordeal. It was God's calling that enabled our DEAD nature to see the Glory of Christ.

Jim Pemberton said...

It occured to me during this season as I have been contemplating the relationship between Passover and the atonement that there is a clear distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians. The Exodus was for the Hebrews and not the Egyptians, which is analagous to limited atonement.(If I recall correctly a few Egyptians did actualy go with the Hebrews, but I don't think this is meant to be part of the analogy.) The nature of being Hebrew is not something that one could obtain by anything but birth - determined by one's lineage. In the case of the Messianic believer today, it is a spiritual lineage given solely by our Father in heaven, enacted by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and paid for by the Firstborn of Israel Who is also the Passover Lamb.

kooz said...

I was on the fence about predestination for years...finally I realized that John Calvin was correct in his interpetation of free will in the Bible.

Its quite a topic to try and cover on a blog...but, to put it in a nut shell...I don't think we could ever choose Christ because we are so stinkin sinful. I think the Bible is pretty clear that we were predestined before the foundations of the world.

If you're interested in my views...visit baylyblog.com.

Respectfully In Christ,

Bill