Free will

Free will

Asked by Someone

We are told (by the church) that man was given “free will” by God, however we are also told that if he chooses to exercise this free will in any way other than the way that God approves of, he is punished. Not much of a “free will” is it ? And if (as the church says) God is perfect, then how did man (whom the church tells us is imperfect) come from perfect God?

Genesis 2 records God creating Adam, and Eve, as autonomous beings. They were free to do as they will, provided they kept the single commandment given to them, not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17). The perfect God created a creature that was free, not constrained, even to the point of becoming ‘imperfect’. It was Adam’s free choice that resulted in his rebellion against God’s command, and so corrupted his nature.

After ‘the Fall’ – Adam’s rebellion in chapter 3 of Genesis, humanity’s nature is ‘corrupt’. All choices have consequences – and this is the consequence of rebellion against God. This means that, though we are free to choose our actions, all our actions are to some degree affected by our corrupted nature. Paul speaks of this inherited sin in Romans 5:19 “For just as through the disobedience of the one man (i.e. Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”

Simply because God created human beings with a will does not mean they are not held accountable for their actions – no more than a parent who gives their child independence would not hold them accountable for their choices.

God, as an act of love, created human beings to have real choice and responsibility, but also holds us accountable for our choices. Although we inherit a corrupt nature that chooses to rebel against God, God has also acted to provide a way to restore our natures – by setting us “free from sin” (Romans 6:18). This happens when we repent of our sin, and by trusting in Christ we are forgiven and enabled to live a new life – enabled to make choices that God truly approves of.

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