Question: I hear talk of free choice and free will, but the more people I asked the more amazed I am to see how many Christians say that free will and free choice actually DOESN'T exist. They say God is in control and that predestination is mentioned in the Bible. Could anyone address this situation and give an expert opinion with comments? Basically, I'd like to have a general consensus on free choice in Christianity. Why or why not you think it exists. Thanks!
Answer: Actually predestination is mentioned in the Bible, it is just that what the Bible teaches on the subject, and what others teach on the subject are different things.
Eph 1:5 "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will," By reading the whole of chapter 1, we see that God decided before the foundation of the world who was going to heaven and who was not.
Now God did not decide that Mary in Albany, and George in Akron were going. No, that is not what God has done. God simply gave a set of rules and guidelines. It states that whoever meets the conditions set forth are worthy of entrance.
It is in a way similar to a contest in which there is a grand prize to be offered. But it will not go to just anyone, neither has a person been selected before the contest to win. But a selection is made from all those who filled out the forms and sent in the boxtops. By meeting the requirements and conditions, one qualifies themselves for the prize.
Paul mentioned that one cannot win the race unless he enters the race and competes. You have to be careful about the statement of free choice/will. In one sense it is a free choice we make because we make it of our own volition. Yet, any choice we make is conditional upon meeting certain requirements. In that sense it is not a free choice. We have the decision to do what God commands, or we have the choice to NOT do what God commands.
If God commands a certain action, we do not have the free choice to do otherwise. Look at Cain in Gen 4 substituting what God had commanded.
Warnings are given about adding or subtracting from God's commands. Now God is in control of the powers that be, and of governments, and the natural world and the elements. The ONLY thing that God does not control is man. God states the terms and gives man every opportunity to respond in a positive way. But God never forced a person to be obedient outside of their own will. Notice how or through Whom we are predestined. Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He was the door, and that no one comes to the Father except THROUGH Him. Those outside of Christ will not be accepted into heaven. Those in Christ, will be accepted. That is the rule God made which the apostle Paul called predestination.
Keep studying God's word. (www.Askme.com on 7/6/2000)
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