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Whaddaya Think?

September 17, 2007

Today when we looked at James 1:18 “18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” We said that God’s will for bringing us forth was for a loving relationship with us, and that these trials [vs. 2] create situations for us to affirm the faith in us.  This is an affirmation of our faith in God, not under compulsion, which is what gives God great joy.

Now, I still believe that, but I fear that was a little too simple. Here’s why…

I think all Christians would agree that God is sovereign (meaning in control of everything).  If someone has even an iota of something that they themselves can accept or deny, this seemingly contradicts this sovereignty,  since God was not apart of (or in control of) the decision.

Constantly we get messages from Christ to accept him or follow him as if we had a completely free choice:

Come to me all who are weary and burdened…”
“Whoever accepts me also receives my father…”
Choose this day whom you will serve…”                                                                                                                                       “Drop your nets and follow me…”

but then we also get passages which say that God predestined or foreknew his chosen Sons:

“… even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…”

So whats the deal? Well, lots of people sway heavily in one direction or another. Calvanists like Jonathan Edwards say that man innately has no good to draw himself to God, and needs God’s provision even to find Himself. Free will defies God’s sovereignty.

Others say that what good would a relationship with God be without free will?  If God created puppets who had no choice but to come or go as he saw fit, why bother with ‘growth’ or ‘asking for wisdom’? Not to mention the fact that if it is fixed that some are saved and others are lost, what good is missions?

Some how these thoughts must be able to be married.  What I came up with was something of a mix, although I’m still chewing:

– God must be sovereign (definite)
– We cannot know who God has predestined (definite)
– Therefore, for all intents and purposes, we have free will.  We cannot know who God has predestined, so what I feel is that I have free will.  (pretty sure)

To me this answers the question of missions, growth, etc. 

I guess I’m redefining ‘free will’ because to be honest, the mere impression of free will is enough. The fact that God knows what I will choose is simply a matter of time and space. Saying ‘foreknew’ does not apply to God.  He simply sees me doing things in the future as he is already there.

When I was younger, I told my mom I was going to run away to my grandmother’s house.  She said fine, go. I felt I had a choice and was scared out of my pants as I walked down our driveway.  I felt as though I had a choice which was enough for anyone to see my heart even though I really had no choice in the matter.

 I apologize this is so long… I’d love to know some of your thoughts and any scripture would be great.

In Christ,

DH

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