IS FREE WILL BIBLICAL?
The Bible is very clear that God has granted to men a free will – a choice between two or more alternatives in regards to their character, future and destiny. Free will is nothing more than the power to choose between two or more alternatives. And God often gives men a choice between different alternatives in the Bible – like blessing and cursing, life and death, repenting or perishing.
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life…” (Deut. 30:19)
“Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death” (Jer. 21:8).
“Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Josh. 24:15).
“Behold I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God…. And a curse if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God” (Deut. 11:26-28).
Tertullian said, “…you will find that when He sets before man good and evil, life and death, that the entire course of discipline is arranged in precepts by God’s calling men from sin, and threatening and exhorting them; and this on no other ground than that man is free, with a will either for obedience or resistance.”
Adam Clarke commented on Deuteronomy 11:26 and said, “If God had not put it in the power of this people either to obey or disobey; if they had not had a free will, over which they had complete authority, to use it either in the way of willing or nilling; could God, with any propriety, have given such precepts as these, sanctioned with such promises and threatenings? If they were not free agents, they could not be punished for disobedience, nor could they, in any sense of the word, have been rewardable for obedience. A Stone is not rewardable because, in obedience to the laws of gravitation, it always tends to the center; nor is it punishable be cause, in being removed from that center, in its tending or falling towards it again it takes away the life of a man. That God has given man a free, self-determining Will, which cannot be forced by any power but that which is omnipotent, and which God himself never will force, is declared in the most formal manner through the whole of the sacred writings. No argument can affect this, while the Bible is considered as a Divine revelation; no sophistry can explain away its evidence, as long as the accountableness of man for his conduct is admitted, and as long as the eternal bounds of moral good and evil remain, and the essential distinctions between vice and virtue exist.”
Even the Apocrypha affirmed free will. Ben Sirach, the Jewish Scribe, wrote this: “Say not: ‘It was God’s doing that I fell away’; for what he hates he does not do. Say not: ‘He has caused me to err’; for he has no need of wicked man. The Lord hates all abominations; and they that fear God love it not. When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice. If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. He has set fire and water before you, stretch forth your hand to whichever you choose. Before man is life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him.”
The Natural Ability of Man: A Study On Free Will & Human Nature by Jesse Morrell is an exhaustive theological volume that defends the Christian doctrine of man’s free will against the false Gnostic/Calvinist doctrine of man’s natural inability.
This volume explains the truth of man’s freedom of choice in light of Church history and other doctrines like total depravity, regeneration, atonement, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, predestination, repentance, faith, the believers security, original sin, etc. One Bible teacher called this book “the most comprehensive exposition on man’s natural ability in print.”
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