Does Man Have A Free Will?

What distinguishes people from animals is that people have wills. They can think, make choices, and act upon those choices. The problem is that their will is not free. It is bound by the sin nature inherited from Adam.

1. When God first created Adam, he had free-will either to good or evil, Genesis 1:31.

2. When Adam disobeyed, sin entered, and death (physically and spiritually) was passed upon all men in him, Romans 5:12. Since that time, all who are born into this world are sinners from birth, Psalm 58:13.

3. Since Adam’s fall, all who are born are free to evil, but not to good. This is proven in the Fall itself. Here are some points to ponder on this subject.

-If man, in the Fall, lost his free-will to good, then it cannot be found in the fallen estate.

-If conversion is a new creation, then fallen sinners have no free-will to good. Creation is a production of something out of nothing. This means that there is nothing good in man for God to work with. He simply creates him anew.

-Conversion is the result of new birth. We cannot birth ourselves. This is why the Scriptures speak of the new birth as being born from above, (John 3:3). God must give him birth, because man has no will of his own to come to God, John 6:44.

-Conversion is the raising of one who is dead in sin. It is a spiritual resurrection, John 5:25. If man had a will to come to God himself, such a work of God would not be required. Yet the Scriptures teach that it takes the same power of God that raised Christ from the dead, to raise dead sinners, (Ephesians 1:19-20).

The sum of all this is that God must bring sinners to Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel, and the Almighty work of the Spirit. He takes sinners who are dead in their sins, and brings them irresistibly and willingly, although their natural will is inclined to oppose.

By K. Wimer

One Comment on “Does Man Have A Free Will?

  1. I think you’re a little off base with what you described as “free will” in animnals. As one example, mammels (as well as other creatures) absolutely have the qualities of which you spoke, for they can think (what endangers them or not, what they can eat, etc), make choices, and act upon those choices. Research has shown over and over those characteristics can be learned, and in a accelerated manner by animals. Survival of the fittest, those animals who live longer than most, have shown steep learning curves spcifically in all three of the areas you described and with an increasing amount of possible dangers.

    Perhaps you meant free will within the context of choosing right or wrong (i.e. a consciounce). If so, I still disagree that Adam or Eve ever had “free will”. The Genesis passage you mentioned (as well as any of the other passages in Genesis) makes such an assertion. Genesis states that God said what he created was “good”, but it gives no criteria for what “good” meant. Was Adam created good to serve as a roll player for What God had predestined him to do? Lets examine the passage and find out.

    The bible says that God was pleased with the creation of man. Man was made in His image, and God said it was “good”. This is curious because after examining the Genesis account of Adam and Eve, while apparently some of Adam and Eve’s attributes were reflective of God’s image, many of their attributes were not reflective of God’s image nor were they good. Still, all of their attributes were intentionally and solely placed within them by God their creator.

    The bible is clear as to the special attributes that are unique to God’s being. The bible says that God is only light and there is no darkness in Him. He is perfect and holy, intolerant and incapable if sin. He is sovereign; the supreme and absolute authority that is all knowing, all perceiving, all powerful, and all present. Interestingly, none of those qualities were given to Adam and Eve. On the flip side, God deliberately equipped Adam and Eve with sinful natures, attributes completely foreign and hostile to God’s innate being. Even so, God withheld the “good” qualities that would have enabled Adam and Eve to prevail over their sinful natures when confronted with the opportunity to sin.

    The Genesis passage provides strong insight regarding the characteristics of Adam and Eve. First, about their sinful natures. Since Eve fell first let’s start with some of the specific characteristics that Genesis indicates about her. Eve possessed a coveting spirit, for she could be tempted. She was given a spirit of rebellion and defiance, for she could willfully disobey God. She was given the spirit of resentment, for she felt slighted that God had withheld something from her. She also harbored pride for she desired to be like God instead of humbly accepting the role she was asked to perform. Adam also harbored at least some of these characteristics, for Adam also willfully disobeyed God’s instructions to not eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. Adam and Eve shared a number of other “not in God’s image” attributes. Both lacked wisdom and discernment. Neither showed any inclination to challenge the authority of the tempter or perceive him as dishonest. Neither possessed the astuteness to bring the tempter’s bogus claims before God prior to eating the forbidden fruit. The bible says both lacked knowledge of good and evil (the forbidden qualities from the fruit of the tree of knowledge) and consequently possessed no innate conscience, no silent voice to influence them through times of trial. I am jumping to the “lack of conscience” conclusion, but there’s nothing in the passage to support a different finding. To try and say that each had a conscious has no basis for validity, for what good is a conscious if there is no knowledge of good or evil to apply it? I’ve heard some try and lobby that both had knowledge of “good” since God said what he created was “good”, but to reach that conclusion one has to add words to the text that don’t exist and make an inference about their behaviors that the text does not support through words spoken or actions from either Adam or Eve.

    Using the facts of Genesis as the basis for determining Adam and Eve’s condition, and not meaning to sound denigrate toward them, but the passage describes the mental prowess and spiritual condition of both Adam and Eve to be naïve simpletons; sinful, foolish, rebellious beings who were totally dependent on God’s intervening protection for keeping them out of harm’s way, which brings me to my next observation about their predicament. In spite of the negative attributes deliberately given to Adam and Eve by God (i.e. a rebellious, sinful nature,) as well as the positive attributes that were deliberately withheld by God (i.e. knowledge of good and evil, wisdom and discernment, knowledge of the tempter and his tactics and a conscience), and in spite of the stakes for failing being incredibly high (they were not permitted a learning curve, simply a “one and done” warning was given), God did not intervene with His protection when the tempter came. And God did not place Adam and Eve in front of a run of the mill charlatan. No, this was the “father of all lies”, the “master deceiver” Satan himself. The most wicked, vile, skilled deceiver and manipulator the world will ever know. God in his sovereignty knew this encounter would happen. He placed Satan on the earth. He obviously allowed Satan in the garden and knew the encounter with Adam and Eve would happen. Still, God offered no instruction to Adam and Eve prior to their encounter with the Tempter nor did he offer to intervene as their conscience once the Tempter was encountered.
    Based on the facts found in Genesis, is it possible to reach any other conclusion that God deliberately set both Adam and Eve up to fail? God deliberately gave Adam and Eve their sinful, rebellious nature while deliberately withholding all of the spiritual attributes for protection that would have allowed them to defeat the tempter. Some may try and say they could have just said “no” to the tempter, but that doesn’t hold water. A carnal creature, with only a rebellious sinful nature, with no knowledge of good and evil and void of a conscience will always desire to sin when tempted for there is nothing within the person to keep them from choosing otherwise.

    The Bible is explicitly clear that “God chose us before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4), so Adam and Eve’s fall was hardly an unforeseen calamity to God. Our need for a savior was not the result of the fall, but was already in place before the fall. Consequently, what played out in the garden appears to be little more than a predetermined event that happened exactly as God designed it happen, emphasizing the futility of man and his total incapacity to “live in paradise”, let alone save himself outside of God’s intervening Grace.

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