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Overview: An Approach to Free Will

When we discuss God’s relationship to creation, or the definition of creation, we face two principle schools of thought. The first is the rather more extreme of the two, purporting that the relationship is one of a direct link; that is, every raindrop, particle and atom is superintended by God himself. A main exponent of this view point was John Calvin, who’s perspective on sola Scriptura implies that God is not only omniscient, but also unconditionally and absolutely in control. More recent proponents of the prospect of Calvinism are Sproul, in his book ‘Not a Chance’, and in the writings Helm and Byl.

According to John Calvin, free will, for example, is “a faculty of the reason to distinguish between good and evil, and a faculty of the will to choose one or the other.” Perhaps it doesn’t always come down to choosing between good and evil, but the great question of free will has long been a popular topic of debate between theologists and atheists alike. In particular, a conservative view on God’s sovereignty might find this question especially vexing. Of course, the idea of a heavenly Father then becomes contentious. In a world of hellish misfortunes and unequivocal evil, this concept becomes the ground on which many people, young people in particular, establish their religious, or rather unreligious, bias. Plainly, God in His sovereignty would have to be held accountable as guide and counsel (J.E. Eubanks, JR, By Faith)

Instead, we seek to explore the latter of the two theories. Essentially, it is a less-conservative Christian tenet that, instead, God subcontracts his ‘control’ to a series of laws on which every raindrop, particle, atom and indeed persons rely. If we apply this to free will, our subcontracted control allows us to make moral choices. Perhaps, then, the last judgment might ultimately be realised by a self-examination of conscience. Many Christians find this line of thinking hard to reconcile with the concept of God’s divine plan. Ultimately, however, the answer is not quite as complicated as it might at first seem. When offering our heart and soul to the Lord, while we might not be fully under His control, He is able to whisper irresistible truths into the choices and paths we take. The Lord speaks through us, beside us and within us but He does not speak for us.

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