I had a discussion today with a Catholic about whether the notion of free will is applicable to faith. We discussed Saul’s conversion.
Did Saul really make a ‘choice’ to convert and have faith? Could anyone really not have converted given this experience? Did Saul choose God or did God choose Saul? Clearly, I think the answer is both, but specifically with regards to faith – whose choice was it?Originally Posted by Acts 9 (English Standard Version)
Can we choose the things in which we have faith? Can we choose to change our minds about the things in which we have or do not have faith. What is the difference between belief and faith? If I believe that the computer keyboard and monitor that I am using to write this are actually here in front of me, is that the same as having faith that they exist? Could I simply choose to stop having faith that they are there? Can I choose to have faith that the thermos on the table next to the computer is blue rather than green? If I see it as green? Experience it as green? Know it to be green? Can I choose to believe that it is anything but green?
A cursory internet search seems to indicate that scripture would seem to indicate both; in Deuteronomy 7:
God’s chooses Israel. But in Deuteronomy 30:Originally Posted by Deuteronomy 7 (ESV)
Israel is urged to choose God.Originally Posted by Deuteronomy 30 (ESV)
In Joshua 24
our choice.Originally Posted by Joshua 24 (ESV)
In Isaiah 44
God’s choice.Originally Posted by Isaiah 44 (ESV)
Even Jesus’ words on this seem unclear to me:
as he asks us to choose to abide in him, but then says that we did not choose him, but rather he choose us.Originally Posted by John 15 (ESV)
The sermon from which I found many of these versus likens the process to ‘falling in love’. Namely, it is something that happens to us, but we are given the choice as to whether or not to pursue it. This somehow seems insufficient to me. What do you think?
Do you believe that our free will extends to the notion of having faith in Jesus Christ or that applies only to the choice of whether or not to follow him?