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Joe King
Jul 22nd 2008, 11:41 PM
What passages speak of free will and how it is a gift to us?

Joey Porter
Jul 23rd 2008, 01:01 AM
There actually aren't any passages that speak of free will as being a gift. Come to think of it, there really aren't any passages that talk of free will at all. There are passages that seem to imply that we have a will, and a choice, but not an actual "free" will.

Joe King
Jul 23rd 2008, 03:25 AM
There actually aren't any passages that speak of free will as being a gift. Come to think of it, there really aren't any passages that talk of free will at all. There are passages that seem to imply that we have a will, and a choice, but not an actual "free" will.

I was hoping to find some because a lot of people say that it is a gift. I don't agree. Sometimes I wish I was an animal so I couldn't sin.

crossnote
Jul 23rd 2008, 05:12 AM
Adam and Eve had free will before they fell. The unbeliever has free will in choosing which color socks he will put on but he is a slave to sin and satan when it comes to 'choosing' God.
The Christian has what I would call 'guarded free will' because it is dependent on God's grace in Christ which remains free while the christian abides in Christ.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
(Rom 6:12-14)

Athanasius
Jul 23rd 2008, 05:14 AM
What passages speak of free will and how it is a gift to us?

All of the ones that involve people or things making choices.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 23rd 2008, 05:16 AM
When we say "free will" do we simply mean the ability to make choices within a given context or absolute, autonomous free will?

BroRog
Jul 23rd 2008, 05:40 AM
When we say "free will" do we simply mean the ability to make choices within a given context or absolute, autonomous free will?

Good question. Freedom of the will is the ability to make voluntary, uncoerced, and meaningful choices. And in any given choice, we always had the option to do otherwise.

At the same time, if God is sovereign, (and I think he is) human beings do not have absolute autonomous free will. We can't will ourselves into existence, for instance.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 23rd 2008, 05:41 AM
Good question. Freedom of the will is the ability to make voluntary, uncoerced, and meaningful choices. And in any given choice, we always had the option to do otherwise.

At the same time, if God is sovereign, (and I think he is) human beings do not have absolute autonomous free will. We can't will ourselves into existence, for instance.

This would mean that some of our choices are actually coerced.

This either means we don't have free will, we only have free will sometimes, or "uncoerced" doesn't necessarily belong in the definition of 'free will.' :)

BroRog
Jul 23rd 2008, 06:30 AM
This would mean that some of our choices are actually coerced.

I'm not sure what you mean to say here. What is the "this"?


This either means we don't have free will, we only have free will sometimes, or "uncoerced" doesn't necessarily belong in the definition of 'free will.' :)

Are you referring to God's sovereignty? When God causes you to make a choice, which is also a free and meaningful choice, it isn't coerced. :)

I'll let you stick that in your pipe and smoke it. :)

humbled
Jul 23rd 2008, 01:14 PM
Two articles for anyone interested in understanding the will of man and the biblical description of his plight:

Freedom of the Will - Jonathan Edwards (http://www.reformedreader.org/rbb/edwards/fowindex.htm)

Bondage of the Will - Martin Luther (http://www.covenanter.org/Luther/Bondage/bow_toc.htm)

Both links go to their respective writings.

I believe this quote from paragraph two of Freedom is the best description of man's will:
And therefore I observe, that the Will (without any metaphysical refining) is, That by which the mind chooses any thing. The faculty of the will, is that power, or principle of mind, by which it is capable of choosing: an act of the will is the same as an act of choosing or choice. (emphasis in the source)
One must define their terms, and that is the best definition of "the will" I can think of.

As for the OP's question ... there are many passages which speak of God giving choices to men, and even giving choices to serve Him. But another quote which I believe is the most poignant regarding this topic is found in Bondage Discussion: First Part (Sections 41 - 75) (http://www.covenanter.org/Luther/Bondage/bowpt1.html):

Sect. LVI. THE third passage is from Moses, (Deut. xxx. 19.) "I have set before thy face life and death, choose what is good, &c." - "What words (says the Diatribe) can be more plain? It leaves to man the liberty of choosing." -
I answer: What is more plain, than, that you are blind? How, I pray, does it leave the liberty of choosing? Is it by the expression 'choose'? - Therefore, as Moses saith 'choose,' does it immediately come to pass that they do choose?
and further down that same page ....
And this is the place, where I take occasion to enforce this my general reply: - that man, by the words of the law, is admonished and taught what he ought to do, not what he can do: that is, that he is brought to know his sin, but not to believe that he has any strength in himself. Wherefore, friend Erasmus, as often as you throw in my teeth the Words of the law, so often I throw in yours that of Paul, "By the law is the knowledge of sin," - not of the power of the will. Heap together, therefore, out of the large Concordances all the imperative words into one chaos, provided that, they be not words of the promise but of the requirement of the law only, and I will immediately declare, that by them is always shewn what men ought to do, not what they can do, or do do. And even common grammarians and every little school-boy in the street knows, that by verbs of the imperative mood, nothing else is signified than that which ought to be done, and that, what is done or can be done, is expressed by verbs of the indicative mood.
Because man is told to choose (life, God, or any other thing) does NOT mean, of necessity, that he is able to choose. Luther is teaching us that simple grammar does not allow for this conclusion.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 23rd 2008, 02:20 PM
I'm not sure what you mean to say here. What is the "this"?


That we cannot will ourselves into existence, we cannot will anything that would force God to change His Will, etc.


Are you referring to God's sovereignty? When God causes you to make a choice, which is also a free and meaningful choice, it isn't coerced.

But some choices are coerced. I would argue this doesn't interfere with our free will - or overall ability to choose. There are, however, sometimes where God leaves us no option but to choose one path so that His Glory might be shown. This isn't the case every time, but it does happen.


I'll let you stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

If only it were legal. :)


Freedom of the Will - Jonathan Edwards
:pp

BroRog
Jul 23rd 2008, 02:51 PM
That we cannot will ourselves into existence, we cannot will anything that would force God to change His Will, etc.



But some choices are coerced. I would argue this doesn't interfere with our free will - or overall ability to choose. There are, however, sometimes where God leaves us no option but to choose one path so that His Glory might be shown. This isn't the case every time, but it does happen.



If only it were legal. :)

:pp

Perhaps if you gave me an example of what you are saying I might understand better. While I agree that some choices are coerced, by definition, these are not freewill choices.

For instance, if a man points a gun at me, asking for my wallet, I have the choice to give it to him or not, but whether I do or not, my choice isn't free. Any choice made under duress is not a choice made with freedom of the will.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 23rd 2008, 02:59 PM
Perhaps if you gave me an example of what you are saying I might understand better. While I agree that some choices are coerced, by definition, these are not freewill choices.

For instance, if a man points a gun at me, asking for my wallet, I have the choice to give it to him or not, but whether I do or not, my choice isn't free. Any choice made under duress is not a choice made with freedom of the will.
Then I would say free will doesn't exist. All choices have a consequence, whether positive or negative, and we will prefer one consequence over the other. Thus, in the example you gave you could say no to the man, but you wouldn't like the consequence, so you go with the choice that has the more preferable consequence. If this isn't free will, then free will doesn't exist. All choices play out like that scenario, just not as drastic.

If I want to eat, I can make the choice to eat pizza or hamburgers, but what I feel will satisfy me the most at that point is where I will go - therefore, I will prefer one consequence (or result if you will) over the other. I have biologically been coerced.

Since all choices play out this way, we could easily say that free will doesn't exist. This is why I would say a better term is limited will, or we can use free will but remove the "coercion" from the definition.

humbled
Jul 23rd 2008, 03:01 PM
Perhaps if you gave me an example of what you are saying I might understand better. While I agree that some choices are coerced, by definition, these are not freewill choices.

For instance, if a man points a gun at me, asking for my wallet, I have the choice to give it to him or not, but whether I do or not, my choice isn't free. Any choice made under duress is not a choice made with freedom of the will.
You have the choice to give the man your wallet or get shot. You freely choose whichever one you choose. IT's a matter of desire ... not duress.

Man ALWAYS chooses what he wants to choose. Always.

RabbiKnife
Jul 23rd 2008, 03:02 PM
I'm not sure that "consequence" or "result" is the same as "coercion."

apothanein kerdos
Jul 23rd 2008, 05:46 PM
I'm not sure that "consequence" or "result" is the same as "coercion."

To coerce is to threaten or force someone to do a certain action. IF the person goes against the desired action there are consequences to follow. In other words, the person chooses to follow the coercion because the person prefers the positive consequences that follow.

BroRog
Jul 24th 2008, 02:00 AM
Then I would say free will doesn't exist. All choices have a consequence, whether positive or negative, and we will prefer one consequence over the other. Thus, in the example you gave you could say no to the man, but you wouldn't like the consequence, so you go with the choice that has the more preferable consequence. If this isn't free will, then free will doesn't exist. All choices play out like that scenario, just not as drastic.

If I want to eat, I can make the choice to eat pizza or hamburgers, but what I feel will satisfy me the most at that point is where I will go - therefore, I will prefer one consequence (or result if you will) over the other. I have biologically been coerced.

Since all choices play out this way, we could easily say that free will doesn't exist. This is why I would say a better term is limited will, or we can use free will but remove the "coercion" from the definition.

I guess we must be talking past each other. I attempted to give an example that would negate any freedom whatsoever. I guess I was ineffective.

Let me try again, adding a clarification, which at first, I thought was unnecessary. :(

While it's true that the armed gunman offered me a choice, and I was "free" to give him my wallet or refuse and suffer the consequences, this is not a freewill choice according to the strict definition of the concept.

The term "freewill" is a compound word made of the two words, "free" and "will", which together indicate a volitional act made freely, without coercion, or duress. If a man is compelled to choose between two things, neither of which is his preference, then the choice is not a freewill choice.

In my example, the gunman proposes to injure me if I will not give him my wallet. In this case, I don't want to suffer injury, and neither do I want to hand over my wallet. Neither of these choices reflect my preference. For the volitional act would not be a meaningful expression of who I am and what I want. If I gave the gunman my wallet, this would constitute an involuntary act. If I allowed him to inflict injury on me instead, this also, would be an involuntary act. Freewill choices, by definition must be voluntary and meaningful, reflecting who I am and what I want.

I strongly disagree with 'humbled' who asserts that men always do what they want. A sure sign of maturity is when a man learns that he can't always do what he wants, but must, at times do what others want.

And AK, I'm not convinced that the better of two evils constitutes a "positive." I suppose, when I'm feeling especially happy, you might hear me remark, "Boy I'm glad nobody shot my face off today." But all kidding aside, this isn't a positive so much as it is what ought to happen. It only seems positive in retrospect as compared to the actual threat to the contrary.

:)

humbled
Jul 24th 2008, 02:28 AM
I strongly disagree with 'humbled' who asserts that men always do what they want. A sure sign of maturity is when a man learns that he can't always do what he wants, but must, at times do what others want.

:)
hello Brother Rog :)

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my explanation (I was typing during a print at work ...). I do not mean that men always do what the desire to do, in that they always give in to their carnal, fleshly desires ... no no. What I mean is, when you get down to the final analysis, given two choices (regardless of whether you want to do either of them or not) you will choose the one you want MORE .. or better said, DON'T want LESS.

Case in point: A man is holding a gun to your head, saying give me your wallet ... the example used earlier ... well, do you want to give him your wallet? No, of course not ... but you want to get shot LESS than you want to give the man your wallet. So in effect, you WANT to give the man your wallet MORE than you want him to shoot you.

That's what I meant :)

and yes .. you would FREELY CHOOSE to give the man your wallet. Regardless of your view of coercion. The only way it would not be a freewill choice would be if he took it from your pocket himself.

TrustingFollower
Jul 24th 2008, 02:48 AM
To coerce is to threaten or force someone to do a certain action. IF the person goes against the desired action there are consequences to follow. In other words, the person chooses to follow the coercion because the person prefers the positive consequences that follow.
This is true to a point. When Adam ate of the fruit from the tree of good and evil he knew he would die, right? He pleased his wife with this action, but he also knew he would die because of this action. He was coerced in a different way than what you described above. We see that by his actions he used his will to please his wife over pleasing God. Yet there were consequences for either action he would have taken.

BroRog
Jul 24th 2008, 03:48 AM
hello Brother Rog :)

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my explanation (I was typing during a print at work ...). I do not mean that men always do what the desire to do, in that they always give in to their carnal, fleshly desires ... no no. What I mean is, when you get down to the final analysis, given two choices (regardless of whether you want to do either of them or not) you will choose the one you want MORE .. or better said, DON'T want LESS.

Case in point: A man is holding a gun to your head, saying give me your wallet ... the example used earlier ... well, do you want to give him your wallet? No, of course not ... but you want to get shot LESS than you want to give the man your wallet. So in effect, you WANT to give the man your wallet MORE than you want him to shoot you.

That's what I meant :)

and yes .. you would FREELY CHOOSE to give the man your wallet. Regardless of your view of coercion. The only way it would not be a freewill choice would be if he took it from your pocket himself.

I don't know what to say at this point as I find myself, again, attempting to reiterate what is already a prime definition of a concept already well established in Western Culture while finding nothing but resistance. I suppose it would be easier to just ask you to look it up in the dictionary.