This is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.
Redundancy & Absolute
I will start this topic off by saying that I think, and have long thought, that the term “free will” to be rather redundant. To have a will by nature means to have an ability to make choices. Adding “free” to the beginning of this does not make one suddenly more able to make choices.
However, I have found one group that proposed such an idea that one could have absolute freedom and they taught that free will meant that man had the ability to choose absolutely free from all constraints. This flies in the face of not only natural experience but Scripture.
Why do I say this? Simple. Natural experience tells us that our choices are always constrained by our circumstances. Our circumstances present us our options. Certainly, we could always choose to act according to some other option and thereby refuse to deal with our given situation but that too is bound by the reality we find ourselves in. I may wish to choose to fly out of this reality, but as a mortal man, I have no such empowerment to do so and is therefore not a viable choice. I thereby spend my time not dealing with the situation at hand (effectively ignoring it) by whiling my time away dreaming of a reality that does not exist.
Also, we are bound by God’s will and that means bound according to His overarching plan as we have expressly been told in His Scripture. Therefore, our wills are always subject to or circumscribed by God’s will.
So, yes, we have a will. However, it is never absolutely free as there are always constraints beyond our control. We do the best we can with what we have. We are never outside God’s governing will and His will operates always according to His own character.
God’s Will & Fatalism
With what’s been already said, this likely raises some questions. I do not intend this article to be any sort of extensive treatise but let me try to briefly address some of those points in the following question.
How does fatalism relate?
For starters, God’s will is not the same as fatalism.
There is much mystery involved in the topic when it comes to how exactly our wills work in regards to God’s. Even so, it is clear that God’s plan and will rules over all. However, it is also clear that we as humans make and are responsible for our own choices. Another tidbit for thought is the fact that none of us are here by accident. We are each here according to His greater plan. We can infer from this that we have a part to play then as part of this plan.
As I mentioned earlier, our wills are circumscribed by God’s will. If you think of God’s will and plan as a big circle, mankind is contained within the circle and can only exercise their wills within the bounds of that circle. This makes all the more sense when you consider everything about creation was ultimately created according to His purposes and plan. At the very least, this is how I picture the scenario of God’s will in my mind’s eye.
Now, back to fatalism. Fatalism tries to make this much more simplistic. It, to over-simplify the topic as there exists a variety of nuanced beliefs, simply makes everyone out to have their own script for their lives that they must follow and there’s no breaking out of it. Who wrote the script? This is where the different belief systems vary the greatest on the topic. Nevertheless, fate and fatalism are not concepts or beliefs that are part of Christianity. We are each part of God’s plan but we are not each on rails following a script.
Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.
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