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God's Sovereignty and Free Will

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Prayer - Mike

Free will is defined by Webster’s as the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion.
Also known as: self-determination, freedom of choice, autonomy, liberty, independence
Free will can bring on debate after debate. Predestination, the elect, and evolution all have something to say on the matter of free will. Free will runs thru every aspect of American politics, welfare through criminal justice. Free will underpins the American Dream that anyone can make something of themselves no matter the start of their lives.
The right to choose right or wrong is part of free will. As Christians we understand this as “moral liberty” - the capacity to discern and pursue the good, instead of merely being compelled by appetites and desires. The great enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant reaffirmed this link between freedom and goodness. “If we are not free to choose”, he argued, “then it would make no sense to say we ought to choose the path of righteousness.

So what happens if faith is removed?

1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians Charles Darwin - 150 yr ago wrote On the Origin of Species; Not long after his cousin started expanding and making correlations to evolution and our actions.
Charles Darwin - 150 yr ago wrote On the Origin of Species; Not long after his cousin started expanding and making correlations to evolution and our actions.
All mental facilities & intelligence is hereditary
We are not free to chose - it all depends on biological inheritance
We are not free to chose - it all depends on biological inheritance
Nature vs nurture has zero implications. Our surroundings do not determine any part of our reactions.
Science - human behavior can be explained thru clockwork law cause & effect
Research (theory) resolves debate nature vs nurture and eliminates free will completely.
Benjamin Libert (1980) scans show brain activity well before the decision to move a hand to pick up an object.
Neuroscience - brain system is like any other, we have no will over it than we have will over our heart to beat.
Our action 100% predictable in response given to particular stimulus.
Saul Smilansky - Philosophy Professor Unv Haifa Israel
Free will does not exist in traditional sense
We cannot afford for people to internalize the truth about free will
The belief that free will is an illusion but one that society must defend
Creates “theologian artifice” that allows us to judge and punish people.
Sam Harris - Neuroscientist believes Illusionism is dangerous that free will does not exist and we should not support the notion in any form.
We need to track our beliefs on what is true
We need to know what levels to pull to make people the best version that can be
Murders & psychopathes didn’t pick their genes or parents . They didn’t make their brains so their crimes are not their fault.
There is a cure for murders or psychopaths if we get rid of the airy-fairy free will notion.
Response to Hurricane Katrina should have no difference to the 9/11 attacks. Would we wage war on the weather? The attackers are no more to blame for 9/11 as the weather
Hatred is toxic. Losing belief in free will undercuts rationale for hating people.
The problem with Harris view - people confuse determinism & fatalism
Determinism is the belief our decisions are part of an unbreakable chain of cause and effect.
Fatalism is the belief that our decisions don’t matter because whatever is supposed to happen will happen.
Remember all of these ideas and statements are only speculation. Only until 2002 did anyone ever try experiments to truly put free will to the test.
Kathleen Vohs at University of Utah & Jonathan Schooler at University of Pittsburgh as one group or participants to read passages and studies that free will was an illusion and false. The other group read passages and studies that was neutral to positive (only slightly). Then subjected the groups to a variety of temptations and observed their behavior.
Anti-free will
More likely to cheat on test
More likely to steal from the change folder
Vohs & Schooler conclusion: “people who are induced to believe less in free will are more likely to behave immorally.”
Stop seeing themselves as blameworthy
The act less responsible and give in to their baser instincts.
Free Will belief - strongly believe they were in control of their own actions
Showed up on time for work
Completed more task - rated higher by supervisors and deemed more capable.
Extremely low count of change missing in the monitor your self pay system.
Roy Baumeister FSU extended the findings
Anti-Free will
Less likely to volunteer in community
Less likely to help classmate
Less likely to give money to a homeless person
Would not lend someone a cell phone that is in trouble.
Conclusion from all (3) studies: diminished belief in free will is linked:
Stress & unhappiness
A lesser commitment to relationships
A poor academic performance
Less creative and more likely to conform
Less willing to learn from mistakes
Less grateful
Have their cake and eat it to.

God’s sovereignty and our Free Will

1 Corinthians 2:12–13 ESV
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
1 Corinthians When talk about free will or predestination it can conjure up all kinds of images and debates. One primary questions to answer is God will choose us, does this do away with our free will?
When talk about free will or predestination it can conjure up all kinds of images and debates. One primary questions to answer is God will choose us, does this do away with our free will?
When we are discussing God’s sovereignty, we need to realize that in the Christian faith there are three camps.
1st is the ones that believe that humans are nothing more than puppets on a string. We are at the mercy of God to do with us as he pleases. We are robots that are programmed and no thinking is allowed on our part. Nature and nurture has nothing to do with our responses.
2nd God is not in complete control, His knowledge is not unlimited and He has no knowledge of what is about to come. Neither of these positions are completely Biblically based. You can make an argument but you have to take only portions of scripture to do this.
The third is that God is sovereign and is in control of all things.
Matthew 6:8 ESV
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
; ; ; ). But we are given free will to choose. And God does not violate our free will by choosing us (predestination). He just knows our hearts and how we will go, which path we will take. He uses our choices to change our heart to look to Him because He loves us (1 ; ). He doesn’t force His will on us.
Psalm 139:1–4 ESV
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
; ; ). But we are given free will to choose. And God does not violate our free will by choosing us (predestination). He just knows our hearts and how we will go, which path we will take. He uses our choices to change our heart to look to Him because He loves us (1 ; ). He doesn’t force His will on us.
Colossians 1:16–17 ESV
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
; ). But we are given free will to choose. And God does not violate our free will by choosing us (predestination). He just knows our hearts and how we will go, which path we will take. He uses our choices to change our heart to look to Him because He loves us (1 ; ). He doesn’t force His will on us.
Daniel 4:35 ESV
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
). But we are given free will to choose. And God does not violate our free will by choosing us (predestination). He just knows our hearts and how we will go, which path we will take. He uses our choices to change our heart to look to Him because He loves us (1 ; ). He doesn’t force His will on us.
But we are given free will to choose. And God does not violate our free will by choosing us (predestination). He just knows our hearts and how we will go, which path we will take. He uses our choices to change our heart to look to Him because He loves us
1 John 4:10 ESV
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
John 15:16 ESV
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
1

He doesn’t force His will on the world.

). He doesn’t force His will on us.
A Father that loves us doesn't make us do things that we do not want. If we spent our whole life seeking isolation from Him, He will grant that. The Nation of Israel the chosen people of God. He chose them from the beginning, but they spent much of their time turning from God. How many times did they have freedom, then turned to slavery, then to the wilderness to claiming the promise land. Oh but not all of it only what they deemed necessary. Time after time Israel had choices, and many times chose the path of disobedience away from God. He allowed this disobedience, these free choices; Even though these are His chosen people.

Sovereignty, Salvation & Free Will

When people think about free will, thoughts go to salvation. Not so much the everyday actions and movements in our lives. Many are more concerned with “who” is in control of their eternal destiny.
When we have a discussion or try to understand free will, we have to understand the nature of man. And acknowledge and admit the limitations of man. We are bound by that nature and limitations that surround our lives. People say we are 100 percent free but, I can will to jump 20 feet in the air. I can desire this, pursue this but the truth is I am nothing more than a man and cannot jump 20 feet in the air.
Similar to a prisoner in a cell. He may desire and will to walk mile after mile in fresh clean free air. But his cell has limits through the walls and bars. We are in the same position because of the fall of man. The corruption of sin has us prisoners in a cell. We are limited in our choices because our heart is deceitful, evil and desperately sick (). Some would argue that we are not responsible because of the fall of man was not our choice. However we are responsible for our actions. The sin may have us as a prisoner but it is the choices that we made (; ).
It is similar to being born into a single parent home, poor with little education, and all the bad breaks. It is the choices made after that that matter. We can choose to study, work hard and change the position that w are in. These are worldly choices and daily living, but we are still spiritually dead. says we are at war with God because we do not submit to God or His laws. Scripture is clear that we are not able in choosing to be good or Holy. By our nature it is impossible for us to make this choice. We are constrained to the cell of sin.
How then can we be saved? explains the process, we were dead (a prisoner) in trespasses and sin; but He made us alive. Through Christ we are made us alive and free to the bondage. A dead man cannot make himself alive. He lacks the ability and power, he is bond by nature and his own limitations. No one (except One, Jesus) has ever resurrected himself. Scripture is very clear that Jesus called them out of their graves.
We lack that ability to rise out of sin, so Jesus acts (). Jesus holds the keys to death () Jesus will set the prisoners free and carry them upon high (; ).
He sovereignly chose to send His Son to the cross to redeem us from sin. This was not due to any action we have done or our love for Him but His love for us () This act created grace and mercy and is a free gift to whom God has chosen. All of this was decided before the “foundation of the world” (). Why this way?
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