Wednesday, February 02, 2011

God's Gift of Free Will

Anonymous asked for this post, so here it is.

(Ze asked me to cite chapter and verse, but, dude, go read the opening chapters of Genesis. It’s not hard to find. Here, I'll let you skip chapter 1; start with chapter 2 and read through to the end of chapter 3. If you don't like that version, find another, that's just the first one that Google spat out when I typed in "Genesis." I'm not going to argue details or individual words, I'm talking about the main events in the story. You can even read the LOLcats Bible, if you want.)

God gave us free will.

Adam and Eve chose to listen to the serpent and eat from the tree in the middle of the Garden, the only tree from which God told them they could NOT eat. Yet they did it anyway -- because God had given them free will. They made their own choice, followed their own will, not God's.

Now, if you remember, God is the Alpha and the Omega -- He knows all. He knew, before He went through the trouble of creating Adam and Eve, or the serpent, that Adam and Eve would eat from that tree. BUT HE LET THEM DO IT ANYWAY.

Adam and Eve controlled their own fate, but God knew what choices they would make and what that fate looked like. And God chose to NOT interfere with that.

If God did not want things to go that way, if He did not want Adam and Eve to disobey Him, why did He make it so easy for them to do so? He’s all-powerful. Could He really not manage to put a little fence or something around the tree? Or, heck, put the tree somewhere else, where Adam and Eve couldn’t get to it?

The only logical conclusion is that God wanted Adam and Eve to “screw up.” He wanted them to KNOW. He wanted them to make their own choices, and live the lives that we lead now, with the good and the bad and the ugly -- and everything else.

Because without evil, how do we know what "good" is? Without pain, loss, hardship, how do we know what "happy" is?

If we were still living in the Garden of Eden, would we understand how happy we would be? How could we, without having something to compare those “good” feelings to?

Yeah, maybe the very first (recorded) thing Adam and Eve do with their free will is something most of us would consider “unwise.” So what? Who cares what you think? God gave them the ability to make that choice, and I happen to think God does things for a reason. Maybe you think God’s kind of stupid and didn’t know what He was doing... I happen to think He knew exactly what he was doing.

He chose to create Man and Woman, and He chose to let them “muck things up” like this.

What you personally think of Adam and Eve’s choices is completely irrelevant in this conversation. What you personally think God’s choice to grant us free will is also irrelevant. And, if I may, perhaps a little blasphemous? But, hey, if you want to question God, that’s up to you. Have fun.

The fact remains: God gave us free will. Because He wants us to make our own choices. That includes women, and what they chose to do to and with their bodies.


  1. Typical brilliance from Criss. Great work!

  2. Do you own a bible, or do you just google it?

    I am not suprised that you said I could skip the first chapter of Genesis, where it details how God gave LIFE, and created LIFE, and it's all about perfection and LIFE,LIFE,LIFE.

    But lets take a look at free will. It is apparent that even before the creation of man, God created the heavenly host with free will - defined in context as "the ability to choose any at all of the moral options offered in a given situation". Clearly Lucifer, who was a beautiful angel made the choice to SIN against God, along with all of the other fallen angels/demons that went with him.

    Along comes Adam, who was made to be the first and represent all of mankind, Just like Jesus represented the first of all of the Christians. (Read the book of Romans, particularly ch. 5, 8, and 9)

    God placed Adam in the perfect place, with a command not to do one thing, to see if Adam would let God determine what was good and bad, or if he would decide for himself, and ignore what God said (SIN).

    Satan tempted Eve, who brought along Adam ( Satan was in disguise - 2 Cor. ch. 11, and Rev. 12:9)

    So at this point, Adam's SIN of self-aggrandizment and choosing against God's command (anti-God), like Lucifer, became part of him and his moral nature whiche was passed on to his descendants (Gen. 6:5, Romans 3:9-20). In Genesis, Adam and Eve instantly felt guilty for what they had done (not happy, as one would who received a 'gift'),and afraid of God when they had not been before. Add to that, they were cursed with death, and pain, and hard work, etc. (The result of Adam's sin is clearly explained in Romans ch. 6) Even still, God started to show them mercy immediately (in anticipation of Christ) by making them clothing, and promising that the woman's 'seed' or future offspring, would crush the serpant's head (or defeat Satan - foreshadowing Jesus Christ and our salvation).

    to be continued......

  3. So, moving on....

    At the moment Adam sinned, the possibility of exercising free will (choosing any at all of the moral options offered in a given situation,i.e. remaining sinless) was eliminated for all of mankind, then and in the future. This is part of the punishment for SIN. Our hearts are not inclined toward God, we are in bondage to SIN, and can not be freed from this state except by regeneration through the GRACE (which is the undeserved GIFT) of God. Read Romans 6:16-23. Once the will is again set free by GRACE, then we can choose not to SIN against God, because of Jesus Christ in us. (John 8:34-36, Galations 5:1, 13)

    Now, free will is not to be confused with 'free agency'. We all make our own decisions and choices about what we will do based on our consciences, feelings, and thoughts, and we answer to God and to humanity for those choices. Adam was morally a free agent at all times because he had thoughts and desires that were acted on because of what he wanted to do. The reason we continue to SIN is because on this side of heaven we still have our human nature which (as it says in Genesis) is fallen and wants to SIN. If all of our choices were right because God created Adam with free will, then there would be no death, no pain, no punishment for SIN. So obviously some of our choices are WRONG and SINFUL. We are only capable of choosing not to SIN when Christ has set us free by regeneration of our souls, and the Holy Spirit is dwelling there. In other words, it is not our will, but His.

    Of course we still sin. Choosing to end the life of another human being is a sin. This is a hard thing to take, especially if you have had an abortion. The wonderful part is, that in the context of the bible, there is forgiveness because of Jesus for all sin, for the children of God. And because of that forgiveness, we are free to "sin no more". Read carefully the entire book of Romans.

    So, your excruciating oversimplification of what constitutes "free will" and then the illogical leap that this makes abortion ok is, well......wrong.

    Any one who reads and studies the bible knows that from cover to cover, age to age, the real gift of God is LIFE. When Adam screwed up immortality and everlasting LIFE, God sent Jesus to be the payment for our wrongdoing so we would get another chance to have eternal LIFE. Anything that brings death is a sin and a curse. Since abortion results in death.....well, I'll let you figure it out. Not to hard to extrapolate if you really read it (instead of googling it).

  4. Oh, PS -

    God certainly knew Adam would screw up. Another difficult realization, but since the bible says that God is not the author of sin (1 Cor 14:33), you cannot say he created sin, or that he condones it.......well, I guess YOU can say it, but.....whew!.....pass out some fireproof hats to anyone standing around you, eh?

  5. Anon,
    I do have Bibles, four or five, but I find it hard to link to a paper Bible in my house. Hence the Googled links.

    I am not arguing any of what you wrote. Adam and Eve did something "bad" with their choice.

    My point: God let them make that choice. God knew what they would choose, He knew what they choice meant.

    You're reading that as "God created sin." Not what I said, and not my point.

    God gave me the ability to make choices. The choices I make are between me and Him. It's not your job to police my choices.

    I skipped the first chapter of Genesis because it didn't relate directly to the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent. It's not irrelevant, it's irrelevant to this particular post.

    "Any one who reads and studies the bible knows that from cover to cover, age to age, the real gift of God is LIFE."

    We still have immortal LIFE, just on in the same place the whole time. When we leave this Earth, we have immortal LIFE in Heaven.

    From "cover to cover, age to age," God's gift is LOVE. We experience that love in life, but the overarching message I see when I read the Bible is LOVE.

    Our job is to "LOVE one another as [Jesus] loved [us]." Not judge, not intimidate, just LOVE.

    When a woman has to make a difficult decision, LOVE her enough to respect her enough to allow her to make her own choice. Give her all the facts, give her support, give her LOVE, not judgement.

    But since you find LIFE to be the main message of the Bible, what happens when the pregnancy threatens the LIFE of the woman?

  6. Regarding Christian responsibility to other Christians, it says in the bible, "when one of you is overtaken in a sin, let you who are spiritual restore him, only be careful lest you be tempted" (a paraphrase). This would be in Galations 6:1.

    We were not created by God to make our "own" choices. Mankind was created to enjoy unbroken fellowship with God, and to love Him forever, to the Glory of God alone. God commanded Adam to obey. When he didn't he received punishment. Whether or not he was created with the choice, whether or not God knew he would make the choice, he was commanded to obey God, or suffer the consequences, which we now suffer. Because of God's love, he made another way for us to enjoy perfect uninterrupted union with him through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and in heaven after we die. This was by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yes, God is love. God, who is timeless and changeless, has always been love. This is one of His attributes, but in Romans Paul asks the question, so, do we continue to sin so that his grace (love) will abound? GOD FORBID!!!!

    The loving and kind thing to do for a woman who has to make a difficult decision is to do whatever it takes to keep her from making a mistake. SIN is always a mistake.

    Abortion involves killing another human being. Mankind comitting an act that is entirely the prerogative of God alone is a sin. He commands us not to kill/murder. Scripture is abundantly clear that God forknew all of mankind before He even created the world.

    Too right, your choices are ultimately between you and God alone. I'm not trying to police women's choices for the sake of the women (necessarily), but for "the least of these", the babies that do not have the ability to choose for themselves, fight for themselves, or protect themselves from a woman with a choice.

    "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Then they [the aforementioned] will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25)

    The chance that a pregnacy actually, clinically threatens the life of a woman is small. I would not envy the choice to be made in that liklihood. I would not impinge on the conscience of a woman TRULY in that situation, but only assert that her life, and the life of her unborn child are providentially in the hands of a sovereign God. I don't know many mothers who wouldn't sacrifice their life for their child. ('Life of the mother' considerations DO NOT include "if I couldn't have an abortion, I would have killed myself". Suicide also breaks the command, and is a sinful and selfish act.) God knows, and if a woman is truly seeking His will at the time of this difficult decision, I'm confident He will meet her there. But let's not obscure what it is you are condoning, with the miniscule percentage of women seeking abortion because they will 100% no other alternative, lose their life by carrying a pregnancy to term. We're both smarter than that.

    to be continued...

  7. continuing....

    God, who is timeless and changeless is love. But his purpose in creation, and for mankind is LIFE.
    When I say life is the main message of the bible (which encompasses God's love, by the way), it doesn't mean that all of mankind will not suffer physical death, thanks to Adam and Eve's "choice". And if you can't see that the giving of life from beginning to end was not God's gift, then I'm sorry for you ("in His favor is LIFE", "...choose LIFE that you may live", "I came that you might have LIFE and have it more abundantly", "the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT OF GOD is eternal LIFE, through Jesus Christ our Lord", etc.,etc.....). The gift of life is administered by His love, to be sure, but the gift is life. But a God, whose gift is LIFE, is entirely contrary to your argument, right?

    Don't make assumptions that I hate women who have had abortions. Don't make assumptions that I don't care about women who find themselves in an untimely, unplanned pregnancy. But if, knowing what I know, I did not do everything in my power to convince her she was making the wrong decision, I would consider that exceptionally unloving.

    Criss, really. In the grand scheme of things, I don't care if you shout your pro abortion views from the rooftop. I know that women will always seek abortions, and most likely obtain them. But you are treading dangerous ground when you invoke the name of the Holy God in defense of the sin of abortion.

    And, make no mistake about it, God does hate....a very righteous and sinless hate.

    "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." (Proverbs 6:16-19)

    Thank God there is forgiveness for sin, or we would all be in trouble, yes?

  8. As for judging, we are also admonished to be watchful, and judge one thing against another so that we can discern what is sinful and what is not. The command to "judge not" is in regard to judging a person's sin in the context of what their punishment should be. Do I have a right to say "Criss has to go to hell because she had an abortion"....NO. Do I have a right to say "Criss committed a sin when she had an abortion"....based on scripture,yes. Am I without sin and able to cast the first stone, NO. Should I encourage others to, as Jesus said, go and sin no more? Yes. There is forgiveness through Jesus and the cross.

  9. I don't know if it's good or bad to get a compliment from an atheist, but this was wonderful. I just happened upon your blog and when I started the read this post, I was afraid I was going to have to click away. I rarely meet Christians who truly follow the teachings of Jesus, and I'm always happy when I do. I was raised Christian, so I know what it's about (not a scholar, just the basics), and you seem to be about it. I look forward to more of your writing!

  10. (Sorry, I've been very lax about the blog since my energies have gone mostly to that whole mothering thing... Just now getting around to reading these comments.)

    @a.b.: Thanks! :)

    @Anonymous: "The chance that a pregnacy actually, clinically threatens the life of a woman is small." Do you have medical backup for this claim?

    I see you dismiss suicide. What are your views on post-partum depression? Clinical depression? Do you consider these to be "real"? Are these conditions that can threaten a woman's life, or are they just "excuses" to sin?

    "I know that women will always seek abortions, and most likely obtain them."
    Yes, they will, and yes, most likely, they will. And if people who share your views, and express them as you do, continue to share those views, more and more women will obtain those abortions in unsafe ways: back alleys, coat hangers, etc. How can you say you value life, when you create a culture that leads women to put theirs in danger like that?

    As to whether you hate women who have abortions, your actions and your words say two different things.

    You quote several passages with the word "life," which I assume you believe begins "at conception." Are you aware of how many "lives" God Himself "kills," if that is the case?

    From, found via :

    Even though it is widely recognized that young humans are exceptionally vulnerable, the enormous scale of the problem is not sufficiently appreciated. Many or most conceptions fail to make it to term because conception and pregnancy involve very complex
    biomachinery and risky processes that are highly susceptible to malfunction, including failure to implant, reabsorption and mergers, miscarriages, and stillbirths that often result from genetic defects, as well as death of the pregnant mother (Beller and Zlatnik 1994; Demeny and McNicoll 2003; Harris 2006; Nepomnaschy et al. 2006).

    The general health of women in terms of nutrition, chronic stress, and other factors probably influence pregnancy success rates, so the 50-percent-plus failure rates apparently characteristic of modern first world women are probably lower than historical standards. For the purposes of this study a noninduced pregnancy failure rate of three quarters over history is used, suggesting ~300 hundred billion natural prenatal deaths to date.

    If we consider conception to be the beginning of life, a God that "kills" three-quarters of His people before they're even born doesn't really seem to be a God of life, now does He?

    Perhaps it's because that's not when life begins.

    Or perhaps it's because it's not for us to question or ponder. It's a private matter, between God and the woman.

    "God knows, and if a woman is truly seeking His will at the time of this difficult decision, I'm confident He will meet her there."

    I agree, GOD knows. I don't necessarily agree that YOU do. Have YOU been faced with this difficult decision? Have YOU been faced with this difficult decision, in my shoes, in my body, with my family, with my experiences, with my situation, with my health?

    I don't know the answer to the first one, but I do know the answer to the second one. And that's NO.

    Why is it so hard for you to trust God, and trust that He led me to the right decision for me? It may not be the same decision you have made or would make, but that's also because you are not me.

    Neither are you any other woman who walks into an abortion clinic. YOU do not know if she's making the wrong decision, because you are not her, and you are not God.

    Stop judging, and stop condemning. Go forth and mind your own uterus (if you have one).