Friday, December 30, 2005

Response Regarding My Post on Free Will

My friend Bret, who is a Baptist minister in California commented on my blog regarding free will. I have been wanting to respond to it, but haven't had the time until now. His remarks are italicized.

The concept of free will is a very interesting bird. What Scriptures would you point to that specifically teach free will.

Sirach 15:14 “When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice.”

Sirach 15:20 “No man does he command to sin, to none does he give strength for lies.”

Ezekiel 18 This entire chapter speaks of man choosing either good or evil and the ramifications of that choice.

Galations 5:1 “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

Acts 7:51-53 "You stiff-necked people, uncircumised in heart and ears, you always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. You recieved the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it."

How does the idea of free will keep God from being the puppet of human free agency?
How can God be sovereign while still captive to the whims of humanity.

God can and does choose to act within the hearts and lives of man. He is by no means a puppet of humans. We owe our very existence to him and therefore He “remains the sovereign Master of life” (CCC 2280). Many humans choose to honor and serve Him - which pleases Him. Many do not, which is not pleasing to Him. When we look towards Him, He may very well choose to speak to our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit or may even perform miracles, answer prayers etc. But ultimately we choose to follow Him or not. Certainly it is His desire that all should follow him. The CCC covers this better than I can in two excerpts:

302 By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well.” For “all are open and laid bare to his eyes,” even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.

306 God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures' co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God's greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan.

If free will does not exist, then we are simply the puppets of God. If that is the case, the God is the author of sin. It would be God that causes people to do both good and evil. The concept of pre-destination would state that "if God is "absolutely" sovereign over all things, such that He decreed that Adam would fall, that he decrees who will repent and who will not.... that this view clearly makes God equally as responsable for the evil in the world and the damnation of the wicked, as it does for all the good things." (

This is a very invovled subject - an interesting one to dialogue over.

You are right. The majority of my sources came from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) Article 3 on Man’s Freedom (1730-1748)

It is based on both scripture and the teachings of the Church. But since we already disagree on the concept of Sola Scriptura, the fact that Protestant Bibles leave out the seven Deutero-Canonical books which is part of my source citation, and the authority of Church’s teaching I am certain we cannot come to any kind of agreement in this discussion. But I do appreciate your response because it makes me delve even deeper into my beliefs. I can say I have certainly learned a great deal through your questions and concerns.


Bret Capranica said...

I do enjoy the discussion as well and am glad you are searching the Scriptures for answers.

I would agree that any individual can and all have at many times, resisted the revealed will of God (the Bible). The Scriptures you quote display that reality. But what about predesitination. Does God work all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11)? Has anyone been predestined by God to believe and be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-5)? I have not yet read your next post, so maybe you answer these. More later.

Annabel said...

Mary was predestined, certainly. She was used as an instrument in God's plan for Christ to be our savior. That is why she was born without original sin (full of grace). There very well may be others that are predestined for God's ultimate plan, but I don't think all of humankind is predestined either to heaven or hell.

Bret Capranica said...

Are you saying that the verses on predestination refer only to Mary? Based on?

Annabel said...

No, Mary is only an example. I believe others may very well be called to the service of God. We cannot know of God's plan and whom He will use in what capacity. It does not indicate in that verse that ALL of human kind is part of that... It says "those he knew".

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