You can’t make me.
How often have we heard that endearing phrase come out of our children’s mouths? And it’s oh so very true, isn’t it? No matter how much we
bribe blackmail threaten encourage them to make good decisions, the decision in question is still theirs to make. Good or bad.
And so it is with God’ children as well. It’s called free will and was created the moment Adam touched his toe into the garden.
Now I know some of you are thinking, is there reeeeaaaally such a thing as free will if God knows our future?
I’m so glad you asked. Let’s go back again and look at our children.
As a parent, I can set a bowl of brussels sprouts and a bowl of M&Ms in front of my 5 year old and tell her she’s free to choose the one she wants to eat. I know without a shadow of doubt which bowl she’s going to choose…and it’s not the brussels sprouts.
Knowing which bowl she’s going to choose and the act of her choosing are mutually exclusive. My knowing her choice doesn’t affect her ability to exercise her free will to choose one over the other.
The idea that if God knows our choices, then that knowledge somehow inhibits our free will is the same analogy…but on a much larger scale. God, who lives in eternity, can hang out in the past, present and future. Heck, God is the one who created time, so of course he’s not bound by our understanding of it. With the ability to go anywhere at anytime, how could he not know our choices? Being a supernatural being, he may choose to divinely influence our decisions from time to time…or not. That’s his free will. It works both ways.
And what fun would it be if we were all little puppets, only doing what God wanted us to do? Where’s the excitement in that? I’m sure if God wanted to create a bunch of Stepford Wives who only did what he wanted them to do all the time, he could have done so without any problem. But that’s hollow praise. When we choose to follow, praise and thank God, the result is so much sweeter…for everyone involved. And likewise, when we choose to turn away and rely on our own devices, it saddens him.
And don’t we experience this with our own kids? We’re elated about some of their decisions and devastated about others. But whatever they decide and whatever consequences result, we hope they learn from their experiences and make better choices in the future. We can’t do it for them but, like our Heavenly Father, we can be there for guidance along the way if they ask for it.
After all, the decisions we make influence the type of person we become. So, our good and bad decisions have molded us into the person we are today…and that continues to the day we die. What type of person we ultimately end up being in the end…well, only God’s knows for sure.
Our free will is a gift from God. He’s already given us a road map to use when making decisions, but it’s completely up to us whether we make wise decisions…or not.
And yes, I know this is just the tip of the iceberg on this subject and we could debate it for.ev.er. So, let’s just agree to say this relationship status is, Complicated.
I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life. ~Deuteronomy 30:19
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.~Romans 8:28