The Bible on Free Will

We do have a hand in habit creation but not every good habit is equally accessible to all and not every bad habit is as easily avoided by everyone. The playing field is not level. Predisposition to addictive behaviors seems to be as real as predisposition to other diseases. Even so, we never find out our limits if we do not try.

I’m with you. Free will isn’t an all or nothing proposition. The degree of freedom can vary and is never absolute, though the perception that it is absolute would probably be a symptom of mania.


While mine is so thin the brains are falling out, eh? LOL

First of all you seem to be jumping to the conclusion that salvation has something to do with whether we are a believer or not. Now that is one thing which I do not believe in.

But the answer to your question is God. All the credit goes to God. It is a gift not wages and accepting a gift will never change the gift into something we have earned.

I am not much of a believer in any of these (I added the 3 to include that in the list). I think that quantum physics opens the door to the possibility to spiritual causes but this is not a wide open door but a just a tiny crack at most – very very far from making your claims supportable. I believe that not everything is just chance but I think the majority of it must be chance. I don’t think this is a much of an obstacle to an all powerful all knowing God but for the spirits of the dead it is quite another matter. So while I do not rule out the possibility of spirits messing with people, I think that if it does happen then it must be so rare that most which are believed to be cases of this are nothing of the kind.

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No, I think by such deterministic reasoning one opens up the charge that God is the author of evil. I also think its against the biblical character of God who delights not in the death of the wicked, tempts no one, and desires that all men come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved.


First of all…Thank you for this little debate. I love stuff like this! :slight_smile:

I do not agree. The bible is clear that God is not the author of evil, and the bible is clear in (Romans 9:18) " For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” God is under no obligation to soften anyone’s heart. Pharaoh and Pharaoh alone is responsible for his actions.

I also think its against the biblical character of God who delights not in the death of the wicked, tempts no one, and desires that all men come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved.

If God desires all (every person on the planet; past, present and future) to be saved, then why aren’t all saved?

The “all” God is speaking of all who are in Christ, His Son’s bride, the church, the elect.

How rare is depression and schizophrenia?

Not rare at all so I do not believe these have anything whatsoever to do with vengeful spirits or fate. And the last thing we need is people pushing the idea that people deserve such things because of karma or some nonsense like that.


Well there are. Please read Dr Edith Fiore and Dr Carl Wickland, it’s well documented.

So sorry about your father dying on cancer. It is a terrible disease and has claimed a number of my family members as well. But while tragic, it is not particularly the result of sin, though sinful behaviors may contribute (smoking, pollution, corporate greed). I take comfort that the preacher in Ecclesiastes looked at the trials of life and concluded we may not understand why life may seem unfair, but still praise God. We are told that life has trials and troubles, but God is with us through them.

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I think of it as more friendly discussion.:wink: My goal’s not to win, merely understand better.

Yes, and I’d simply add that the Romans 9 passage builds off of the previous 8 chapters, especially 7 and 8, and should be viewed through that lens. The Reformed view would start with predestination in 9 and try to determine election which I think is a mistake. Better to begin with the Gospel that Christ died for all and was reconciling all men to himself. Then use election to comfort and encourage the repentant in Christ.

They aren’t saved because they resist the grace of God. They “refused to love the truth and be saved.” Irresistible grace is another area we Lutherans part from Calvin. We’re basically 1.5 point Calvinists. :grin:

@Shawn_Murphy, I don’t understand. Documentation of personal experiences is very subjective. It can come from anxiety and psychosis for example. Most do not accept it as science. Can you clarify? Thank you.

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No, it doesn’t. How many people today believe in the Christian God because of the power he demonstrated by setting Pharaoh up as his stooge in a little power play he wanted to stage with the Hebrews? My guess: zero.

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Exactly! What can I do besides simply repeating myself?

Well… I can expand on what Randy explains… That personal experience are subjective means that they are not proof or objective evidence, which means they do not provide a reasonable expectation that others should agree. Furthermore they are subject to an endless possible number of interpretations and possibilities including a divergence of reality as experienced by different people. Thus I do not doubt that such experiences could be entirely real for those who experience them, AND at the same time, do not doubt that others could come up with purely scientific explanations for those experiences. Certainly they are not real to me personally because I have experienced nothing of the kind. I do not make my experiences the limit of reality itself, but this doesn’t change the limits of what I know of reality for myself.

The idea of free will does seem at least to some extent to be in conflict with God’s foreknowledge of events and prophecies of future events. Can we have free will for individuals but predestination of nations? Certainly in the Bible people seem to be held to account by God for what they do, right or wrong, which implies free will.

I have seen various schemes to resolve this conflict but have my doubts about them. Perhaps my theology and philosophy is not sufficiently well developed to come to a decision.

An idea I have is that it might be like a business owner who hires and fires and inspires people to achieve his business objectives. When it was time for the Israelites to leave Egypt God looked around for someone to lead them and found Moses. If Moses had refused then God would have found someone else. Pharaoh still had to be managed but more by a nudge than by completely over-riding his free will.

Perhaps the prophecies of Jesus were vague because God had the objective in mind but the details of how it was to be fulfilled were to be decided when historical events matured. This is like a business owner who while achieving his objectives has to adapt to changing circumstances.

On a personal level I am conscious of having free will although, as @mitchellmckain says, often I operate by habit, on a business as usual basis. We have free will even if we don’t always use it.


Yes. And we can have free will in some things even when other things about us are predestined. Free will does not mean and has never meant that we get to choose everything. Just like with quantum physics, some things are determined and other things are not.

I certainly don’t think Molinism works. I think that amounts to no more than the determinist thinking that free will nothing but an illusion. And… I am not only an incompatibilist, but I think an indeterminate future is the only thing that makes the universe different from a video tape or a book and thus capable of harboring conscious living beings.

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Unbelievable? Does God predetermine everything? Chris Date and Leighton Flowers debate scripture

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Dear @mitchellmckain and @Randy,
First of all, the Bible tells how Jesus freed people from the affliction of possession from an evil spirit (Luke 7:21, 8:2, Acts 19:12-16) and the works I have referenced show the modern versions of this work. As long as the medical community ignores this as a possible diagnoses, many people will continue to suffer.

My older brother was treated for depression from a very young age, going through many medications over the course of his life. Besides dulling his mind, they did nothing to relieve him. Married with two young children, at the age of 30, he tried for the third time to kill himself. It was at this point that he turned to God and prayed for relief. Since then has had no depression and takes no drugs. This is the same result that enlightened psychologists, like Fiore and Wickland, have achieved with their patients molested by evil or lost spirits.

This is enough evidence for me to accept the possibility that some mental illness is caused by outside factors and drugs do nothing to cure this affliction.

Thank you for your note. Good question.

I am sorry for the depression your brother experienced. It is terrible. It is well known that chemical imbalances exist and depression comes from many sources. Religion does help many people in many ways; often in depression. I do not know personally what I would do without belief in God, for example. However, that does not prove even that God exists.

The empiric verification of the universe is what constitutes science, from my understanding–not feelings.

I do think that the NT is not correct in science. In Philippians, Paul refers to a 3 tiered universe, with “in heaven, and on eart, and under the earth.” Also, the descriptions of many of the demon possessions in the NT exactly parallel epilepsy and schizophrenia. I do think God used the idiom of the day (and yes, I don’t think Jesus knew any better; that would not have been important) to communicate. That is my personal conviction.

Thanks. I am so glad your brother is doing better.

Science may never prove God’s existence, which is not what I am trying to do. All I want is for science to consider the hypothesis that there are more factors in human behavior than just two, which is what my paper addresses. It shows that there are at least five, without considering molesting spirits nor reincarnation. For instance, it is statically significant as to when you are born, but what geneticist recognizes this statistical fact?

Is that a nod towards astrology, Shawn?