Free Will And Love

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Hi T____, (or whoever has time to assist me)

I listened to a sermon you gave awhile back which included a section on free will. In this sermon you made the statement that “love cannot exist without free will” because in order to show God love we cannot be robots. I believe you followed this up with a story about your daughter and explaining this concept to her through her dolls having free will to love her back. Perhaps you can recall this sermon.

I’ve recently been studying scripture and lessons from my own life that seem to contradict these ideas of free will, so I was going to ask for exactly where your teachings on free will and this relationship with love came from. Specifically, “Free will being necessary for love” is a concept I cannot seem to find scriptural support for. It seems that this concept is a common hinge on which people base their belief in free will. Recently however, I’ve found a lot of support against free will, which is why I’m questioning this concept of free will being necessary for love to exist.

I believe you were approaching it from a philosophical argument in your sermon, which made a lot of sense in that way of thinking. I’ve used the exact same philosophical argument many times in my own conversations with others. However, in the same manner, I’ve heard a philosophical statement which states, “There is no such thing as choice, because choice is merely the result of influences.” If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Even my little niece, who annoyingly asks “why” after each statement I make, understands that there is a reason to every choice.

On the other hand, I have been able to find biblical support that contradicts the idea of any kind of free will, which I’ve listed some verses below. These verses seem to imply that man does make choices, but those choices are controlled by God by influencing them undeniably to make those choices. They also imply that if man does have a will, it doesn’t hold any weight, as God ultimately controls our actions.

Hopefully I’ve been able to explain where I’m coming from, and you can assist me in understanding your position a little more accurately. Whatever your position, I’m sure that it is a result of good reason, and I hold respect of it. Thank you for any time you have spent helping me out, and God bless.

PS, here is a list of verses on free will I have found, so that you can understand where I’m coming from and what I’ve been studying. Some of them deal with God enacting His will, others deal with the worthlessness of man’s will. I’ve used bold and caps to add emphasis, as well as made notes next to some of them.

  1. Pro 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
  2. Pro 19:21 Many are the plans in a man‘s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
  3. Isa 55:11 So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
  4. Casting Lots used to determine the will of God in book of Acts (Matthias’ election to replace Judas) [God controls probability and chance]
  5. Rom 7:15 “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”
    • Paul was unable to carry out his own will.
  6. Rom 7:19 “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”
    • Paul is saying the he is unable to carry out his will do do good, he is not in control.
  7. Gal 5:17 “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
  8. Exo 4:21 The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.
  9. Exo 7:3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt,
  10. Exo 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.
  11. Exo 8:32 But this time also Pharaoh harden ed his heart and would not let the people go.
  12. Exo 9:12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.
  13. Exo 10:1 [The Plague of Locusts] Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them
  14. Exo 10:20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.
  15. Exo 10:27 But the LORD harden ed Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.
  16. Exo 11:10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.
  17. 2Ti 2:24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
    2Ti 2:25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that GOD WILL GRANT them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
    2Ti 2:26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
  18. Rom 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
    • Predestined :”established or prearranged unalterably”.
  19. Rom 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
  20. Eph 1:5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will
  21. Eph 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out EVERYTHING [not some things] in conformity with the purpose of HIS WILL [not man’s]
  22. John 12:39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
    John 12:40 “HE HAS blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn and I would heal them.” [a]
    John 12:41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

    • This passage was addressed to the pharisees, and clearly displays that they are unable to repent (“turn”), because God has blinded them. Lest they see Jesus and He heal them.
  23. Luk 22:34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
    • Peter did not desire to deny Jesus. He was unable to carry out his will under the pressure, he was too weak.
  24. Jonah
    • Jonah did not want to go to Ninevah, but God send a miraculous series of events to cause Jonah to do his will. Jonah was not able to carry out his ‘free will’.
  25. Paul’s Story of trying to destroy christians. God transforms the hardest free-wills with great ease.
  26. “Nay but, O man, WHO ARE YOU that replies against God? Shall the thing formed [that’s us] say to Him that formed it, [that’s GOD] Why have You made me thus? Has not the Potter [GOD] power over the clay [man], of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Rom 9:20-21).
    • God has created different people for different purposes. Man does not choose his purpose, and he has no right to speak back to God who made him that way.
  27. Prophecy contradicts free will. We think we choose. No scriptural evidence for “God sees ahead what we’ll choose, then acts.”
    • God declares what he will do ahead of time, then does it.
  28. Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
    • God controls the heart, man does not choose that condition of his heart.
  29. Exo 9:16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.
    Exo 9:17 You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go.

    • God has Moses tell Pharaoh why he put him in his position of power, and exactly what he will do. Pharaoh has no choice.
  30. Isa 14:24 [A Prophecy Against Assyria] The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.
    • God plans and executes his will.
  31. Isa 14:27 For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?
    • No one can resist God and his purpose. Man’s will does not matter.
  32. Isa 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
    • God carries out all of his desires.
  33. Isa 46:11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far- off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.
  34. Joh 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws [Greek: basically should be translated ‘drags’] him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    • No one can come to God unless God makes him.
  35. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that [‘that faith’] not of yourselves [NOT of your own faith or will] it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:8-10).
    • Salvation is a gift, not dependent on man’s will or work, then he carries good works God has already pre-arranged.
  36. “For it is God [Who? ‘GOD’] who works in you both TO WILL and TO DO of His good pleasure” (Php 2:13). God carries out his good pleasure in man.
  37. “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son CAN DO NOTHING OF HIMSELF, but what He sees the Father do: for what things so ever He does, these also does the Son likewise” (Joh 5:19)
  38. In the fourth chapter of Daniel, God gives King Nebuchadnezzar a ‘troubling’ dream. Four times in this one chapter we are told “… that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomever He will, and setteth up over it the basest [lowest in morals] of men” (Dan 4:17, 25, 26, 32).


“… I have asked another member of the Apologetics Team to take the lead in responding to your thoughtful question(s). S____, who I have cc’d on this email, took the lead in preparing this response on behalf of the Apologetics Team. As a first matter, I want to say that this is a difficult question, and you have obviously put a lot of thought into it, which is admirable to say the least. You should know that it is NOT the heart of our Apologetics ministry to engage in a theological debate. It IS the heart of our ministry to answer the questions that believers and non-believers struggle with, such as the one you raise. There are concepts that are difficult to understand as mortals, and those are the things we must take on faith in the goodness and character of God.

Notwithstanding the mysteries of God that belong to Him alone, He has revealed enough of himself that we can be sure of what he says and be certain of our hope in the saving work of Jesus Christ. That is the foundation of everything we do. Thus, with that introduction out of the way, I have pasted S_____’s excellent answer below to the questions you raise. If you have additional comments or questions, S____ and I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and talk through them.

We are not desirous of interesting theological debates in difficult areas being a point of strife or rift amidst God’s people. We want to encourage freedom and diligent study in the areas that are not absolutely crucial, but not let them take precedence over our unity in His body. Here then are some thoughts:

God’s Sovereignty – God remains in full authority over all things created.

Free Will – It would seem “will” at least involves an act of a human to choose. … The ability to choose or act of a will is clearly one of God’s attributes, and therefore can pass all or some of that to His creatures as He desires. So certainly we can have choice, or will, and any subsequent freedoms or restrictions that He may choose to place into His creatures.

Choice would then be a core component to understanding what “will” is meant to be.

“Love” and choice/act of will – Men did not have to obey/love God, but if they did love him, they would exercise will or decisive action thru obedience.

“Free” Will – The real question is how free is man’s will? We would suggest the following:

  • a) Man can submit or not under a willful act, but regardless, God works all things for the good, even where the believer’s choice may have resulted in something of a momentary “not so good” action, i. e, sin as an example.
  • b) Man’s choice to rebel in his original setting of the Garden forever changed influences upon him. While God is offering a renewing situation (2Co 3:18, 2Co 5:17, etc) to his condition, it will not be a perfect setting (whether perfect freedom, perfect thoughts, perfect actions, perfect bodies), but we can move toward this ever-increasing glory (2Co 3:18) through choosing His ways (Php 3:12-15).
  • c) Man’s ability to choose, ability to exercise will, freedom to act is “free” in any way which God determines. It appears that Pharaoh was specifically designed for a purpose (Rom 9:16-17) and therefore was limited to freedom within those bounds. Yet he was still making choices, just within the parameters placed upon him.
  • The best section on this whole relationship between man’s freedom and God’s sovereign rights is perhaps in Rom 9 and 10.

    He does NOT argue against man’s ability to choose, he only argues that God remains sovereign in everything and that everything has purpose within His plan.

  • d) Romans 9 and 10 coupled together show us that: man is able to choose, but the extent and kinds of choices may be limited by God; thus, his freedom is what God declares it to be, but it is a freedom to choose and act; God has a right to do whatever he wants, and there is no appropriate argument to question, indict, or sway him.

    Scripture allows both “free will” and God’s sovereign right to act upon any and all of creation as co-existing truths, often called parallel truths that seem contradictory but are not necessarily so (paradoxical).

Please contact us if you have any questions. And thanks again for your great question.

Good morning D____,

This is an incredible exchange! I have never seen a more conclusive list of scriptures which book-end, nail down and nail to the wall the false doctrine of ‘free’ will. But then, too, I have never seen a clearer demonstration of what is a “hardened heart.” Your ‘rod’ has devoured all the rods of Pharaoh, and yet he will not “let my people go.” This exchange, or these exchanges, are living proof that the beast has no intention of giving up his “power and throne and great authority” to blaspheme the name of God and declare his independence of God.

S____, as all Babylonian ministers whose paychecks depend upon maintaining the doctrines of their own denomination, places unity above obedience to “the doctrine of Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:2) when he says to you…

To S____, God’s position in his life and in the universe is just an “interesting theological debate.” What a slap in the face of a sovereign God! But it is a slap which God, Himself has predestined according to the counsel of His own will.”

Look at just how blind S____ is. He actually points you to Romans 9 and then makes this statement:

“Man’s ability to choose… is free in any way which God determines???” That is the forked tongue of the serpent himself. That is like me telling you that “you are free to do whatever I determine.” Now look at the verses which S____ references to make his point:

Rom 9:16 So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.

“It is not of him that wills” is supposed to support his contention that choices which are caused are not “real choices?’ That is the same Satanic argument which is always made. If God is running His own show, then it is not a ‘real’ show. If God is sovereign, then nothing is ‘real.’ What nonsense! That is the same nonsense that was pushed off on me and my classmates in first year Bible class in Ambassador college, when professor Dr. Charles V. Dorothy, whom I loved and respected, told us all that “God could know what we will choose, but He has chosen not to know.” If it were not so sad, it would be funny, but man’s assertion of his own sovereignty is, by God’s own counsel, a matter of life and death, and it is not a laughing matter. That is the whole message of Romans 9.

Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.
Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Why doth he yet find fault?” That is S____’s question to you, and he simply has not been given eyes to see the answer in verses 20-21. Look at his very next statement:

Anyone who cannot see the answer in verses 16-21 is truly blinded to the fact that the whole point of telling us of Jacob and Esau and Pharaoh’s predestination is to show us our own predestination, our own subjection to “the Potter who has power of the clay to make on vessel to honor and another to dishonor.”

I want to commend you for the meek but firm spirit in which you have confronted your Babylonian instructors. God has given you the wisdom to live out these words:

Jdg 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

You have said “The Lord rebuke thee” and your words will ‘accomplish what they are sent to accomplish.’  S____ may not be given eyes in this age, but in Gehenna, the lake of fire, he will remember every word in all those scriptures you have quoted in this exchange.

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

You pointed out the fact that the Greek for ‘draw’ is really ‘drag,’ and this is S____’s response:

S____ doesn’t bother to address Christ’s words in John 6:44. To him John 14 disproves what He says in John 6:44. Here are the verses he references:

Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Joh 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Joh 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

And here is John 6:44:

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw [Greek – drag] him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

And here is Rom 9:16 which S____ also references without quoting or commenting:

Rom 9:16 So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.

Neither Paul nor John nor Christ Himself ever denied that God has predestined that man will choose to do what God has predetermined man to choose. But man’s salvation does not hinge on his fabled ‘free’ will. Man’s salvation is secure. It is merely a matter of whether it will be realized before or after the white throne judgment.

To S____, and all who still have the beast on the throne of their hearts and minds, love is not “real” love if it is caused by God. It is rather “nonsensical for Jesus to recognize and acknowledge a reality of options, choice and consequences as very real entities and occurrences if they didn’t actually exist.”

To S____ and all orthodox Christianity, God’s sovereignty over all things means nothing “actually exists.” So God’s own ‘gold,’ His own words, are used to wrap men’s “idols of the heart,” and Joh 14:21-24 is used to nullify Joh 6:44.

Eze 16:17 Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them,

Two chapters earlier we were told that these “images of men” are actually “idols of the heart,” doctrines which men contrive before coming to God’s Word:

Eze 14:1 Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.
Eze 14:2 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 14:3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?

Now here is another verse S____ and company will always ignore:

Eze 14:9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

S____ could never admit what Christ states as a simple fact:

Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them [the multitudes who come to Christ and all of us in our time] in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

They will always try to make the prophet’s decision the reason for God’s actions instead of God’s actions being the reason for the prophet’s decision. The power over our salvation is thus taken out of the hands of God, the Potter, and placed instead into the hands of the clay vessel, the creature, a mere beast.

Ecc 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

Be faithful to God’s Word. It will cause you to be hated of all men, but it will bring you the love of the only One who really knows the meaning of love. Contrary to what is taught in Babylon, ‘love’ does not equate to unity. Here is God’s definition of ‘love.’

1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

They are “not grievous” but they will cause you to be “hated of all men.”

Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

My prayers are with you as you begin your journey into God’s chastening and purging words. He has begun a good work in you, and He will finish it:

Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:

Your brother in Christ,

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