free will/choice

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Batman

Puritan Board Freshman
Apart from salvation, what, if any, free will or choice does man have? I've heard Sproul say that believers do have a choice after they are saved to either obey or disobey God. Does God dictate our daily behavior, or does he allow it? If I choose to have an affair, does God dictate the behavior, or allow it? James 1:13 says that we can't blame God when we are temted, so does that mean we do have the choice or "free will" to fall into sin? Does God dictate the act or allow it? I heard a reformed pastor on Sproul's daily program say that God dictates disease. Does that also mean that God dictates the pedophile to rape a child, or does He in His sovereignty allow it?
 

Batman

Puritan Board Freshman
Any takers on this one? I would really like some insight. I'm not questioning God's sovereignty, so I hope I haven't offended anyone.
 

Batman

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks, Paul. So, is it safe to say God allows "bad" things to happen, or he dictates "bad" things to happen? Or am I looking at it wrong?
 

Joseph Ringling

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Paul manata
You have the ability to act according to your nature. You dochoose things, on a secondary level. Most people think of God as on the same plain as us so that if God caused something then we can't. Like, if you and I were on different ends of the table and there were marbles on the table and I grabed some of them then you couldn;t have them since I had them. But this treats the Creator as on the same level of the creature. So, there are secondary causal effects.

Note Acts 2: God forordained and predetermined Jesus' death but tells us that Jesus was put to death by the *hands* of *lawless* men, hence they did it and are held accountable.

Also, Luke 22:22 And truly the son of man goes as it has been determined but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed. The Bible teaches both God's Sovereignty and human responsibility.
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
G.I. Williamson offers some good insight when he comments on the 9th Chapter of the WCF. I'll paraphrase.

The confusion about free will is that ability is brought into the picture in the wrong frame. Free will only describes what man may choose, it has nothing to do with his real actions.

In this way, mankind always has the choice to do good or evil. Only in the estate of glorification will men's choices be limited to only good.

Now, the unregenerate man may choose good or evil, but he only has the ability to do evil. Even if he chooses to do something good and attempts to do it, the actions are not considered good because of his deadness in trespasses and sins.

A good example someone told me recently is that even Al Qaeda has their version of the Red Cross. These are men actually choosing to do good, but because they know God and suppress the truth in unrighteousness, they cannot perform anything good.

The difference with a regenerate man is that he not only has the same choices (a truly free will), but can actually do something good because of the Holy Spirit. However, even if he were choosing the good all the time and performing what he chose, he is still an unprofitable servant and has not performed perfectly, thus his need for a savior.

So, free will is mostly about choosing, not acting on the choices.

The second part of your inquiry has to do with man's actions and God's sovereignty. I have to admit that this subject is still over my head. I know that God is sovereign and has decreed whatsoever comes to pass. I know that man is responsible for his own actions. How evil comes about is on account of man, but permitted by God.

I do not know how to explain it, but I do believe that God is perfectly just in all that He carries out.

I hope this helps.

In Christ,

KC
 

Batman

Puritan Board Freshman
KC...right on! I was beginning to think that my neurons were not connecting because of my inability to fully understand it. Can we say that, from a reformed perspective, that the concepts of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility for his actions is something we won't fully understand this side of heaven?
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Danny,

I'm willing to say that. And even though I might learn something more about it in the future, I still think parts of this issue is like nailing jello to the wall. Just the time we think we have our minds around it, we remember who we are.

In Christ,

KC
 

jatkins_1

Puritan Board Freshman
Look at Joseph in Gen 50 "what you intended for evil, God intended for good"
Also look at Job and how God told Satan to devistate Job


Acts 4.28
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’ [4]—

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
 
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