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he will pick himself up and continue." --Winston Churchill


Free Will Under God's Sovereignty

- by R. Totten (c) 2010

In thinking about God's sovereignty, many people are troubled over how there can be "free will" along with that sovereignty.

The answer is found in the fact that the "freedom" of any creature is regulated by its nature --its ability and/or desire to do any particular thing.
-- For example:

A Robin (bird) is "free" to build its nest on any branch in any tree, so it has a bird's "free will" in that regard, because the bird is not forced against its will to build or not build in either one place or another. --However, though the Robin is technically "free" to build its nest under water or on top of Mt. Everest, the bird is unable and unwilling to do such a thing since such behavior goes against the bird's nature.

Similarly, with humans: A man is "free" to run a mile on level ground in sixty seconds, but it goes against man's nature, because he is not able to accomplish it. A man is also "free" to hold his breath under ten feet of water for 48 hours --without mechanical means of breathing-- but he is unable, and assuredly unwilling to do so. There are many things like this which demonstrate that man's "free will" is limited by his nature (and unwillingness).

FURTHERMORE, under the management of God's sovereignty, God manipulates the availability and attractiveness of every small or large item, and controls each tiny inducement for the creature (or man) to respond and behave in any particular way --with the result that the creature always does exactly the thing which God has planned, at the precise time it was planned to occur. The bird will build its nest in the exact tree, on the exact branch, and with the exact twigs and materials which God has caused to be attractive to the bird, according to the bird's nature ...and it does it freely, not being forced.

So, there are no "surprises" for God; there is no "plan B." --"Random" or "chance" events are actually not a part of reality, but are only a convenient way for man to describe many things. In reality, every result is brought about by adequate and logical causes which are all guided and sustained by God (this is called "providence"), and it all goes back to the "First Cause" of everything --which is also God.

Nothing at all is left to chance --and yet all the while, the creature (and man) is "freely" choosing (is not unwillingly acting) and doing things according to its nature the whole time. The free will choosing of the creature is not violated, because it does not act against its own nature and will, but does what it most desires at any given time.

...yet, under the almighty and sovereign hand of God, the "free-will" choices of man are always exactly the choices and behaviors which God had ordained and decreed from eternity past... with man freely choosing all the while. --In this way God precisely directs every freely chosen action of every man, and the course of every nation down through the millennia of history. --Thus, we have the one true God who in the Bible can predict the course of history without error, because he already has it all planned out, and directs it so.

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To further deal with these and related issues, please proceed with the following link:

God's Sovereign Grace and Predestination

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