Saturday, July 18, 2009

How does free will exist with predestination?

Let's learn a lesson from a fish.

I have a beta fish (back in UCLA) in the care of one of my friends (thanks). I love that fish and his name is Ninja. The above picture is not Ninja, but close enough (Ninja is definitely more good looking). He has lots of fun hobbies and he loves practicing his free will. He chases after little bugs/gnats that happen to get into my room (its awesome to watch). He makes bubble nests with lots and lots of bubbles (sign of happiness... and wanting to mate). He takes rests at the bottom on the rocks and swims between whatever he wishes. He also watches me study and encourages me as I work late into the night. With all that said - Ninja has 100% free will, HOWEVER he is CONFINED to his TANK as a FISH. He does whatever he wishes, but whatever he wishes to do is restricted by the fact that he is a fish. This means he needs water to stay alive, and he needs to stay in his tank. He cannot free will himself to be human, or free will himself to be a dog, or free will himself to fly, but he has free will.

Thus it is with humans. We have free will but we are bounded by the fact that we are humans. We cannot free will ourselves to be God or to fly ourselves out to space (without spaceships). But you can drop a pencil right now if you want or write a blog entry (like me) if you want right now. However, you definitely cannot free will yourself to salvation. You cannot free will yourself to believe. Here's WHY.

Humans in our NATURAL state of free will would NEVER choose God. Psalm 14:2-3, Romans 3:10-12. God looks down from heaven to see if there are any who seek God, there is none - no not one. We know that in our free will bounded by the fact that we are human we would never ever choose God. John 6:44, John 6:65. As a Christian, I am so glad that this be true because I know I would have never chosen God - I would love to rebel as that is my nature. Then the beauty of God's grace is that He pierces through that boundary and gives us grace and draws us to Him that we may believe. YET, it is not that God FORCES us to believe. Far be it from that. He as God draws us and wills us to believe through His grace and majestic wonder.

Thomas Watson in All Things for Good puts it this way:
"It is a sweet call. God so calls as He allures; He does not force, but draw. The freedom of will is not taken away, but the stubbornness of it is conquered. 'Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power' (Psalm 110:3). After this call there are no more disputes, the soul readily obeys God's call: as when Christ called Zachaeus, he joyfully welcomed Him into his heart and house."

And this... is my attempt to explain how free will exists with predestination =] Thank you Ninja for the help.


Sam said...

Thank you Ninja. I wrote an entry on predestination too! Don't know if you read it.

xSAMgyupsal said...

mm. :]


hey I saw ninja at jacob's apt ahhaha :)
we kind of ate fish tacos in front of him, ooops :(
anyway, thanks cho for explaining this all to me in a simple way :) i never understood until you wrote this blog.. or maybe it was that i didn't really care until it really mattered. nonetheless, thank you for that :)

Anonymous said...

well... your explanation shows why we have limitations, not really how free will and predestination are compatible. can God really sovereignly will all that comes to pass without impinging on our free will? not an easy question. i gave my own spin on the issue here:

but that was before taking philosophy of religion...

but your fish sounds awesome.

rebs jung said...

wow this is my favorite question to ask all the time
thanks cho cho

Jason T. Lee said...

what matters is that we are under a sovereign God

i like ninja

eunice lee said...

update! then ill bake you some goodies :] hehehe!

Dan said...

Ninja reminds me of my own betta fish, Sigmund Freud. Good post Cho =)

Steve Lee said...

Good stuff Cho. How's everything going?

hannahr said...

it's like if ninja he would leave his bowl but then he would suffocate and die.

i met ninja. he told me to tell u his tank needs a cleaning!! :)

Anonymous said...

Left unanswered is to what degree are we responsible if God wills us to accept His Son and we refuse. Is it our free will to choose or not choose that makes us answerable to God if we refuse His call? Are we thus solely responsible for our condemnation to the fires of hell if we choose not to?

ChosenCho said...

Hi recent commenter,
I wish I could talk to you in person or through email and such. It is much easier that way to explain. But here's a short answer to answer what I think you're asking:

What we are responsible & accountable for is our sins. Thus, we are solely responsible for our condemnation because of our own sin. Sin = death. (Romans 6:23).

We are all held responsible for it because all of us have sinned and are deserving of the wrath of God. (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23).

The difference comes in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8) and took the punishment of our sins and came back to life 3 days later so that we too may have life in Him. This was a gift from God for sinners who were already condemned by their own actions/sins.

So if we choose to refuse God and not believe, we are fully held accountable to God who does will all to believe. (1 tim 2:4).

All of us are responsible for our sin (even those who have never heard the gospel). So our own choosing of not believing in his Son and repenting of our sins makes us accountable to sins = condemnation.