This past Sunday, April 29, we spoke during our second hour concerning the issue of the “free will” of man. This discussion was not recorded and was handled more as a spontaneous explanation as opposed to a well-delineated lesson. I had prepared to share some simple definitions and thoughts and I share them here now for your reflection and edification.
At its core, the term “free will”, when used by theologians who embrace it, means that a person is fully able to perform some other action in place of the one that is actually done, and this is not predetermined by any prior circumstances, desires or even affections. In other words, a person has to be “free” to choose against his own nature, desires and inclinations, uninfluenced by anything in himself or even outside himself. This presents both a logical absurdity, for I may will to fly like a bird, wanting to do something other then simply walk, but since it is not in my nature to do so, as soon as I jump of the roof and flap my arms, I am going to come down with a crash. It is also contrary to the teaching of the word of God.
The only way in which a person can claim to have free will is be redefining what is meant by the choosing of good or evil. Since the bible teaches that no on does does (Romans 3:10) and it is impossible for a person to go against this nature (Jeremiah 13:23), humanity and even some Christians specifically, must redefine what is meant by good.
Good, humanly speaking, is anything that is not harmful or hurtful and is relatively helpful to someone.
Evil, from a human perspective - is defined as anything hurtful, harmful and not helpful to another person.
However, such a definition of “good” does not live up to God's standards.
Good, from God's perspective, is anything done by the power of God for the glory of God. Such a definition of good leaves out any human good that seeks to serve a neighbor if that good is not done in the power of God for the glory of God, but is merely for the benefit of the other person or perhaps for the accolades that come as a result.
Essentially, humanity defines good as anything that is less evil than those things which are deemed clearly evil. Thus, the philanthropist is seen as good when he gives his money to a worthy cause, even though he has no desire to do it for the glory of God, which, by definition, is an evil act. Adolf Hitler is seen as bad because of all the harm he did to millions of people.
By way of example concerning the human condition as bound by sin, prison guards on Alcatraz knew that every one of their prisoners were “bad” and evil people for the crimes they had committed. Yet, some of those men were “good” in comparison to others and were allowed certainly privileges that other bad prisoners did not get. This is humanity's condition. We are all condemned as criminals, we are all