The Lake of Fire - Part 15
Installment XV - Part A
The Myth of Free-Will Exposed
There was a time when I too was hoodwinked into believing that man has a "free will." I believed free will to be man's ability to make choices, change his mind, learn from experiences, etc. And since it is a fact that man can indeed do these things, it seemed evident to me that man has free will. But then I learned that these are not the definition of free will at all.
Free will does not actually and literally mean that one can make choices, create, change his mind, or reformulate ideas and data, etc., but that those choices and thought processes must themselves be free thoughts and free choices. "Free will" is only true if our choices are also free. But free from what? Why, free from being forced upon us against our will, or free from being caused by anyone or anything except our OWN will. And so, yes, man can think, process data, make choices, change his choices, etc. But none of these activities are free from internal or external CAUSES.
That man has a will, there is no debate. It is the teaching that man himself determines his own will, FREELY, without anything causing his will or his choices to be what they are. The idea of free will or free moral agency is that man can by himself unaided by anything else, originate his own choices of his will.
But does man actually possess such a power? And if he does, where is the proof? Now for all who have no confidence in the Scriptures, let me say that there is absolutely no scientific proof that man has a "free will" or the ability to make "uncaused choices." If such a freedom of the will existed, it should be possible to demonstrate it. But there is no such scientific demonstration that man can formulate thoughts and actions to which absolutely no cause whatsoever can be attributed.
And for all who do have confidence in the Scriptures, let me say equally dogmatically that there is absolutely no Scriptural proof for man having a "free will" or the ability to make "uncaused choices." In every case Scripture shows that it is God Who is behind the scene of all circumstances that influence and cause a man to make the one and only choice possible under any given circumstance. This law of "cause and effect" is stated and demonstrated time and again in Scripture. Ignorance of these behind the scenes causes does not disprove the fact that they are the actual and literal cause of our choices
There are laws of science that men do not wish to carry over into his private and spiritual life. Why? Well, because he doesn't like the ramifications of these laws. He does not want to admit that he is bound and controlled by laws. He wants to be "free"—free to be his own god, free to determine his own destiny, free to override the rule and dominance of God, free to rebel or free to obey, but freedom of the will at all cost.
I will admit that it is a real shock when we first come to understand that of ourselves we cannot make one "free" choice to do good. Something must cause that choice, but the carnal mind hates to be "caused" to do anything. "God gave all men free will," he shouts. God gave man no such thing. Free will is a phantom illusion that has deceived the whole world.
But how could most of the population of the entire world for the whole history of the world believe something as fundamental as "free will," if such a thing does not even exist? Well, that's a fair question, and before I get into dozens and dozens of specific proofs that free will does not exist, let me just show you two very broad and Scriptural statements that would certainly be indicators that maybe what is popularly believed and taught is generally not true:
Notice that it is not the "foolishness" of this world that God says is stupid, but rather it is the "wisdom" of this world that is stupidity to God! And one of the most profound philosophical and theological pieces of wisdom that is universally agreed upon in this world is the belief that man possesses free will or free moral agency. Virtually everyone in all ages have believed this teaching of free will, and yet not one of them has ever seen it proved either Scientifically or Scripturally.
WHY ALL THE FUSS OVER FREE WILL?
Why does it matter one way or the other whether man possesses free will or not? Would the future of the human race be changed somehow if man did or did not possess free will? Here's how much it matters: If the basic free will doctrine and the eternal torture in hell doctrine taught by Christendom are both true, then man himself, and not God, is ultimately responsible for where he will spend eternity.
If man possessed a will that is free from internal or external causality, then it would be possible for all humanity to decide to choose God and be saved. Or all humanity could decide to not choose God and all would be lost. Or part of humanity could choose one way and part the other. It is the latter that is believed and taught by Christendom.
I receive emails on a regular basis stating that: "God doesn't send anyone to hell. Man himself chooses to go to hell." Oh really? And do we have a chapter and verse on such heresy? I think not.
Statistically speaking, there has been relatively few of the world's population that have ever heard of the name of Jesus Christ (which name is admittedly the only name under heaven by which men "must be saved," Acts 4:12). So what happens to all of the billions upon billions upon billions of boys and girls, men and women, who have never heard the name of Jesus? Let Dr. James Kennedy (probably the greatest Christian theologian alive on earth today—sporting six doctorates) answer this question for us:
(Above quotations taken from a printed brochure of the sermon What About Those Who Have Never Heard? By D. James Kennedy. A.B., M.Div., M.Th., D.D., D.Sac.Lit., Ph.D., Litt. D., D.Sac. Theol., D.Humane Let. From the pulpit of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida).
Is this the way that God would have Christians believe that He cares and provides for billions upon billions of His creatures? By burning their flesh in some terrorist torture chamber for all eternity? For absolutely no redeeming reason or purpose? Dr. Kennedy says: "Hell is fair." Now I don't mean to be unkind to Dr. Kennedy, but such sermons as this desperately need exposing. Millions are being deceived by such unscriptural nonsense and evil.
Let's have a little sensibility in this matter: Even if man had a free will, in what possible way would he be free to choose Christ and choose heaven, should he be one of the billions of unfortunate people who has never heard of Jesus or heaven? But we are told that he does choose hell even if he never heard of heaven or hell, and doesn't even know that there is a choice to be made in the first place. And so, the idea of a free will would be of no value to the salvation of the majority of humanity even if they did possess such a God-defying power.
DOES MAN REALLY CHOOSE TO GO TO HELL?
Maybe we should examine for a moment this idea of Christendom that man "chooses to go to hell."
Just how does man choose to go to hell, anyway? First a definition:
How does one "select from a number of possible alternatives" unless he is presented with a number of possible alternatives? But then again, world famous preacher, John Hagee says, "You send yourself to Hell for rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ." How one actually rejects something that they have never heard of, however, presents its own set of problems.
My dictionary tells me that the word "reject" means: "To refuse to accept, submit to, believe, or make use of." Can anyone give me an intelligent explanation as to just how one would do all of those things with regard to something they have never ever even heard of?
Is there a place and time in every man's life when he is presented with, and given an opportunity to select from either a place called heaven or a place called hell, where he will voluntarily live for all eternity? Such a proposition is absurd. People have lived and died by the billions not having heard of Jesus and Heaven or Satan and Hell.
In this life, most of humanity has had no firsthand knowledge of a place of eternal torture called hell. Neither have they had any firsthand knowledge of a place of eternal bliss called heaven. If you try to pin down a theologian on just how this choosing of heaven and hell actually occurs, their arguments become extremely fussy and unscriptural. No one can make an intelligent choice of anything without proper information on alternatives to be chosen. How many of my readers have actually thought more than a few minutes on any of these grand teachings of Christendom?
THE MAN OF SIN IS A BEAST WHO THINKS HE IS A GOD
Last Installment we learned that "the man of sin," spoken of by Paul in I Thes. 2, resides not in a physical temple of stone and mortar in Jerusalem, but inside of each and every one of us. This man of sin sits in "the temple of God whose temple ye are." And we learned that God calls this man of sin, "a beast".
What possible power does man believe that he possesses which causes him to
As long as this phantom god rules one's heart, Jesus may only be "with us," but not really "IN us." For Jesus our King to sit in the heart of our temple, the man of sin must be put out, seeing that, "no man can serve two masters," and "what fellowship has light with darkness?"
EVEN THE DISCIPLES DID NOT RECOGNIZE THE BEAST WITHIN
Before the true spiritual conversion of Christ's disciples, we read this:
After years of following Jesus daily the apostles were not as yet converted. In the evening of the last Passover Jesus tells Peter:
Yes indeed, "...when you are converted...." And just when might that be?
Up until the very last day with their Lord, the apostles all believed that they possessed the power of free will, which could enable them to choose their own destiny, and that they could and would have the strength of self determinism and free will to maintain that course. But Jesus told His disciples that they would all forsake Him. In other words, Jesus was foretelling of events that would cause (even "force,' if you will) them to change their wills, against their previously stated wills. They of course, all denied that Jesus knew what He was talking about.
The disciples all said that they would remain loyal. But Jesus said that they would all be offended because of Him. Was there a reason for God causing the disciples to will loyalty to Jesus and then in the same night to will to deny Jesus? Does God do anything in vain without a reason? This was all part of their conversion process. God totally humiliated them by proving to them that their own will was not free to do what they wanted, but that
In just one night God smashed the presumed free will of all the disciples. They lost confidence in their flesh after that night. James later shows us just how well he learned this lesson of so-called free self determinism:
Free will? Where?
James certainly agrees with Scripture and Science that man has the ability "to will." But he also fully recognizes that there are two things that constantly oppose and change the will of man, so that it cannot be said that the will is free to will its own destiny for even a day or an hour.
What are these two factors over which man has absolutely no control whatsoever?
1. Factor number one--CIRCUMSTANCES: What did the Holy Spirit of God inspire (cause?) James to explain as a major factor in what determines the true outcome of man's will? Answer: "Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow."
God changes the minds and wills of mankind around the world, a billion times a minute, through circumstances that "you know not" are actually the cause of your choices and your changed choices. We are often if not most of the time completely unaware of what actually caused us to do or say or think as we do.
How did all the disciples will to remain loyal to Jesus no matter what, at one moment in time, and in the next moment in time, they all changed their will to forsake Him? What changed their wills? Circumstances. One moment they were at ease and safe in the upper room, and at a later moment they were in the garden surrounded by Roman Soldiers! Fear was the circumstance that caused their (un-free) wills to change.
So it was the presence of certain circumstances that caused the disciples to will as they did. But what caused the circumstances to be as they were to ensure that they would will appropriately to fulfill Christ's prophecy concerning their denying and forsaking Him?
2. Factor number two—GOD'S WILL: Notice the second thing that the Holy Spirit inspired James to write regarding what will or will not happen on any given day to any given person. "...if the Lord will..."
Who was in charge of all these circumstances, which caused the disciples to change their wills? Why God, of course. They did not want to change their wills. They did not desire to deny their Lord and Saviour. They did not wish to make liars and fools of themselves. They did not want to be shown that they were all cowards. Well then, why did they change their wills if they did not wish to change their wills? Were they free to not change their wills? No, they were not free.
The fear inside of them caused and made (and yes, FORCED, if you will) them to change their will. And Jesus Himself told them that they would change their wills, so how pray tell could it have been otherwise? Yet I suppose that some are so spiritually stubborn that they will still insist that the apostles did not need to change their wills, that their wills were yet free to stay loyal in the face of these fearful circumstances.
When we argue with God like this, we demean Him. God has a plan, and God brings about His plan. God is not stupid. God knows exactly how to cause man (all mankind) to do exactly as He plans for them to do.
DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN GOD'S STATED WILL AND HIS PLAN OR INTENTIONS
Few students of the Scriptures have learned the truth regarding God's stated WILL and His PLAN or INTENTIONS. They are clearly not one and the same. They operate completely differently for different purposes.
First we should understand that God's will is used both as a noun and a verb. As a noun, God's will is virtually synonymous with His GOAL. It is usually not too hard to tell in Scripture whether the word "will" is used as a noun or a verb. In the Scripture we just used to show that things only happen "if God will," it is used as a verb. And whenever God uses His will as a verb, then it absolutely will be fulfilled and carried out at the time and place that He wills it.
If, however, God is speaking of His will as a noun, meaning His ultimate goal, then it does not immediately come about in totality at the place and time that He states it. A perfect example of God's will as a noun and it not coming to total fruition at the place and time stated, is in what is popularly called "The Lord's Prayer."
I don't think too many would argue that God's kingdom and His will has not totally come to this earth as it is in heaven. This is a goal—it will happen, just not at this time. And so man's will is almost always at variance with God's stated will as His ultimate goal for the human race. But God's day-to-day willing of events to carrying out His plan is never ever contradicted or thwarted by puny man. Paul understood this principle perfectly.
DID PHARAOH HAVE FREE WILL?
We will now look at some of the most profound and yet most misunderstood and not believed Scriptures in the entire Bible.
Just who is in control in this statement, puny man or God? Man's will is not free to contradict what God says He WILL DO.
What puny man "wills" has absolutely nothing to do with what God WILL DO.
Pharaoh did not harden his own heart—God said that He hardened it.
Remember I said that God has a stated will as a goal and an active will in the plan or process of obtaining His stated will? Right here we can see this principle in action:
Most Christians just plain refuse to believe these very simple Scriptures. Yet the ramifications of these Scriptural truths are enormous. Notice what God did with Pharaoh:
First God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh to "to let My people go." And Pharaoh would have let the Hebrews go. Sure he would, had not God Himself intervened. Why would Pharaoh let them go? Because Pharaoh's heart was both soft and weak. A soft and weak heart was no match for God. Pharaoh would have caved in and let His people go. But God did not want Pharaoh to let His people go. He asked Pharaoh to let His people go, but He didn't want Pharaoh to let them go this easily.
Next God has to do something in order to prevent Pharaoh from letting His people go. God actually wants Pharaoh to go against His stated will. God's stated will is "let My people go," but God doesn't want Pharaoh to do God's stated will at this time. He wants Pharaoh to resist God.
God has not changed, God still wants mankind to resist Him. But Pharaoh (just like the rest of humanity) is too weak and soft to resist God. So what does God do? Two things:
Pharaoh was naturally too soft of heart to resist letting the Hebrews go, and so God hardened his soft heart so that he would resist and would not let the people go until God first made a great display of His strength to the Egyptians. And after Pharaoh did let the people go, God wanted Pharaoh to try and follow after them and kill them. But this time we find that Pharaoh's heart was too weak. And so again, God strengthens and gives courage to Pharaoh's weak heart, and Pharaoh charges after Israel only to be totally defeated by God in the Red Sea.
Well, there it is. How hard is that to understand? But who will believe it? From Pharaoh's birth until his death, God had a purpose for Pharaoh's life, and God controlled every aspect of it. Pharaoh had not "free will" in any of these events. God changes not; He operates the same way in everyone's life. You will either be a vessel of honor or a vessel of dishonor, and it is ALL UP TO GOD!
WHO HAS RESISTED GOD'S WILL?
So God has mercy upon whom He will have mercy and whom He wills, He hardens. But when I tell people that this is how God operates, they find fault with it. They say that isn't fair. They say we are mere puppets if this is the way God operates. How can God blame and punish people for doing what God Himself caused them to do in the first place? The Apostle Paul got the same carnal-minded criticisms of God's plan:
This is an amazing Scripture. This Scripture shows the difference in attitude between those who understand God's plan and will and those who do not.
After explaining to the Romans that God raised Pharaoh up for a specific purpose in God's plan, Paul foresees the attitudes of his listeners. They will reason that if God is the One behind our actions, and we are totally incapable of doing other than what He determines we will do, then WHY DOES HE FIND FAULT WITH US WHEN WE SIN?
First it is most important that we look at and understand the word translated "will" in Rom. 9:19. It is not the usually Greek word, which is translated "will" hundreds of times in the New Testament. This Greek word boulema is used but twice in the Bible, here in Rom. 9:19 and in Acts 27:43 where it is translated "purpose."
So the question that Paul is setting up is not "...who has resisted His will?" but rather, "who has resisted His purpose [His plan, His intention]?"
To the question, "...who has resisted His will?" the answer is: EVERYONE! But when properly translated, to the question, "who has resisted His purpose?" the answer is: ABSOLUTELY NO ONE!
God has a will and God has a plan and purpose to reach that will. And no small part of reaching His desired will is to set men against His will, just as He did with Pharaoh. But no one has ever hindered God's plan and purpose in reaching that goal and stated will. God's will, will be done in His time.
So back to Paul's questioners: If God causes us to do what we do, and no one ever has or ever can go against or resist that purpose of God, why does He blame us when we sin? And again, I will let Paul answer, since the question was directed to him. But you know what? Paul does not even deign to answer their question. That's right, Paul proposes the question and then does not directly answer it. He considers the very question itself too demeaning, if not blasphemous to answer. Instead He says this:
GOD IS THE POTTER AND WE ARE THE POT
Could anything be plainer? God, the Potter, does not owe an explanation to the pot as to why He made the pot the way He desired! And God desires to make some pots honorable and some pots dishonorable. Why? Because He is a mean and nasty God? No, because He has a plan, a purpose, intentions, to save all humanity in the end. That IS THE "WILL" OF GOD. And if you will continue reading chapters 10 and 11 of Romans, you will plainly see that those who are lost along the way in God's plan will all be saved in the end.
What is the conclusion of the whole matter—and I mean THE WHOLE MATTER? How good of a Potter is God? Will He have to destroy most of His pots for all eternity? If God is the Potter and we are the pot, how can the pot be responsible for ANYTHING?
This is God's analogy, not mine. Seriously, can a pot be responsible for anything?
GOD WILL SAVE ALL OF HIS "POTS"
Not only will "ALL Israel be saved" after God brings them back from the dead, but also all of the Gentiles as well will be saved. Let's read it together and believe:
And so God knew exactly what was needed to make all of the disciples change their wills, just as He knew with Pharaoh. God said that they would change their wills and forsake Jesus, and God was not about to be made a liar. Peter did not even know what it was that caused him to deny Christ until the "cock crew."
In our above example with the disciples, not only did they change their emphatically stated will, but, they did so against their stated will. Even when they willed to change their will, they did so against their original desired will. Peter did not want to deny Christ. But he was made to deny Christ by the mere fact that the alternative (fear) was greater than his desire to remain loyal. And so, how was he "free" to remain loyal? He wasn't.
Peter was no more "free" to not deny Jesus any more than he was "free" to be loyal in his original choice. Both choices were caused, and once something is caused to happen, it could never had been otherwise. Once the cause is set in motion, the effect must follow. This is true Science and this is the truth of Scripture.
Clearly God brought about circumstances that caused, made, forced, Peter to do what he didn't want to do. How then, can such a forced will, be free? Peter did will to deny Jesus, but he was clearly caused to do so. This is an example of how God causes men to change their will even when it is against their initial will to do so. How much easier and unrecognizable are the millions of choices we make in which we very willingly make the decisions we do, because they often appear to be pleasant, profitable, and desirable choices?
GOD NEVER CHANGES
But doesn't God change the way He operates from time to time with regards to man's will? Let God's Word answer:
Now, had God supernaturally strengthened Peter's resolve to remain loyal despite the tremendous fear to give in, he would have remained loyal, because the greater power will always be dominant. And since God is ALL mighty and ALL-powerful He can ALWAYS dominate.
One does not need to be a rocket scientist to see what God did in this situation and all such situations in the history of the human race. First, Jesus told His disciples what they would do. Then God brought about the circumstances by which they would have to do what He said they would do. Where is the "free will" argument against these facts? Now then, just how many dozens and dozens of times do the Scriptures tell us that this is exactly how God always works? Many. We will go through some of them.
FOREKNOWLEDGE CONTRADICTS FREE WILL
This example of the disciples forsaking Jesus is so important to this study that we are going to stay with it a little longer. Can we believe that Jesus could have told His disciples the following:
"And Jesus said unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night, but then again, maybe not all of you will be offended, seeing that all of you have a free will to will against My pronouncement...."
Or maybe this to Peter:
"And Jesus said unto him [Peter] Verily I say unto you, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shall deny me thrice, but then again, maybe you won't deny Me three times, seeing that you have a free will that does not need to deny Me even once. It doesn't depend on what I say, or circumstances brought about by My Father, or what God declares, but rather on your own free will."
Sounds a little silly when we look at it logically doesn't it? Yet this IS the contention of those who believe in "free will." Maybe Peter will, but then again maybe Peter won't, NOT EVEN GOD KNOWS FOR SURE. Almost sounds like blasphemy, doesn't it? It is blasphemy.
To argue that when God prophesies, states, and intends that someone do a particular thing, that the person is still at liberty because of his supposed free will, to not do what God has said, is absurdity on the highest level. Yet this IS what the theory of free will demands.
The fact that God has a foreknowledge of everything proves that free will is an impossibility, as true free will could alter the future and therefore God could not have an absolute and true knowledge of the future. It is idiocy to state that man has a free will that is not made or caused to do as it does, and yet state that God knows in advance the only possible choice that a person must make.
How can one believe that if God states that a person will make choice A, that he is nonetheless still at liberty to make choice B? Let me restate that: Can God say that you WILL make choice A, but you can make choice B?
Can God say that such and such, WILL happen but that it doesn't need to happen? The disciples WILL forsake and deny Christ, but they have a free choice NOT to forsake and deny Him? God knows in advance that something WILL be a certain way, and yet it doesn't have to be that way? Am I going too fast for anyone?
Not only does the theory of free will demand that man be able to think uncaused thoughts and performed uncaused tasks, but that he can in fact, do these uncaused things contrary to and in opposition to God's preordained stated plan and purpose. He must be blind indeed, who cannot or will not see that such a haughty presumption lifts such an one's ego to that of a veritable "god' in his own heart and mind.
GOD USES OUR STUPID WISDOM TO SHOW US OUR FOLLY
Before conversion Peter thought he possessed free will:
Famous last words.
Jesus responded that Peter had no more freedom of the will to stick by such a statement than a donkey:
Peter again responds from the pinnacle of his presumed free will and CORRECTS Jesus to His face:
And the rest is history. When Peter was confronted the third time we read this:
What about all of the other disciples who also thought they possessed this power of free will and self-determinism?
Free will? FREE will? FREE WILL? Where? If you still believe man has a will that is "free" from external and internal causes, beyond his control, then your arguments are not with me, but with God's Word.
THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD
The inhabitants of the whole world believe that they possess a wonderful gift from God called variously: "free will," "free choice," and "free moral agency." Even atheists believe that this marvel is a real and actual power evolved from primordial soup in some ancient sea slime. It is believed and taught that it is this agency of "free will" that enables a person to choose good over evil and even choose his own eternal destiny, independent of any one, any cause, or even God Himself. For if anything... ANYTHING should ever cause, hinder, persuade or restrict one's supposed free will in any way, it would cease at that moment to be "free."
And so it is repeatedly stated that under no circumstances would God ever interfere with, cause, or force anyone to think or do anything against his sacred and God-given, free will. Of course we just saw a marvelous example in Scripture where men do change their wills against their wills, thus proving that neither their initial nor subsequent will was "free" at all.
I will show that free will is indeed an "idol of the heart" which needs to be repented of. And of all man's sacred cows, free will is the most sacred of all. It is undoubtedly the most difficult doctrine in man's walk with God to acknowledge and give up. And though neither science nor Holy Scripture know anything of a power called "free will," most will continue to defend it even in the light of a mountain of Scriptural proof that contradicts it at every turn.
To even question the existence of such a universally accepted sacred cow that has been lauded by theologians and philosophers since Eden, is to open oneself to criticism of being either a moron or an heretic. It is rather this theory of free will itself that is moronic and heretical. Yea, it is rather idiotic and evil. God Himself calls the notion of independent free choice, evil. There is a plethora of simple-to-understand teachings in the Scriptures that utterly contradicts the fantasy of man's supposed "free will."
That man does indeed possess a "will" there is no doubt in either Science or the Scriptures. That such a will is "free," and brings about its own existence, however, is neither demonstrable by Science or Scripture. Contrariwise, both Science and Scripture teach against such an untenable phenomenon.
Remember that God says,
"Free Will" DEFINED
The American Heritage College Dictionary:
My Meriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary/Eleventh Edition has an even more precise definition:
It is useless to have a study on this term "free will" unless we stick to a strict, concise and precise definition of the term. As can be seen from our dictionaries, "free will" does not have for a concise or precise definition the ability to "make choices." Yet this is the way it is often defined.
Notice that our dictionaries are specific in stating that it is "FREE choice" that is the definition of "free will," rather than just "choice" alone. To be an expression of "free will," choices must also be free. Free from what? We just read it:
Those who would argue for free will, however, refuse being held to these precise and concise definitions. They want the mere ability to "make a choice" to be considered an act of "free will." Well it is nothing of the kind. Making a choice has absolutely nothing to do with the doctrine of "free will." This is easily demonstrated. Computers make "choices." They can make trillions of choices per second. It would take a trillion people to make that many choices in a second. All that these marvelous machines do is make choices.
Now then, will anyone contend that computers have unprogrammed and uncaused, free wills? So now we have proof that making choices is not the same as "free will."
We are not speaking of "Hal" in the Hollywood science fiction fantasy: "2001—A Space Odyssey." Computers do not have "free wills," yet THEY CAN MAKE CHOICES, but those choices are anything but free. Their choices are all a matter of PRE-programming. They cannot think and act independently of "causes." Neither can man think or do anything outside of the realm of "causes." In order for an effect to be present, there must first be a cause, and once something is caused, the effect must follow, and neither could have been prevented.
There is not one example that can be presented by scientific a method, that can demonstrate that man's will is free from causality. Neither is there an example in all Scripture that can be shown to be the exercise of a will that is free from causality. And that certainly includes all that our Lord Himself ever thought, said, or did.
IN THE BEGINNING/IN THE GARDEN
What was the first historically recorded choice of our first parents? We read of Mother Eve that:
But was this the first choice and the first sin attributed to our Mother Eve? No, it wasn't the first. It was not even the second, or the third choice.
It is generally taught that Adam and Eve were spiritually perfect immediately after their creation, seeing that it says,
Never mind the fact that even poisonous snakes were also "very good." Of course everything God made was "good." It was, in fact, even "perfect"—perfect, that is, for the purpose for which it was created.
But did our first parents have perfect and good spiritual character of heart when God completed them? Absolutely not! Far from it! They were as carnal-minded as any two people who have ever lived.
The Scriptures show us that Eve committed every known category of sin there is, before she ever ate of the forbidden fruit. This one should knock your socks off. It knocked mine off when I first discovered it.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE SPIRITUAL
It is believed by most that the Ten Commandments, if followed by everyone, would eliminate all of the problems of the world. Did you know that it is possible to keep ALL of the ten commandments without having the spirit of God or without being spiritually converted? 'Tis true. Here are the commandments:
Yes, even unaided by the Holy Spirit of God it is possible to keep these commandments of God. And the proof of this is simple: The penalty for breaking any of these commandments was death, and yet, most in Israel were not stoned to death for breaking these commandments. All of these commandments are referred to as "carnal commandments" in the New Testament (Heb. 7:16). They do not require a converted spiritual heart to keep and obey.
There was ONE commandment, however, that was of a spiritual nature. It had to do with the desires and inclination of the heart. It was the 10th commandment:
However, was anyone ever stoned in ancient Israel for coveting any thing that belonged to his neighbor? No. Never. One could "covet" anything he wanted all day long, just so long as he didn't break any of the other nine commandments!
One could "covet" his neighbor's wife, just as long as he didn't commit adultery with her—for that he would be stoned to death.
One could "covet" his neighbor's ox, just so long as he didn't steal it—for that he would be stoned to death.
Oh "coveting" was a sin all right, but since it cannot be detected by man unless it eventuates into stealing or the like, no penalty was enforced on such an one. However, to Paul, it was this commandment that proved to him that his heart was not right with God even though he performed all the visible and outward duties of the law:
So lusting and coveting that which is not legal, is a sin, but it carried no penalty in Ancient Israel. But before a man ever steals, or ever commits adultery with another man's wife, he first covets, and that is a sin and the precursor to additional sins. But is it man's will that does the coveting? Can man's will, will NOT to covet? Is man's "will" the problem? No, no, it is NOT.
SIN BEGINS IN THE HEART
Man's mind is not the birthplace of sin. And certainly man's will is not the originator of sin. God did NOT say: "O that there were such a WILL in them..." (Deut. 5:29). If we will just believe, our Lord tells us plainly where sin originates:
Need I remind any that all of the above thoughts and deeds are sin?
So what pray tell does all this stuff have to do with Mother Eve's sin in the garden? A lot—everything. The Apostle John classifies all sins into just three categories under one heading.
LOVE NOT THE WORLD—THREE CATEGORIES OF SIN
Notice that "...ALL that is in the world..."—all the sins of the world, have their origin in one of these three categories of sin that proceeds "out of THE HEART." Not out of the "will" or out of the "mind," but "out of THE HEART." The "will" and the "mind" are subject to the "heart," and not the other way around. The heart is not subject to the will, neither is the heart subject to the mind, but rather both of these are subject to the birthplace of all human functions—the HEART!
Simply and unarguably, Jesus states as a fact, that all evil thoughts and sins proceed OUT OF THE HEART.
Now, with all that said, let's prove once and for all that Mother Eve and Adam were (1) NOT spiritually perfect in any way shape or form, BEFORE they actually ate of the forbidden fruit, and (2) neither did they sin and then partake of the forbidden fruit through the operation of something called "free will."
Eve committed EVERY CATEGORY OF SIN THERE IS IN THE WORLD, before... BEFORE she actually ate of the forbidden fruit.
ALL of Eve's evil thoughts of pride, vanity, lust, greed, disobedience, and finally thievery proceeded NOT from Eve's supposed "free will," but rather from out of her HEART. And the only reason these sins could come out of her heart is because THEY WERE ALREADY IN THERE FROM THE BEGINNING. BEFORE Eve actually ate of the forbidden fruit, she committed every category of sin in the world. And need I remind us that we were also, ALL IN ADAM, before he ate of the tree (I Cor. 15:22). Will we deny our own eyes and the Scriptures we have just read?
"CAUSE AND EFFECT"—THE FIRST EDICT OF THE UNIVERSE
Let me interject a few thoughts here before we go on. Science has never found an "effect" anywhere in the universe for which they believe there was not first a "cause." I mean, how could it be otherwise?
What is there anywhere, that can happen, come into existence, display an effect, for which there was absolutely NO CAUSE?
Why is it then that most of humanity believes that they can think thoughts that they themselves brought into existence WITHOUT ANY CAUSE? Why would anyone think such a thing? Well, for one thing, they are not usually, consciously aware of the cause. Therefore, they deceive themselves into believing that their thoughts HAD NO CAUSE!
But since when must the cause of an effect be visible or perceivable in order to be accepted? I can witness the tremendous effects and power of electricity, and yet I have never seen electricity. I see the effects and power of the wind, and yet I have never seen the wind. We can also see things and not feel them. I can see the sky, but I can't feel the sky. We can also hear sounds, but we can't see sounds. The rays of the sun burn our skin, but we can't see the actual rays that burn us. We can smell things that we cannot see, hear, or feel. We can't see taste.
Then why should it seem strange to us that we can have thoughts without seeing, feeling, hearing, or smelling the CAUSE of those thoughts. It is amazing just how deceiving this doctrine of free will is when we consider that most scientists accept free will as a fact, yet they would never in a million years accept anything else in the universe as coming into existence without a cause!
Psychiatrists and psychologists look for every conceivable CAUSE of mental diseases, personality disorders, and a plethora of behavioral dysfunctions associated with the thinking of the mentally challenged. Try to convince even one of them that these disorders have absolutely no cause whatsoever, and see how they will look at you with a cocked head. But then suggest to these same experts if indeed all of these malfunctioning thought patterns do have a cause, then just maybe all of our properly functioning and socially acceptable thoughts, ALSO HAVE CAUSES. And they will AGAIN look at you with a cocked head of incredulity! Does anyone see a CONTRADICTION in all this free will philosophy?
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO UN-RING A BELL
It has been wisely stated, that once a bell has been rung, it can never be UN-RUNG. And this axiom is also true for our thoughts and everything else in the universe that was the effect of some cause. Once we are CAUSED to have a particular thought, it is not even in the realm of possibility for that thought to never have occurred. IT HAD TO OCCUR. Once anything CAUSES something, the effect of that cause could never have been otherwise. The very fact that everything in the history of the universe and the history of the human race had a cause is proof positive that this same history could never have been different.
Whatever HAS HAPPENED, HAD TO HAPPEN. The CAUSES of all happenings, MADE all of the effects come into existence. Nothing that has a cause can ever be stopped, for if the cause could be stopped, the effect would have never happened, and we would not have the existence of any such cause to even be talking about in the first place. BUT ALL THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED, HAVE HAPPENED! This is not rocket science. No one can UN-RING a bell.
Now then, if ALL effects are the result of "something," namely a "cause," bringing about the effect, what brings about the "cause" OF the "effect?"
Thank God! I thought no one would ask. Answer? Laws! Laws cause effects. Laws cause thunderstorms. Laws cause life. Laws cause death. LAWS CAUSE EVERYTHING!
But let's keep this thing going: Who or what causes "laws?" I can see I've got to get up pretty early in the morning to keep ahead of this group of readers—just fooling with you. Seriously, this is a deep question that deserves an answer, but the answer is not one that most want to hear. They prefer the superiority of man creating his own thoughts, actions, and theories a whole lot better. So what causes laws? Actually it is not a what, but a Who
GOD CAUSES LAWS
Maybe you are saying, "Well I knew that." Oh really? Then why do you still believe in UNCAUSED human free will? They are not compatible you know? God can't be steering this creation in one direction while five and a half BILLION humans are steering it in another direction. Which direction WILL IT GO? If it goes in man's direction, then God is not in control of its direction. And if it goes in God's direction, THEN MAN HAS NO FREE WILL TO MAKE IT GO IN HIS DESIRED CONTRARY DIRECTION! Guess which one is the Truth? But, "Lord who has believed our report?"
Man can "create" nothing—not even a thought.
Invisible things are nonetheless REAL.
Now for maybe the most profound and all-encompassing statements in all Scripture:
BACK TO MOTHER EVE AGAIN
Was it Eve's will from the beginning ("free" or otherwise), that she would eat the forbidden fruit? No, it wasn't. Let's read it:
Eve was not yet deceived: she was not as yet caused to disobey God. She set the serpent straight by telling him that his statement wasn't completely true. They could eat of all of the fruit in the garden EXCEPT ONE. Eve was okay with that commandment from God. Well why did she then eat of the forbidden fruit? WHAT CHANGED?
Did Eve's "heart" change? No, she had the same heart she was created with.
Did Eve's "mind" change? Yes it did.
Did Eve's "will" change? Yes, of course it did.
Now for the "sixty-four thousand dollar question." WHAT changed Eve's mind and will? Even though Eve had a deceitful heart, there was something else that CAUSED her to change or mind and her will regarding the forbidden fruit. The Apostle Paul plainly tells us what CAUSED Eve to change her mind and her will. Eve did not "freely" will to sin. Her choice to sin was not "free" from an external cause. IT WAS CAUSED, and when something is CAUSED to happen, it could not have been "free" to NOT HAPPEN. Am I going too fast for anyone?
Where does anyone see one single word here to the effect that Eve deceived HERSELF, or caused HERSELF to sin, or "freely" willed HERSELF into a different frame of mind WITHOUT A CAUSE?
WHAT CAUSED EVE TO SIN WILLINGLY?
Did Eve herself think that she "freely" willed to sin WITHOUT A CAUSE?
And what did God have to save about all this blame casting on Eve's part? Did God say something like this:
"Oh really, Eve? Yah right, go ahead, try and blame it on THE SERPENT! No, Eve, you "FREELY' willed by your own "FREE MORAL AGENCY' which I gave to you and which is free from ALL CAUSALITY AND BLAME CASTING, to do this thing ON YOUR OWN."
Is that what God said? Let's read it:
There it is. God's Own answer. But will we accept God's answer? For most, probably not.
God plainly said that it was the serpent who "has done this." Eve said it was the serpent that deceived her and God Himself also conceded that it was the serpent that "HAS DONE THIS." That was the CAUSE, and that was the reason for the serpent's punishment.
WHAT CAUSED ADAM TO SIN WILLINGLY?
How about Adam? Does he fair any better than his wife? Did Adam eat the forbidden fruit and sin by his OWN "FREE' WILL? Or do the Scriptures tell us that he too was CAUSED to have his will do what he did?
And again, did God say something like" "Oh sure, Adam, blame it on your WIFE! You know that you "freely' without any outside cause whatsoever, decided on your own to eat the fruit." Is that what God intonated to Adam? Let's read it:
Does anyone see here where God says, "Because you have hearkened unto the voice of our OWN "FREE' WILL, and have eaten of the true...?" Well? No, before Adam "willed" (and NOT FREELY), but willed to eat of this fruit, his heart was influenced to do something that it already had all the potential in the world of doing. Namely, disobeying His God and Maker. And what was that? HIS WIFE'S VOICE. And at THAT point in the process, Adam began to "will" this act, and his mind formulated the actual physical action of doing the eating.
You see, Adam was willing to die for his new bride, just as Jesus was willing to die for His bride, the church.
God doesn't even hint that Adam did what he did "freely." God Himself admits that the CAUSE was "the VOICE OF YOUR WIFE."
I have said and taught for decades now that God never FORCED anyone to sin or go against whatever their will is at the precise time that his will is changed by a cause. Men volunteer to sin. They don't need to be "forced"—they are SINNING MACHINES! Most men (not all) can be made to sin at the drop of a photograph. (That is, if the photograph is that of a sexy young lady in high heels and a mini-skirt). He doesn't need to be "FORCED' to lust and sin over the young lady, even though it may not have been his conscious will TO LUST just prior to seeing the sexy photograph.
Who created man with such passions and desires? Dah! Who created Testosterone?
IT ALL STARTS WITH THE HEART
ALL have sinned because it takes SPIRITUAL POWER not to sin. And God did not give our first parents that kind of spiritual power. They were spiritually weak as water.
We read in Jer. 17:9:
We know from Scripture that God "...creates EVIL..." (Isa. 45:7), but did He also create man's heart in a "desperately wicked" state? No, He did not. God did not FORCE upon man, at creation, a "desperately WICKED" heart. Let's read this verse from the Jewish Publication Society,
God did not create man's heart "desperately wicked" as the KJV suggest, but rather He did create the human heart, "exceeding WEAK."
The seat of emotions and desires is the HEART. And God made the heart "exceeding WEAK." Man did not sin because he "freely willed" to sin, but because his heart was so exceedingly WEAK. That is why it takes next to nothing to persuade the heart of man to DESIRE SIN.
Jesus Christ Himself taught us that EVIL THOUGHTS, MURDERS, BLASPHEMIES, ADULTERIES, etc., all start, begin, originate, proceed, out from THE HEART.
Once the heart senses a feeling or emotion, it begins to desire something. These very thoughts of desire emanate out from the heart, seeking fulfillment. At this point in the process the will is manifested. It now becomes the driving force within you to accomplish the thoughts and emotions of the heart. The will is not the original instigator in this chain of events; it is not even the second in line, but rather the third.
The heart played a huge role in Adam's decision to also partake of the forbidden fruit. In I Tim. 2:14 we read this:
Why did Adam sin if he was NOT deceived as his wife was? Again, the answer goes back to THE HEART.
Adam LOVED his wife dearly. He never wanted to be separated from her. But he knew that the wages of eating the forbidden tree was to be death. But did he fully comprehend all that death entailed? Probably not. But whatever the penalty would be or how it would be carried out, Adam knew that he did not want to be separated from his wife. Notice what He said to God:
Isn't that interesting. Adam did not say: "The woman whom you gave TO ME." Or, "The woman whom you gave FOR ME." But rather, "The woman whom you gave to be WITH ME." Adam reminded God that He created Eve to be "WITH' him, not apart from him. And if Adam had obeyed God, whereas his wife did not, he feared being SEPARATED from Eve. And so he also ate of the fruit and sinned, not because he was deceived as Eve was, but because he loved her in his heart so much that he couldn't bear the thought of not being "WITH" her.
And so, did Adam "freely" WITHOUT A CAUSE choose to eat the forbidden fruit? What nonsense. Adam had the BIGGEST REASON in the world that CAUSED him to sin and remain with his wife!
So if you are looking for "free" will in the Garden at the time of our first parents' creation, forget it, 'cause it ain't there!
SUBJECTED TO VANITY NOT WILLINGLY
Here is another profound reason why man's will is not and never was free. We saw that Eve was already in a state of spiritual weakness and actually committed all of the three categories of sin before she actually ate of the forbidden fruit. And the reason she was in this condition and easy pickins for the serpent, is taught us in the Romans 8:20.
WOW! What have we here? Free will? I think not. Pay close attention to the words that God inspired:
So where is the "free" will in all this? There is no free will in all this!
Notice verse 21:
Man was never "immortal," neither was he "incorruptible." Not before Adam and Eve sinned, nor after. This is why Paul tells us that,
This is not speaking of something that happened later in the history of the human race. No, this goes back to the very CREATION of all things. It is GOD Who does the CREATING and it is GOD Who does the SUBJECTING, and man's will has absolutely NOTHING to do WITH IT, or ABOUT IT!
If man has a will that is free from being something other than what God Himself has SUBJECTED it to, why doesn't man just "free will" himself to NOT be subjected to futility and corruption? I'll tell you why: Because the will of man is NOT FREE to do others things than what it is caused to do, and has absolutely NO POWER OR AUTHORITY to do otherwise, independent of God's will and God's choices for him. How about a Chapter and Verse on that statement? Okay:
THE SOURCE OF ALL POWER
What do we learn from these verses? Are we to believe that for this particular event (the Crucifixion of our Lord), God supernaturally supplied Pilate with the power to perform his dirty work? Is that what we learn?
Pilate already KNEW that he possessed power—he told Jesus he possessed this power. He possessed it for some time, that's how Pilate was sure that this power was available to him whenever he needed it. But from where did Jesus say Pilate's power came from? "...from ABOVE." It ALWAYS COMES FROM ABOVE.
So, what about the ruler before Pilate? Did he have power? Where did that power come from? "...from ABOVE." And what about the neighboring cities, states, powers, countries and kingdoms? Where did THEIR power come from? "...from ABOVE." Where has all the power of evey city, state, and nation, farm, company, household, and individual who has ever lived, come from? "...from ABOVE.
Where does all power in heaven and earth come from? "...from ABOVE." Therefore, man is subject to the power that enables him to do things, and as we have already seen, man has no power to do anything except what God has already determined that he WILL DO, and MUST DO.
CAN THE ETHIOPIAN CHANGE HIS SKIN, OR THE LEOPARD HIS SPOTS?
I marvel that learned philosophers and theologians have studied, argued, and debated for centuries over whether man has a free will or not. Why is it that people find this subject too elusive to nail down? Why can't everyone come to the same conclusion? Is there no proof to settle this enigma, one way, or the other?
Actually there is no great mystery about this matter at all, if we would just believe the Scriptures. We have already seen two whole sections of Scripture from Adam and Eve to Jesus and His Disciples where circumstances dictated action and not some phantom free will.
There is, in fact, one very simple and beautiful verse of Scripture that proves the total impossibility of free will. If we have a "love of the Truth," and are willing to "believe God," then I can prove that man does not have a free will because God Himself says as much in one verse.
If man possesses a free will, then it IS POSSIBLE for him to choose good over evil. Do we have any arguments here? If a man possesses a free will, and he is presented with a choice between doing evil or doing good, then "free will" advocates (will all agree) that he has the ability to choose good. No he doesn't. He absolutely has no such power or ability. And how can I say such a thing? Oh, not me. I did not come up with this. This verse is one of those "Thus saith the LORD..." verses. In Jer. 13:23 we find God speaking in the first person:
Too bad that Calvin and the boys never took a longer look at this little verse of Scripture. It would have saved many thousands of hours of unprofitable debate. Can the Ethiopian change his skin? No. Can the leopard shed his spots? No. Then can we or anyone else in the world who grew up with a carnal mind, on his own, by his own fancied free will, choose and do good? God Himself says, "No." If the Ethiopian can change his skin and the leopard his spots, then you CAN do good. But if the Ethiopian cannot change his skin and the leopard his spots, then you CANNOT do good. But, "Lord, who has believed our report?"
THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH
I stated earlier that it is through LAW that God controls all things in the universe. Only the ego of the carnal mind is so great that it actually believes it is the exception to the universal rule, and is not subject to law, but is free from law. I tell you assuredly, it is not exempt from law.
We saw that with Adam and Eve, as well as with Peter and all the disciples, that there was always a cause that made men will as they did. But why is it that the natural carnal mind always wills against God? Why does it always will to sin and do evil? And why does the spirit mind of converted man always desire to obey God and do what is good? Could there be a "law" at work here? Yes, indeed there is. The carnal-minded man is governed by one law, whereas the converted man is governed by a different law, but all are governed by law.
Notice that one law frees us from another law, but we still remain under some law. All unconverted carnal-minded humanity is under "the LAW of sin and death." That law controls the unregenerate man. And he cannot, of his own will, break the controls of that law. That law will control him until he dies or unless God intervenes with a different offsetting law, namely, "the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus." But when we are made free, does that mean that we then have "free will?"
We saw from the Scriptures that Adam and Eve did not have free will, nor did Peter, or any of the disciples before their conversion. But what about after their conversion and receiving the Holy Spirit? This is what a number of large denominations believe and teach. They teach that it certainly is true that the unregenerate, carnal-minded man cannot have a free will to choose and do good, but that at conversion and receiving of God's Spirit, they can have free will to choose to do good. Is this true?
Free from what? Free to make "free choices" as opposed to CAUSED choices? This verse has absolutely nothing to do with a so-called "freedom of the will."
[To Be Continued]