Free Will: What Does It Mean Based On Scripture?

“Free Will” is a term that is commonly brought up in bible discussions, but what does it mean? Calvin said that it was a term that he didn’t want to bring up in conversation. In fact, Calvin wrote in “Institutes”: “Man will then be spoken as having this sort of free decision, not because he has free choice equally, of good and evil, but because he acts wickedly by will, not by compulsion. Well put, indeed, but what purpose is served by labeling with a proud name such a petty thing?” “But how few men are there, I ask, who when they hear free will attributed to man do not immediately conceive him to be master of both his mind and will, able of his own power to turn himself toward either good or evil…If anyone, then, can use his word without understanding it in a bad sense. I shall not trouble him on this account…I’d prefer not to use it myself, and I should like others, if they seek my advice, to avoid it”.

Nowhere in the bible does it say that we are “free” in the sense of being outside of God’s control. Neither does it read that we are allowed to be free to do right of our own volition without God’s power.

Absolute freedom that is totally out of God’s control is not possible. God maintains and directs all things providentially in this universe by Himself. So the challenge is to interpret the word “free.” If we were able to be “free” to make our own choices, then we would be equal to God in respect to our will. God will know our choices before we make them, but does that mean we are not free to make choices? Absolutely not.

Acts 4:27-28 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 purpose predestined to occur.

God Bless

Brian Mason