God And Man’s Free Will
Different doctrines view God differently. Some are just small differences and some are doctrines of devils. We must always use the Bible to distinguish and make sure we are following what it says. One of the biggest issues in Christianity are different doctrinal beliefs taking a few instances and creating absolutes out of them, meaning since God did something a certain way that is the ONLY way He deals with an issue. This is very common with the different beliefs on “free will”, both man’s and God’s. Some will say man has absolutely no free will and others would say that there is never a situation where God doesn’t take free will away from a man. Here are some examples:
“And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.” Exodus 4:21
“For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” Romans 9:17
These above scriptures show an instance where God actually hardened Pharaoh’s heart to the point where Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go, He basically did this so Pharaoh would do what God wanted him to do. Then the next verse in Romans it explains how God raised up Pharaoh to be a powerful enemy and an obstacle to the Israelites who were then delivered by God’s Hand as a testimony to God’s power and faithfulness. So in this case it would be safe to say Pharaoh’s free will was removed in this specific situation. But does this mean that no one has any free will and we are all robots? No!
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
These verses show that there are instances where men do have a choice on what they do, in Joshua whether they would serve God or idols and in Galatians it tells how they were called to freedom but warned not to use the freedom to indulge in sinful activity. Different doctrines also try to put absolutes on God which is also wrong, some will say God can never change His mind and others will say God does not know the future. Here are two examples:
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” Psalm 90:2
“13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. 15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.” Exodus 32:13-15
It is no mystery that God knows everything and is above all. It seems in Exodus 32 that God had mercy on the Israelites and changed His mind from harshly judging them at that point in time. Some people will say that God can’t change His mind. This is wrong because the Bible says that with God all things are possible, but it also says that God is unchanging. God is so far above what we can understand and comprehend and saying that God “can’t” do something is crazy and putting limitations on the eternal God to fit within certain doctrinal boundaries. The main lesson is balance is key to growing in God and also understanding that we will not ever understand all of His ways no matter what theology professors or Calvinists say.