Thursday, May 19, 2005if no free-will...then what???
You don't have to be debating Calvinism too long before the "robots" argument surfaces. The idea is this: if God forordained and predestined everything for everyone, then are we not all just fulfilling a program already determined by God? Are we indeed mindless robots marching on towards glory or condemnation, depending on our programming?
Calvinists do not believe that we are robots.
We are CLAY.
"Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? SHALL THE THING FORMED SAY TO HIM THAT FORMED IT, Why hast thou made me thus? HATH NOT THE POTTER POWER OVER THE CLAY, of the same LUMP to make one VESSEL unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the VESSELS of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the VESSELS of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?" (Romans 9:19-24)
You may think I'm just being cute here, but I assure you, I'm not. I'm being biblical. A robot is programmed or remote-controlled into action. This cannot be true of us. If it were, God would be the author of sin, which we commit on a daily basis.
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." (James 1:13)
The fact is (don't faint now) we are all "free agents". Notice that I did not say we have a free will, but rather, we have free agency.
Free Will: the ability to make choices without any prior prejudice, inclination, or disposition. The natural capacity of the human will to make free moral decisions.
Free Agency: by a free and responsible agent we mean an intelligent person who acts with rational self-determination.
So, why free agency instead of free will? Because the Scriptures make it clear that we DO NOT "make choices without any prior prejudice, inclination, or disposition":
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3:10-12)
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)
We are sinners by birth and by choice. All of us are warped by our sin nature. This nature keeps us from desiring God or anything that involves God. Without the salvation of God, we are LITERALLY by nature the children of wrath (as Ephesians 2:3 puts it). Without God, our sin nature inclines us to sin continually and stay far away from God; with God, the Holy Spirit in the believer inclines him/her to seek God and glorify God with his/her life. Within these confines, a believer, and an unbeliever, can make "rational self-determination". This is free agency.
So no, we ARE NOT ROBOTS. We are CLAY. With that clay, God makes vessels unto honour (those He has chosen unto salvation), and vessels unto dishonour (those He has left in their sin nature). Each group does exactly what they WANT TO DO. One wants to sin, the other wants to live for God. Their wills are directed by their natures.
Finally, let us be clear, no one operates independently of God. NO ONE! Our lives, like everything else in Creation are under the sovereign control of God and exist for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God.
"The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." (Proverbs 16:4)
"For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another." (Isaiah 48:9-11)
This is my God! The God of the Bible. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and SOVEREIGN over ALL His Creation, and that includes a vessel called RAND.