FBCJ Feature Article: WHOSE WILL?
Will is a term that is often preceded by the word “free.” And confusingly, determinists deny its existence, compatibilists redefine it and libertarians wholeheartedly affirm its existence. Libertarians believe will is free when alternative choices could have been made with the same pre-existing conditions. They aspire to the truth they are free from the determination or constraints of human nature and free from any predetermination by God. Two questions must be addressed (a) if it exists, how free is the will which men perceive they have? And (b) is there a free will more dominant that another?
Free is a spiritual perspective, will is wishing, desiring, or choosing especially in reference to the will of God. In the John gospel, Jesus is said to be acting not according to His own will, but according to the will of the heavenly Father (John 5:30; 6:38). Further John states in John 4:34, that doing the will of the Father is Jesus’ nourishment, and Jesus does nothing apart from the Father’s will (John 5:19). Luke confirms this when he quotes Jesus’ statement in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Father, if it is your will, remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). And we are taught in the prayer of Matthew 6:10 “thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”
So if it is all about our “free will,” what do we do with God’s will? The Bible describes God as sovereign, and His sovereignty designates control of all of creation. The sphere of His sovereignty is declared in Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Paul in Romans 9 uses the image of the potter and the clay and Jeremiah 18 stated that the potter can do what He will with the clay. And for those who hold the Bible and its truths the highest standard of determining human issues, 2 Peter 1:21 state that “the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” We have the will of man, the will of leaders and the will of God. Which do you think is more meritorious and deserves the fondest obedience?