Saturday, March 5, 2011

Free-Will and God's Judgment

It is interesting that in all the controversy over free-will and those who say "God can't violate free-will" while they deny that the will is bound to sin never mention passages like Exodus 15:9ff. Did the Egyptians bound in their sin desire to kill the Israelites? Was that not their free-will in rebellion to God? Did God step in and intervene them from getting their way? If he didn't intervene the whole plan of redemption is derailed. 

Likewise if God's reign does not intrude into human hearts--light shine in the darkness; the plan of redemption is derailed. It really isn't a plan, its a crap shoot. Is that the kind of King and Warrior (Exodus 15:3) we want? At the heart of the issue is does God reign? Is God sovereign? (Exodus 15:18, et al). Do we have a God who is greater than us and can condescend and intervene according to His will-- or has He wound creation up like a watch and let it run so that He can protect free-will? If free-will is going to be consistently free then we'd better start holding a deist view of God, otherwise at some point men don't get their 'free-will'. 

I guess what I am getting at is that if God can intervene against man's bound-to-sin-will and bring judgment (as any Arminian would I hope acknowledge), why can He not intervene against man's bound-to-sin-will and bring redemption? 

What are we really safeguarding to trump redemption with 'free-will' except an idol? In some schemes of redemption there is more zeal to protect the freedom of man than to protect the freedom of God. The question arises: who is the ultimate being?

Will 'judgment' be the next thing to go for those who are logically consistent? In some circles it is indeed the thing that has been thrown out. I recognize that the view of many is that there are all these people out their just 'dying' to come to God and desiring that with all their heart and so the Arminian feels the need to protect these 'desires'. Of course, that is not the Biblical picture. The Biblical picture is that the will is so bound to sin that its consistent and habitual desire is to rebel against God.

When we think of God and man we are not supposed to think of them as equals on any level, this includes how we think of God's will/freedom and man's will/freedom. This is why the Biblical portrait holds that God is sovereign over all things and man is responsible for his actions. His actions are not coerced (as in fatalism) but neither are his actions independent of any plan, purpose or will of God (as in libertarian views of freedom). 

I guess that sad irony is that if we really understand God's History-of-redemption (salvation-history), the inbreaking of redemption in the cross and what is accomplished there is just as much eschatological as the judgment of sin (worked out in the famous "already-not yet"). It is unfortunate that some would give God freedom in the latter and not in the former. So God’s reigns in some things and not in others. 

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"The Voyages..." Forays into Biblical studies, Biblical exegesis, theology, exposition, life, and occasionally some Star Trek...