The Purpose of Free Will

free-will

Photo from reclaimingthemind.org

What is the purpose of free will?

When I was new to Christianity, I’ve wondered why God gave us free will in the first place. If God wants us all to be good, why did he give us the freedom to decide between right and wrong? Being God, he could just have compelled us to follow him whether we want to or not.

In his book Mere Christianity, I like how C.S Lewis put it. “Free will, though it makes evil possible, is the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automa- of creatures that worked like machines-would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for his higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared to with which the most rapturous love between a man and woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free. Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently he thought it worth the risk. Satan’s lie is in having us believe we can be happy apart from God. It is only in being united fully with God that we can achieve real and lasting happiness. The reason why we can never find happiness apart from God is because God invented us. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn on. There is no other. That is why it is no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without Him. God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

Yes, God can compel us to follow him. But he has chosen not to. He wants it to be our choice.

According to most philosophers, God in making the world enslaved it. According to Christianity, in making it, He set it free. God had written, not so much a poem, but rather a play; a play he had planned as perfect, but which had necessarily been left to human actors and stage-managers, who had since made a great mess of it.” -G.K Chesterton

God has given us the freedom to either follow him or follow ourselves. I’ve chosen to follow Jesus because I know that apart from him, there is nothing. But with him, I have all I’ll ever need. Everything else is just a bonus. He is enough.

What about you? You alone get to decide who to follow. God or self.

What is your choice?

-Alex

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