Thursday, November 28, 2013

What Is Freewill?

Freewill is a description of volitional power which God, alone, has perfectly. He does as he pleases without disability or mitigation. He can do a thing or not do it.

When God created the heavens and earth and all that lives therein, he made a freewill choice to have that creation reflect himself, and in particular for man to resemble himself. To that end, he gave mankind a physical body made of the stuff that everything else was made of, including everything else living, and infused it with a spiritual animus that made mankind uniquely, specially in his image. Whatever a soul is (and I'm certain we really don't know what that is), it is something that came into being when the breath (spirit) of God was infused into the corpus of man.

It is that ethereal thing, the soul, which expresses itself through a physical being made for it, which makes a healthy human being a reflector of God's freewill and an expresser of it in its own accord. While an individual is in a body, that individual is beholden to that body for its expression of its soulish being. If a brain is damaged, malformed, underdeveloped, diseased or afflicted, the soulish power of freewill will be affected in its expression. God has created man as a discrete singularity made of body, soul and spirit, so that as the body goes, so goes the expression of soulish personhood.

A soul without a properly functioning brain will not express in the physical world the freewill it otherwise has the innate ability to. Without a body a soul is not a complete human, which is reflected, I think, in the crying out under the altar of those martyred souls in Revelation (and the fact that we get new bodies for eternity). When a person is intact and healthy, the existence of his or her soul, is what gives that person the capacity to express freewill. There are limits, of course, the most obvious being the physical laws of the universe, and what is more important in my opinion, the law of Spirit.

The Law of the Spirit determines the ability of the soul to express itself in harmony with God. After the Fall of Adam and Eve, spiritual death, or separation between man and the Spirit of God, was imposed upon mankind. Whatever sort of resting place the soul had been made to be for the breath of God, its connection to the breath of God was broken at that time and so freewill in mankind was incapable of willing in harmony with God. After Jesus rose from the dead and made the Spirit available to those who follow him, the born again have by that rebirth a renewed ability to will freely in harmony with God (though the not perfectly so long as they are in dying bodies).

So what is freewill? It is the volitional power human beings possess, which, among other things, allows them to be the expression of the image of God who possesses freewill in its ultimate sense. Though a soulish quality, it is communicated in the physical world through the auspices of the physical being (particularly, the brain). Natural human beings have no ability to express that capacity in line with God, supernatural human beings (the regenerated) have some capacity to, eternal human beings will be able to perfectly.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Existence of Freewill

Having invoked its creation, God governs the universe by sustaining its existence and allowing it to operate on principles of action he infused in it upon creating it. He guides its operations in time to an end he's fashioned and foreseen. He is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made, but his will is not the only one operational, nor the only one influential in the unfolding of things. At least some angels and virtually all humans also exert their wills in the mix of things unfolding, with their ability to will autonomously being the very will of God.

If determinism is actually how God expresses his sovereignty, then God engineered the plan for history before the beginning of time, wound up the spring at the beginning, and then sat back and let it unwind. To some extent this has to be true, because the effort made to establish energy and mass along with the principles of action that governs their interaction were finished by the end the sixth day of the creation week. Since then, things have generally proceeded on the basis of what was initiated and infused back then. Determinism is accurately descriptive of such governance.

Life, however, throws a wrench into the works, particularly conscious life. Mankind, and at least some of the angels, have the conscious power of choice (will) which, when exerted, affects the details of what happens to stuff in the universe. Life may not be able to change the the spinning of galaxies, but it can affect where the molecules that make up a loaf of bread (or even a mountain) end up today, and whether or not a life continues today. God, of course, can always intervene and interdict such choices, but they are real choices nonetheless, made by sentient beings by allowance under God's sovereignty.

The God who created all things is not under necessity, not determined in his action, but free to do as he pleases, whether this or that. Freewill is not an illusion, then, but the very substance of divine power and attributes which are, in turn, reflected in creation. Freewill exists in nature because God, nature's maker, has freewill and nature reflects his attributes. For freewill to not actually exist in nature would be for nature to fail to reflect a defining attribute of the Sovereign God who created it.

Friday, November 8, 2013


“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?"  (Luke 6:46 NASB)

Hypergrace is an approach to God's favor in which acceptance and love are extended from God to the believer without any expectation or demand. Under such a view, Christ's work on the cross, which secured salvation, ended any need for such from the one trusting in Christ. It sounds absolutely heavenly to those who've labored under a regimen of works-righteousness, and is a deal too good to pass up on for those who just don't want any urgency or intensity to be required in responding to God. No one wants to go to hell, after all, but is grace of this sort actually available?

If it is taught in the scripture, then it certainly is. So, is it taught there? Not in the least!  Hypergrace is a doctrine which cannot float in light of scripture.

It springs a leak in the Sermon on the Mount.

It takes on water in Romans 12.

It searches frantically for life jackets in Ephesians.

It gurgles the death throes of the drowning in the book of James.

It sinks to the bottom in the Letters to the Churches in Revelation.

[Not to mention how this, this and this crush it's sunken corpse into nothingness]

Hypergrace is for the lazy at heart and the blind of mind. It is for those lost in the childishness of sin--wanting their cake and to eat it too--rather than those surrendered in a child-like faith to following Christ. I've heard its proponents protest that they've never "felt closer" to God than when they've embraced this teaching. But the Gospel is never said to be efficacious through the auspices of what one feels, but only through faith in who Jesus is and what he's done.

Grace describes the attitude of God's heart, a kindness there that breaks the sinner free from the bondage of death and releases him or her into the freedom of new life in Christ Jesus. This grace is never an excuse for sin, nor does it forgive sin as if it did not truly matter after all. Grace forgives sin through an expiating sacrifice of sinless blood that it moved God to provide. God's grace is more than sufficient to deliver the broken and dying sinner through a stumbling journey in life to eternity with him, but is never a substitute for following him as Lord.

If hypergrace actually represents the way God looks on man, and the way man should look on God, then I submit that there was actually no need for the cross and there is no present need for faith.