Life { Faith } Tea

and ramblings on everything in between

The Free Will Battle

The free will battle comes up frequently. Are we really in control of our destiny? Do we really have choices in life? Is everything predestined for us no matter how much we believe we’re in control?

I’m positive you’ve had a few conversations – or internal struggles – regarding this concept as well.

Reading 1 Samuel, a verse popped out to me that I had never noticed before. A verse that holds significant weight, and for me, puts the free will battle to rest. Not even a whole verse – merely two words.

“And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.”
{ 1 Samuel 15:35b }

At first I was shocked to realize God has regrets. That didn’t seem fathomable to me. If God is all knowing and all seeing and all powerful, how can He make a bad decision? I mulled over this for a few days, it bothered me so much. My inclination was to wonder, How much more does God regret?

All I had to do was flip a few pages into the Bible to find out.

“So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created – and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground – for I regret that I have made them.’”
{ Genesis 6:7 }

How many times have I read the Bible without remembering this verse? Not even the verse –the word regret. It shocked me. Then I realized I was coming at the problem from the wrong angle.

I assumed it meant God made the wrong decision – but my thinking was backwards. Saul was the one who made the wrong decision in 1 Samuel. And humanity made the wrong decision in Genesis. God selected Saul to serve as king of Israel after the people rejected God and asked for a king to be appointed over them. Then he used his power for evil. God created man to care for the earth and all of His creations. Then man chose sin over righteousness.

These decisions are what caused the Lord to experience regret.

How can God have regrets if He calls every shot?

If God has pre-planned our every move, there wouldn’t be a need for regret – because God never makes mistakes.

“As for God, His way is perfect.”
{ 2 Samuel 22:31 }

“Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.”
{ Psalm 147:5 }

He wouldn’t falter if He determined each and every step for each and every one of us.

However, if we have free will, how we use the resources we’re given, the power we’re given, and the life we’re given is ultimately up to us. God won’t force us to believe in Him or to accept that His son died on the cross for us. He won’t make us love Him. These are all choices and decision we must make on our own. Likewise, God will guide us and encourage us toward the way He wants us to go, but we can easily turn our back and walk the other way.

Because we have free will.

We’re not pawns in a master game of chess. We’re not puppets on a string. We’re amazingly complex souls who have the opportunity to choose.

For more on this topic, check out Does God Make Mistakes? over at Life Hope & Truth.

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This entry was posted on June 23, 2016 by in Bible, Faith, God and tagged , , , .

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