Feeble Knees

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Do We Really Have Free Will?

In response to Jollyblogger's recent post Total Depravity and Free Will, Adrian Warnock posits that there is no such thing as a truly free will. This is all very interesting and I've been trying to get my head around it since yesterday.

Is it possible that we're confusing one's will with one's ability? It seems to be a fine line to me. It can be my will to see the top of a mountain, how I get there is irrelevant. I can will myself to fly, but whether that is by sprouting wings or boarding a Virgin Atlantic jet is immaterial. My will to fly is still there, even if I'm wingless and too poor to purchase an airline ticket. So the fact that my ability to act upon my will may be limited by the laws of physics or my economic situation does not limit my ability to want, think or believe something.

God is not restricted to operate within the laws of physics or a mortal nature. We are. Insofar as we are not able to do what we would like (i.e. sprout wings), we are limited, yes. But the limitations of the physical and natural world don't bind our minds or our thoughts.
As I was mulling all this over and trying to sort through my thoughts, Adrian posted this followup with a quote from Grudem that is worth noting:

But we are nonetheless free in the greatest sense that any creature of God could be free—we make willing choices, choices that have real effects. We are aware of no restraints on our will from God when we make decisions. We must insist that we have the power of willing choice; otherwise we will fall into the error of fatalism or determinism and thus conclude that our choices do not matter, or that we cannot really make willing choices.
This was exactly the point that I was hoping to make in response to Adrian's first post, but it wasn't coming out as eloquently as this!
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