There are those who say that we have lost free will. They say that Adam yielded it to Satan back in the garden when he wrongly exercised it. But think about that — what good would it have been for Adam to have free will if it was not exercisable? Free will is a great conundrum — Why would I say that?
God initiated man’s free will in the garden, and yes, He knew that man would fall as a result. Because obviously along with free will there must be good and bad choices. Since man is a product of his decisions in life, it only took one really bad decision to lose what had been paradise on earth over which he had complete dominion.
That one wrong decision put mankind into bondage in an earth ruled by man’s enemy. So has man forfeited totally his free will to Satan, who scripture says is the ruler of this world? Adam certainly forfeited dominion over the world. He even forfeited his own life, bringing upon it death. So, In a sense yes freedom was forfeited, but was free will a part of that. Man has become a victim of Satan’s involvement in this world, and to a degree a victim of his circumstance which has Satanic influence, with few exceptions — man has the freedom of choice to 1. Change his circumstance; 2. Change his relationships; 3. Change his allegiance from a god to the God of all creation.
Satan can as the god of this world impact all of these areas. God also intervenes in these areas. Each for his own purposes.
We have often heard that the only prayer honored by God is man’s crying out to Jesus for salvation. But certainly before Jesus came God was honoring man’s outcry for forgiveness for his disobedience toward God. So what we hear must not be totally true. Naaman was from Aram, a heathen nation. He had Leprosy. He was told by a captured Jewish servant girl, through his wife, about the prophet from Israel, who could bring healing to him (2 Kings 5).
Naaman was asked by the Prophet to do a foolish thing in the eyes of man — go and dip 7 times in the river Jordon. WHAT? He had to have been thinking — even my servants will think me silly, but one encouraged him (God’s prompting).
The recorded account reveals that Naaman finally through His own decision sought to change his circumstance by acting on what he had heard. God granted him healing through even what was his reluctant obedience, and because he did he became a believer in Israel’s God. In fact his reluctance reveals his free will. Even the requirement by the prophet proves free will, because it proves that God wants men who are willing to look foolish to the world to serve Him. Naaman was in what the prophet Joel calls the valley of decision. One right decision can lead one to God, and one wrong decision can lead to final destruction. Generally there are a series of right or wrong decisions that will lead us to faith in God or denial of His existence.
True there are plenty who have come to recognize Him as God, but who refuse to honor Him. But this is still their decision. And yes God does intervene within the circumstances of man in order to influence our decisions, but He does not make them for us.
Several things convince me of free will over total predestination as some believe predestination to be. Several things must be considered when seeking for truth concerning predestination.
1.Either Adam had free will or God controlled the circumstance to the extent that he had no other choice. Would this not make God rather than Adam responsible for Adams sin and consequently ours?
2. The word says that God is no respecter of persons. If man individually is predestined to hell before man is ever born, would that then make some of the scriptures untrue?
3. Jesus prayed to His Father from the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. If these men were predestined to do what they did with no opportunity to repent, why did Jesus pray this? Would this prayer not then be against the Fathers will? In other words God may have blinded them or some of them for the season necessary to accomplish his purpose, but Jesus wanted even the blinded forgiven, but obviously they could not be absolved of their sin against Him if they did not seek His forgiveness. To be forgiven is meaningless to the offender if they do not seek forgiveness on their own. This would be an exercise of free will.
4.And finally and this carries close relationship to number three. God wants all men to be saved. How could this be if He personally has already destined some of them to Hell?
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 NASB
So just what did God predestine before the foundation of the earth? This is my opinion understand, but it seems to me that He decided before creation to save those in Christ Jesus, and to damn those who are not in Christ.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “ Uncircumcision” by the so-called “ Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:1-13 NASB
For further understanding on this topic, you might want to read my posting “The Book of Life are You in It?” Posted on Dec 15, 2017. God bless you as you study.