Free will is one of those topics that has led to much conversation and debate among the Body of Christ as well as non-believers. The idea that an all-loving God would place His creation in the midst of tribulation, danger, and most of all, temptation, is a concept that confounds many. Many Pastors have been confronted with this challenging subject.
I have been working with children for 10 years and in my experience, I have been proposed various questions that sometimes exceed the norm. There was a young woman who asked me why God would place a tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden if He knew about the damage it would cause to humanity. I had to remind myself at this point that a slow and well thought out response is better then a swift reply in ignorance. I told her to give me some time and I’d get back with her.
The question was indeed challenging and it led me to seek counsel from God as to why such a tree would be present if indeed it’s fruit was not to be consumed. This question caused me to go back to the creation of man itself. Adam and Eve were created perfect in all ways. The bible says that they were indeed made in God’s image. This in no way is attributed to how they looked, but more about their ability to rationalize, make judgments, and most of all, their ability to choose. When the serpent told Eve that her eyes would be opened after eating the fruit and that she’d be like God discerning good and evil, he wasn’t saying that they were physically blind. They were only blind in the sense that they did not know evil.
Adam and Eve only knew good. If there was no alternative present then they could only do good because evil didn’t exist to them. In short, they would not have the ability to choose to serve God because all they would know is good. Love always offers a choice. Imagine if before you had a child and you had the ability to see everything that would happen in his or her life. In an attempt to prevent that child from encountering danger and bad decisions, many of us would opt to take that ability to choose away from the child.
In doing so, we would not be acting out of love but out of selfishness. God is sovereign and even though He has the power to make us choose Him, He allows us a choice. Love does not force.
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
What catches my attention is, “seeketh not her own.” This means that love is not self-seeking and considers the recipient more than self. God loves us so much, He gave us the ability to choose. Murder, calamity, hate, and death are all attributed to the choice that man-made for himself. God did not set these things in order. The human race is responsible for the condition that this world is in. Free will and God’s foreknowledge go hand-in-hand. Imagine driving down a one-way street and coming to a fork in the road. There are multiple paths present and ultimately you have the ability to choose which one you’ll take. Regardless of what turn you choose, God already knows which you’ll embark on but He doesn’t alter your ability to choose. God is love and love presents a choice.