The debate regarding free will rages within the Church as well as without it. There are those in the faith who maintain that because God is all powerful and all knowing, all that happens in the world is just as He wills it to happen. For example, if someone gets healed, He selected them to be healed. If they stay sick, it is His will that they suffer with that sickness. This is not quite the picture of a loving good God. Moreover, there are those on the outside who also give this argument as evidence that if Christians are indeed serving God, they do not serve a good God.
Whether it is a Christian or a non-Christian arguing that there can be no true freedom if an all powerful all knowing God exists, it still boils down to is God truly a Father or is He merely an all powerful Puppeteer holding all the strings of every life situation?
We have to explore the character and nature of God. In our culture, we often have aversion to authority figures especially that of the father. Many of us cannot relate to the idea of a loving father for in the natural we have not experienced it, and if God is a Father we think Him to be as controlling and demanding as natural authority figures. We think that if He has all power and all knowledge then all that happens is either His fault or He isn’t really all powerful, and, in reality, a figment of our imagination. There is a third option. He is all loving and all powerful, but He restrains His will to give us freedom. Or, rather, He does not impose His will upon us even though He could if it were not against His nature as a loving good Father. His power to assume the strings of our lives is trumped by His lovingly granting us the freedom to exert our own volition.
How could an all powerful and all knowing God be good and not run a utopian society for His people He claims to love? He is capable of creating such a utopian life for the world. Obviously this world is far from utopian. Just the same we desire a life of peace and love. Most of us believe things ought to be better, but where does this ideal “better” come from?
God did create a utopia, an
Our relationship with God is analogous to the union of a man and woman in marriage. They become one, bound tightly together in an intimate relationship. If God were to allow sinful man into this intimate relationship with Him it would be harmful to man because of the extreme holiness of God. God protected mankind by having him exit
Even though man used his freedom in a way that was to his own detriment, God did not give up on His creation. He already had in place the redemption of man. The debt of man to sin is great, but God had set in motion the coming of His own Son as the greatest sacrifice of love in all eternity to pay our debt for us with His sinless life. God demonstrated His continued love for man, by sending His son, while we were yet undeserving sinners--only deserving of the just judgment and eternal separation from God. By the work done on the cross by the Son of God and His resurrection, we can have anew a wondrous relationship with the living God for our sins are forgiven and we are made holy as He is holy. He has cleansed us from all unrighteousness and redeemed us to live a life as heirs with His Son.
God continues to relate to us as a Father and does not usurp our will. We can freely surrender our will to His perfect will or we can hold on to it and go our own path as Adam did. The choice is still ours. We can still freely walk away from His gift of eternal life in Him and the full grand reality of His Kingdom. Or we can trust Him and come under alignment with His perfect Fathering and rest in His love for all eternity.
Can God rule the world with an iron fist and only have His will be done on earth? Yes. Does He do it this way? No. Because He is, by nature, eternally a good Father and good Fathers don’t usurp the will of their children, but they lead gently and show the way by example. He gave us His son as the perfect example of the life available to us. We can choose Him or we can reject Him. The world today is a reflection of a world that is not in alignment with Him. He has given those who are in alignment with Him the authority and the mandate to usher His Kingdom into the world so that that utopia we all desire one day comes to fruition. However, it will only be a utopia to those who are in Him, to those who reject Him they won’t fit in His Kingdom because they cling to their own will over and above the will of the good King who wants them to know His love.
C.S. Lewis puts it best when he said that one day each of us will either tell God “Your will be done” or He will tell us “your will be done.”