Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Does sin explain why people don't use their free will that much?

"Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." - John 8:34-36.

Two interesting facts:

1) We have a very strong, gut feeling that we have free will.
2) It often seems that hardly anyone uses it. Most of the time our personalities don't change throughout our life in very significant ways... we usually choose the same way.

Think about it. If you're an introvert you probably don't feel you could suddenly decide to become a very outgoing person. If you have a short-temper you probably don't feel like you could flick a switch and become very calm in all situations.

Yet we feel we have this thing called 'free will', which should ideally allow us to do what I've just described. If free will is true, then we should be able to change our personality if we feel like it, and choose to do anything physically possible for us. But even though we feel that we have this power, we hardly ever change/use it. The person who starts off liking certain choices will probably stay that way regarding most of them.

I think that the reason why we find it hard to change comes from sin.

How so?

Well to begin with, the greatest commandment is that you should 'love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind'. This is basically saying that we should love and serve God with every fibre of our being.

Now, if you were doing this, it wouldn't detract from your freedom at all. Because God is good, and honours our free will, it would basically mean that you never sin. It wouldn't actually detract from your freedom in any other area, except you would not sin. Your personality would actually stay the same, except regarding the areas where your personality is morally flawed.

Now, if you followed this greatest commandment, you could really exercise your free will. You could always make the choices you know are the best. How? Well, by loving God with such a great love, you would only do what God wanted. So you could say to God 'Today I feel like making such-and-such choices', and God would say 'That's what I want for you then' and you would do it, because you would prioritise God's will with infinite importance.

That would enable someone to easily make whatever choices they wanted (apart from sinful ones) very easily; instantly.

Maybe this is the 'default' setting for the people that God creates in His image. In the 'default' setting we have free will and we use it. If anyone chooses a certain way, it's because that's how they genuinely want to be.

It's ONLY due to our fallen, sinful nature that we get 'locked into' certain choices. So it's ONLY because of our sin that we have the phenomenon where someone is addicted to something and can't break out, and so on. Or someone can't change in a way they want to change. That's not something that 'naturally' comes with free will, but can only come with free will + our fallen nature. That's why it sometimes seems as though people don't have free will even though we all do.

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