From a lady-visitor to GoedBericht.nl I received the following email:
With great interest I have been reading your site, already for a few months. You write about free will: we do not have one, God determines everything. But I was wondering to what extent we also do not have a free will with respect to everyday things: I do choose to wear green or blue clothes, drink cola or orange juice. Or does God determine that too? Where is the boundary-line? Small things, we determine; bigger things, God determines? Who decides what is big or small?
2nd question: what about someone who is a psychopath? Did God also determine that? Does man still have any responsibility? People can, then, so easily say: God has decided for me that I am to be a prostitute / psychopath, or something similar.
Knowing that GOD has everything in hand and never encounters surprises is awesome and provides wonderful peace. So many people, even though they call themselves religious or Christian, do not know GOD (really). That is, they do not accept that there is ONE who determines everything and places everything. The word “everything”, in this connection, is crucial. Erase that and you are moving into the fogs of polytheism. If God does not decide EVERYTHING, there would, consequently, be areas where not He, but others have control. That’s the idea behind the so-called ‘free will’. That a person, without coercion, and voluntarily makes choices (e.g. wearing green or blue clothes, drink cola or orange juice) is beyond dispute. But that is not what the doctrine of free will is. This theory assumes that a creature, outside and apart from the Creator, can make a choice.
An undoubtedly sympathetic motive behind the doctrine of free will is that it seeks to exonerate God from, e.g., atrocities that people inflict on each other. But how ever sympathetically intentioned, they forget one thing: NOBODY has created himself.
You haven’t, I haven’t, Hitler hasn’t, Dutroux hasn’t and neither has Satan. What we all have in common is that we are creatures. We are the sum total of billions of factors that have made us what we are and do; from the very beginning, in the formation of our DNA in the womb, to all those impressions and experiences we gain throughout our lives. And it’s true: certain conditions or experiences can deform us for life. As a prominent member of Scotland Yard said in his farewell:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my career, it is that every criminal, himself, turns out to be a victim.
But if man is merely clay in the hand of the Potter, is everything that happens God’s will? No, that is a big misconception, that time and again, is raised and concerning which the apostle Paul, in Romans 9, explicitly comments. He cites the example of Moses, who on behalf of God, had to say to Pharaoh: “Let my people go.” That was God’s will. And Pharaoh had to obey that. But he did not, as was already foretold in advance (Ex.4:21). And when Pharaoh, under pressure from plagues seemed to crumble, it was God, Himself, Who hardened (or reinforced) his heart to keep saying ‘no’. So it was (behind the scenes), GOD Himself, Who motivated an unwilling Pharaoh His plan to fulfill. Then naturally the question arises:
Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
Romans 9:19 (KJV)
The word “will” here, is certainly not correct. The Greek word is not thelema (=will), but boulema, that is, counsel or intention. Pharaoh resisted God’s will but not God’s counsel or intention. The latter is, by definition, impossible.
Yahweh has made EVERYTHING for its own pertinent end, Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Is this an excuse for the ungodly to maintain his practices. No, because who doesn’t want to listen to God’s revealed will, has nothing to do with God’s hidden intentions. But is God then “responsible”‘ for wicked acts and atrocities? No, the concept of responsibility does not fit with God; as if the Potter would be required to give account to His own creations (Rom.9:20). God bears not “blame” for how his creatures are or for what they do. It is exactly the opposite: He will receive the honor for the end result! God’s work is not finished, as yet (for a long time). There are eons to come before that happens. And until that time, man has to suspend his judgment about GOD. It is pure short-sightedness and prejudice from which he would speak. Everything will rhyme… at the end. Even Pharaoh will eventually bend his knees, gratefully, and to the glory of God, the Father will acknowledge: YAHWEH is Savior (=Jesus; Phil.2:9-11)!
Translation: Peter Feddema