A fellow I’ve corresponded with on Facebook gave me a link to bible verses he claimed supported the idea of free will. I’m bored, so I went through and looked at all of them. My usual readers will recognize quite a bit of this, no reason to waste your time again.
Okay, let’s look at these verses that are claimed to support free will. They may even do so, but then they contradict all of the verses that have this god interfering with human action, destroying free will.
I’ve added some of the context to some of these if appropriate. One has to wonder about the Biblestudytools.com staff if they think all of these verses support the idea of free will. They do list some of those verses that indicate predestination but not all. In my opinion, one can get a far more comprehensive listing of verses by subject out at openbible.info
1 Corinthians 10:13
“13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
Nothing in this about free will. It’s also a great verse to show how this bible lies when it says that this god won’t test people beyond their strength. Christian suicides show this to be false. Of course, Christians will always blame the victim to excuse their god.
Unsurprisingly, a little earlier in the chapter, in context, has Paul claiming that the Israelites were just examples made for Christians. “6 Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. “ This destroys free will when someone was forced to do something for someone else’s benefit as part of a *plan*. This matches what Paul states in Romans 9 that pots are used to be examples and to be destroyed.
2 Chronicles 9:7
“7 Happy are your people! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom!”
Nothing in this about free will. Servants are under control. This is the queen of Sheba speaking to Solomon. No evidence that Solomon ever existed or that this story is true. The amounts of gold and other precious things are quite ridiculous (42 tons of gold? aka 666 talents), and funny how they all simply vanished. For the world’s wisest man, the kingdoms in that area contributed nothing of note to the knowledge of the sciences.
Not doing so well so far.
2 Peter 3:9
“9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.”
Ah, we’re getting closer now. There still is the problem of the claim of a plan by this god, which requires no free will since with free choice the plan cannot be assured of coming to fruition. 2 Peter is a pseudoepigraph, falsely attributed to the apostle Peter 2 Peter (earlychristianwritings.com) That it contradicts other parts of the bible isn’t surprising considering that many scholars see gnostic influences in it, showing it was written long after any supposed Jesus events.
“13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.”
Again, nothing about free will. This reflects Paul’s claims that believers were already chosen by this god and allowed to accept it, having been called. Earlier in the chapter, in context, Paul mentions grace again, where we know from Romans that grace is what Paul means when he says this god already chose who could accept it and then damned the rest as an object lesson. “4 You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”
“17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
The verse differs a little from the one I see in the NRSV.
“17 Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 18 Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.”
In this again, we don’t see free will, especially in the second version where it has believers already knowing about what JC says. We see that believers are already able to know teachings, which again indicates that what JC says in Matthew 13 that only certain people are allowed to accept this god and again is reflected in what Paul claims. Small changes in translation make big theological differences.
“14 “Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.””
This is the strongest verse to indicate free will in the bible. Considering how Christians are never sure if they want to admit that OT is in play or not, this presents them a problem since the NT doesn’t mention free will as a possibility and many Christians try to claim that there is a new covenant that they follow, not having to pay attention to the inconvenient laws in the OT.
There is also the problem that earlier in Joshua we see this god destroying free will for humans “20 For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts so that they would come against Israel in battle, in order that they might be utterly destroyed, and might receive no mercy, but be exterminated, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.” Joshua 11
If this god destroys free will here, that causes a ripple effect where any event coming from this one was interfered with too.
“34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. “
This is also not a bad one for free will. It indicates a choice can be made. However, Jesus contradict himself in the other gospels e.g. Matthew 13. This chapter in Mark is also just fun to read since it contradicts so many other things, like what Jesus claims in John about being God, etc. since we have the author of Mark insisting that JC wants everything to be a secret and the disciples are amazingly dumb
“The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.”
Again, nothing about free will and it shows that this god moves people around like chess pieces. We also have this earlier in the chapter “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” Again supporting JC and Paul in the claims of how this god does not allow free will. Here’s another verse from the same chapter, and this god still imposes its will on others “When the ways of people please the Lord, he causes even their enemies to be at peace with them.” And finally “The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is the Lord’s alone.”
“ 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come into you and eat with you, and you with me. “
Nothing about free will. Per JC and Paul, no one will be able to hear JC if they aren’t already chosen.
“23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing about free will. As Paul states in Romans 9, this god gives the ability to accept to some and damns those it didn’t chose for no reason of their own. It also doesn’t work very well when a verse in the same chapter refers to people as slaves when you are trying to make an argument for free will “22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life.”
“13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. “
Nothing about free will. It does have that God has appointed everything, so there is no opportunity for choice. This chapter also poses a problem for Christians who don’t like a particular government since there are no exceptions. This does not refute what Paul and JC have claimed about this god having already chosen people.
“8 But what does it say?“The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. “
Nothing about free will. Only what happens if you believe, not how you come to believe. Now, there is a better verse for free will in this chapter “7 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” But it does contradict what Paul has claimed before in the prior chapter.
Galatians 5: 16-17
“16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
This differs again a bit with theological implications:
“16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.”
The list returns to Galatians and still it has nothing about free will. Indeed, it says that there is no free will since this god has arranged it that there is something to prevent people from doing what they want.
“16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.””
Nothing about free will. There is literally a limit placed by this god on what someone can do, not to mention a lie from this god.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
Again, a not bad verse for free will. However, it still has the same problems for Christian who want to ignore the OT and that it contradicts other verses.
“12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
Nothing about free will. Again, we see the reference to grace e.g. this god’s choosing of people who it will allow to accept it and then damn the rest for no fault of their own.
“15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
Nothing about free will. We have this god claiming that it has already set two paths, and the choice is death or not. This is not free will.
“30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.”
Nothing about free will. Again, we have this god threatening death for not obeying him. Earlier in this chapter we have this god promising that everyone will be judged on their own actions, but that never happened to David’s son, when this god did exactly as it says it wouldn’t.
well, that’s enough for today. Happily, I have a new job that I am really looking forward to, though I have to wait a couple of weeks to be onboarded.