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Free will?

April 27, 2007

How free is free will? How much do different variables shape us? Recently I have been thinking about predestination as Paul talks about it in Romans. I think we have often spiritualized the concept of predestination to who is in or out and what does that mean and I think the discussion often misses the point.

I have read several different articles lately and what has struck me is how predictable are free will is. This link is to an article in the USATODAY about pricing. What do you think about the article? How free is our will if a computer program can predict it?

Unfortunately this often becomes a theological discussion about who is in and who is out and who can say they want to be saved and who can’t but it would seem that we humans are starting to figure out exactly what Paul intended. We are predictable. No one needs to control us or tell us what to do but guess what without being controlled we act in certain ways that these companies have figured out and now they are being used to sell us shoes and pasta.

It would seem that this gives us the foundation to understand what Paul was trying to say and possible to clean up some misconceptions about the idea of predestination.

The other article I read was dealing with our personality and how much of our basic nature is hardwired from the beginning. One good example with me is organization. I am disorganized and always have been. When I worked in corporate America it was always something that came up in my reviews, be more organized. Guess what, it will be with me until the day I die. I am predestined to be disorganized.

What is so bad about that? I can be more organized but I will never be as organized as others. I know of people who have their office set up just so and to move an item is to risk death, I won’t ever be like them. I wasn’t made that way.

What do you think?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim Sexton permalink
    April 27, 2007 9:59 pm

    OK… when I was a kid, the #10 bus stopped at my street corner regularly, every day. It had a predetermined course and that bus made it’s trip without fail to that destination.

    I had the ‘free will’ choice to get on the bus or not. I also had the same ‘free will’ choice to get on any one of a number of other buses that took me elsewhere, also predestined directions. I ‘freely’ chose the one that took me where I wanted to go.

    The church is the called-out, predestined, going home to God (wanna come too?), vehicle that takes us to Him. It is my own ‘free-will’ choice to go with God or take another route to another place (not heaven).

    I don’t see why people get all up in arms about this topic. It isn’t me who is predestined, although God knows what choice I will make before I make it, it is the church. I hope this isn’t over simplified, but to me it is a no brainer…

    Oh yeah… Jesus is the free bus token! He paid my way and all I need to do is get on the bus.


  2. April 28, 2007 3:22 am


    Thanks for the comment. It seems that we are still having the conversation in a theological sense, maybe not. My question is more about whether there is something more to the discussion then simply can someone choose to be saved. It would seem that Paul is talking about reality.

    For me far to much conversation happens in the context of what we consider theology and that to often is no more then nebulous concepts crafted by man so we can debate.

    What I really want to look at is reality. It is like grace. Grace is not a theology created by the church or invented by Paul or the Bible. It is a reality. We all need grace, no relationship can work without it. The question then becomes do we acknowledge who created grace, made it our reality, and will we acknowledge him and accept His Son as the only way back to Him.

    I just found the article interesting because it seems to take what Paul said out of theology and into reality and I find that interesting.

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