Does Man Have Free Will

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By doplerefect
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Does man have free will? This question has been asked within the church since its inception. If man’s will is free then in a sense there is a part of creation that exists outside of God’s control, bringing His sovereignty into question. If man does not have free will his significance as the height of the created order is lessened. The question is further clouded by the fact that the Bible seems to support both ideas; that man is free and wholly responsible for his actions and that God is sovereign over every action within his creation. Paul Tillich describes the issue writing, “The question is whether the moral imperative is dependent on the divine grace for its actualization, or whether divine grace is dependent on the fulfillment of the moral imperative.”[1]
This debate has been the cause of much disagreement throughout the history of the church. Brought to the forefront of debate by Augustine, arguing for the sovereignty of God, and Pelagius, arguing for the free will of man, the discussion over the relationship between God’s control and man’s ability has continued to this day. Later, during the reformation, Calvinists and Arminians continued the debate over the role man plays in the salvation process. This disagreement has caused Roger E. Olson to write, “We need to shoulder the responsibility of choosing between Calvinism and Arminianism. That does not mean choosing between Christianity and something else. It means choosing between two respectable interpretations of Scripture that have both existed within evangelical Christianity for centuries.”[2]
While it seems apparent to some that the positions held by Calvinists and Arminians are impossible to harmonize, the contradiction between the sovereignty of God and free will of man can be overcome by clarifying the differences in nature of God and man with regard to time and point of view.[3] This paper…...

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