(461) – DOES GOD HAVE A FREE WILL?

It seems that the God revealed by Jesus Christ in the New Testament does not have a free will. How can this be? What is free will? It is to be free to do good or evil as one wishes. Now, the Scriptures say that God is love, and if he is love, he could not not love, for love does no evil (Rom. 13:10). If love did evil, it would not be love any longer.

In the Old Testament we read that the mouth of Jehovah produces good and evil, therefore Jehovah is not love; and if he is not love, he is not God, either, because God is love (1 John 4:8). It is easy to prove by the Bible that Jehovah does evil (Lam. 3:38). And Jehovah also proclaims this truth, saying to Jerusalem: “Behold, I watch over them for evil, and not for good; and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them” (Jer. 44:27). And the god Jehovah, being able to opt for evil, never opts for good. He said: “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if they do that which is evil in my sight, that they not obey my voice, then I will repent of the good, with which I said I would benefit them. Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says Jehovah: Behold, I frame evil against you’” (Jer. 18:9-11). Another clear example: he declared: “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you shall listen to the commandments of Jehovah your God, which I command you this day; and the curse, if you shall not listen to the commandments of Jehovah your God” (Deut. 11:26-28).

Let us go on to the New Testament. In the letter to Titus, Paul says: “In hope of eternal life, which God, who can’t lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:2). If God cannot lie, he does not have a free will. Jehovah, on the contrary, lies. Moses wrote in the law: “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deut. 24:16). But the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, says: “Prepare for slaughter of his children because of the iniquity of their fathers” (Is. 14:21). It is clear that Jehovah did not say the truth. To make the situation worse, Jehovah killed David’s newly born son because of David’s adultery (2 Sam. 12:13-19).

Paul declares that God, the Father, wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth (1 Tim. 2:3-4) — all men include the good and bad, righteous and unrighteous ones. If God had a free will, he would save the righteous and condemn the unrighteous. But God is love, and love does not condemn anyone; therefore the apostle John says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him” (John 3:16-17). And Jesus and the Father are one, and whatever the Father is, Jesus also is. For this reason Jesus declares: “If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47). And he said more: “Don’t think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope” (John 5:45). And Jesus, who is the express image of God, constituted the Church to judge. In respect to Israel, Jesus said to the apostles: “Most certainly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28). We see by this that Jesus is not going to judge the kingdom of Israel. And who will judge the rest of the world? Paul, the great apostle to the gentiles, answers: “Don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Don’t you know that we will judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?” (1 Cor. 6:2-3). The judge has to be capable of judging. If a Christian is a carnal person, he is not apt to judge the carnal men. If he is a slave to any vice, he will not have authority or the requirements to judge the addicted in alcohol, or in cigarettes, or in ecstasy, or in gambling. If the Christian is worldly, he will never judge the world. On the contrary, he will be guilty, and not judge, for Jesus said: “That servant, who knew his lord’s will, and didn’t prepare, nor do what he wanted, will be beaten with many stripes, but he who didn’t know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes. To whoever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked” (Luke 12:47-48).

The Christian has to be like his Lord, for John says: “In this love has been made perfect among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, even so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).

And if the Christian has the free will he is going to practice evil, for this world is full of traps. Jesus Christ never sinned, for he did not have a free will. He was like the Father. In the Garden of Eden there were two trees: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which belongs to Jehovah, who does good and evil; the other one is the tree of life, which is of Christ, in whom his disciples crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal. 5:24).

 

By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira

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