Given the day I'm writing this on is the anniversary of the founding of this great nation, July 4, 2018, I thought it would be a good idea to write a piece on freedom. Free-will has been a topic of discussion over the centuries, from Martin Luther and the proceeding protestant reformers to Friedrich Nietzsche and the recent growth of Nihilism. Both positions defend the idea that free-will does not exist, and that we are all predestined to fall back on our animal instincts, because humanity is inherently evil and is incapable of avoiding their natural depravities...not true. We, as a species, have been given the privilege of a will of our own. We are free to accept or reject God's plan for us.
Why give us this ability, this responsibility, this gift of choice? The answer: because he loves us. To provide a better understanding of the subject, I'll pose an example: let's say for instance that you were a parent, and your child has reached the age of reason, which for the sake of this I would say, between 18 and 21. Would you desire the love of your child because they choose to love you, or would you rather they be predisposed to love you, as though your child were a robot incapable of denying you?
Just as you, dear reader, would have chosen the former, God chooses the former. Likewise, this is also why humanity is incapable of seeing God. If God were always to be seen and was known to be all-powerful, people would worship him not because they love him, rather they would worship him because they fear his wrath and for that reason alone. Would you classify this as love? No. God wishes us to have the freedom to either follow or deny him, despite the pain and sorrows he feels when there are those that turn their backs on him, in favor of the pleasures of the world.
In spite of this freedom, we are not called to be free; we are called to be wise in our actions, in order that that freedom is not used for the sake of selfish pursuits. Just because we are free and have the right to liberty, thereby allowing us to do as we please, it does not mean we have the right to be free from consequences. Freedom is in itself a responsibility, and like most responsibilities we have the obligation to uphold them, for it was God's love that gave us this right to choose, and it is our will that is needed to deny ourselves and take up our crosses, so that we may follow in the example of Jesus Christ. We have the ability to avoid and deny temptation. We can defend ourselves against our own depraved desires, provided we give ourselves the will. We are all called to be Saints with the will to avoid temptations and the near occasions of sin (the subject of a later article). And if we sin, it is our (weak) will to do so. It is by our will we choose to help the poor and the sick and those who the world has chosen to deny, for in them we can see God.
"And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (Matthew 25:40)
Just as we have been given the freedom by God to follow or deny him, we have the natural right to liberty, for no man or government on earth has the right to police our every action, for the sake of having power over other human beings. One could use the idea of "affordable healthcare" or in other words, universal healthcare, or even free education to better explain the concept. Let's say you were the world's greatest medical doctor. One day a group of people are gathered outside your office demanding you do your job free of charge.
Now, what would this mean for you if those protesters got the government to force you to do what they want? Well, if you were to practice medicine for free, yes, you would be providing affordable health care to those whose income forces them to live in their parent's basement, yet that puts you on the exact same income level as them. It not only leaves yourself with next to no income for practicing what you've spent a significant portion of your life studying and perfecting, but those under your employ would now be low-skilled volunteers. Now, if you would prefer this, I wholeheartedly support you, yet you, as the world's greatest medical doctor are left without a substantive income worthy of your services. If it were a government mandate that you are obligated to work without an income (or at least a very low income), regardless of what you say, would you really put your all into it? Would you really want to do it? Or would you find a different profession that pays better? The fact of the matter is, you have absolutely NO RIGHT to another person's labor, and to suggest otherwise is to advocate for slavery, which denies the human right to liberty, as well as free will in of itself.
The subject of free will encompasses, much more than God's love for us, or our right to be free from government-issued tyranny. I'll cover this subject further in a later article on "The Problem of Evil".
In the meantime, PragerU made a video on the subject of Free Will: