- Free Will – How about All the steps of a man are ordered by the LORD?1) QuestionAre you saying that man has ‘boundless’ free will?Reply:Of course not!Their ‘definition’ remains ‘their definition’ (those who claim it as ‘boundless’). We use that same term ‘free will’ to mean ‘will of creation’ because it’s easily identified due to its popular rendering in theological literature. However, our definition of free will is as per the lengthy articles below too:https://www.anonymouschristian.org/blog/great-lesson-faithful-job/https://www.anonymouschristian.org/blog/god-evil-judge-apostle-pauls-case/https://www.anonymouschristian.org/blog/mystery-free-will/https://www.anonymouschristian.org/blog/free-will-versus-gods-will-dilemma-will-god-really-save-world/Thus, the classical definition of free will points to that ‘boundless’ assumption to which I DON’T agree at all.As I have shared, the ‘free’ in free will when I use it is restricted as per the lengthy discussion on one of my posts earlier (listed above).The how can it be free?It’s similar to the “free” in “freedom” but bound by the Law. For example, we are “free” to do what we want in a country (‘freedom’) but that doesn’t mean that it is right and any transgression against the Law remains wrong. Such ‘freedom’ being restricted with respect to the ‘Law of God’ is what I meant. And thus we are held accountable for our wrong actions accordingly.Regarding man not being free with regards to influence when exercising his will, I agree also!Influence of Evil is NOT from God (please read James 1:13 carefully to understand this).Influence to do evil exists (yes, but it’s from other creation, Satan or Spiritual wickedness in the spirit realm, Ephesians 6:12, Psalm 82 & 2 Corinthians 4:4 – the source of evil by their exercising of their will with “no” influence from God either upon them, James 1:13, John 8:44, 1 John 3:12).Influence doesn’t eliminate creation’s responsibility over its own actions to do evil because it’s not allowed beyond its choice to do it (1 Corinthians 10:13) assures this always though we cannot see it & those who do the evil always lie (or claim otherwise) to make them look helpless or innocent so they can blame it on God or their mental illness (I was such before too) just to escape the consequence of their actions deceiving those who believe them. The case for Adam & Eve with the influence of Satan during the fall clearly proves all these.2) The Role in Evil (Influencer versus Doer)Here are two example verses for the ‘influence’ of evil part (please note that neither of these verses point to God as the source of evil but rather “their OWN actions/nature/actions accordingly” – God in His Power “CREATED Evil” [Isaiah 45:7] to be able to have THESE CHARACTERISTICS as Holy Scripture clearly states ‘as it is written’ explaining the “restricted” part of ‘our definition of free will or creation’s will accordingly’ perfectly agreeing with James 1:14 & 1 Corinthians 10:13 too – emphasis mine throughout):(i) Source of Influence of Evil“You are of your father the devil, and you want to DO the DESIRES of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his OWN nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 8:44, NASB)“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)“A psalm of Asaph. God has taken His place in the divine assembly; He judges among the gods:” (Psalm 82:1)“in whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, so as for not to beam forth the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)(ii) The Doer of EvilMan still has his role to play in the ‘evil free will choice’ beyond that influence as well (accountability because God being Faithful does NOT ALLOW evil through influence or temptation to be ‘beyond a person’s ability to decide’ nor ‘without a way of escape’, 1 Corinthians 10:13 either physically or in the tempted man’s ability to say ‘no’ to evil; this varies from individual to individual but God Promises such in ALL cases. Hence, the Judgment upon any evil act is proportionate to their “role” in evil either by the Influencer or the Doer respectively as the case of Adam & Eve with respect to the CREATION of EVIL, Isaiah 45:7 also so clearly testifies agreeing to all these verses perfectly):“Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because HIS OWN ACTIONS were EVIL and his brother’s were righteous.” (1 John 3:12, NIV)“But a MAN is tempted, being drawn away and being enticed by the OWN desire. Then desire having conceived, gives birth to sin; and sin having become fully grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:14 – 15)“Let no one being tempted say, “I am being tempted by God.” For GOD is UNABLE to be tempted by evils, and He Himself tempts NO ONE.” (James 1:13)“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is Faithful, Who will NOT ALLOW you to be TEMPTED BEYOND what YOU are ABLE, but with the temptation WILL PROVIDE the way of ESCAPE also, so that you will be ABLE to ENDURE it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)As apostle James himself warns not to be ‘misled’ by ‘any thinking otherwise’ after explaining ‘how’ sin occurs in verses quoted above:“Do not be MISLED, my beloved brothers.” (James 1:16)“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and CREATE evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)Thus we will be ‘held responsible’ (as God will judge each case work/act accordingly) as it is written as well that:“I said in mine heart, God shall JUDGE the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” (Ecclesiastes 3:17)Any authority God places over us is only valid or are justified as an authority with respect to the GOOD done by him only as the verse below clearly testifies (often wrongly quoted to claim the common fallacy that ‘as though God approves these authorities for their ‘evil’ acts too’ (a different case) to which Holy Scripture does NOT point at all! Please note the word ‘GOOD’ found in verse below – meaning these authorities which God allowed are only exercising God’s Will to execute wrath when it is toward evil only and not justifying their evil acts whenever they FAIL to follow God’s Will at times either – A CONTEXT clearly implied by the words found in verse below):“for it is a minister of God to you for GOOD. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings WRATH on the one who PRACTICES EVIL.” (Romans 13:4)The Act of Doing Good is due to Good only and the above all applies to believers as well:Please note that in verse below, God’s Will in our lives as believers too —> only refers to the ‘GOOD works’ part —-> NOT our sin (evil),—> regarding sin (evil), that’s our own free will with influence from ‘demonic spiritual influence’ (a temporal ‘vanity’ which will end when He sets us free completely one day as Romans 8:20 – 21 declares too)“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do GOOD works, which God PREPARED in ADVANCE for us to DO” (Ephesians 2:10)3) In light of all these, how do we explain ALL steps of a MAN are ordered by the LORD in this verse?“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)Or this verse:“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)The STEPS of a MAN are established or directed here meaning that the MAN has been given the CHOICE & ABILITY to choose between Good & Evil by God in Advance (agreeing to 1 Corinthians 10:13 quoted earlier & even Deuteronomy 30:19 too):“”I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have SET before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So CHOOSE life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,” – God (Deuteronomy 30:19)The STEPS here does NOT mean that a man’s ACTIONS are pre-determined (as Deuteronomy 30:19 clearly proves that God gives a CHOICE in ALL cases) but that the CHOICES (referred to as STEPS in this verse) are PRE-DETERMINED.Similarly, the word DIRECTED by God in the latter verse means that God gives sufficient ABILITY for one to be ABLE to CHOOSE between Good & Evil & even always provides a way of ESCAPE too (with respect to the ‘one who is about to commit the evil & not the victim’) in a FAIR way as 1 Corinthians 10:13 clearly describes this beautifully!The Etymology of the Word for STEPS itself confirms this simply because when you take a STEP, did you notice that you can walk anywhere you like as YOU CHOOSE? This PROVES that CHOICE given is ‘what is referred to’ here and NOT action (proving ‘free will’ under the definition discussed prior, again).The Etymology for the word DIRECTS itself agrees and points to being ‘told’ in advance ‘which is Good’ through the revelation of His Law and Conscience too (e.g. Adam & Eve TOLD in ADVANCE by God to ‘not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil’ agreeing to all these literal exegesis ‘as it is written’). Please consider:—-> The Law Part verse <—-“For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.” (Romans 2:12 – 13)—-> The NO Law Part verse <—-“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.” (Romans 2:14 – 16)4) So, how do we understand which STEPS to CHOOSE?“A man’s steps are determined by the LORD, so how can anyone understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24)Reply:The part where ‘He delights in his way’ is God looking forward to ‘delight’ in the way a man chooses as the verses below prove that God is only DELIGHTED when a man CHOOSES a STEP which is according to ‘His Will’:(a) God is Delighted when a Man CHOOSES the STEP for the Honest Scales ONLY and NOT for when another man chooses the dishonest scales at all (implying that God does NOT delight in ‘either steps’ as some have erred in quoting the ‘DELIGHT’ aspect linking these verses, let Scripture interpret Scripture!):“A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His DELIGHT.” (Proverbs 11:1)(b) Similarly, God is pleased and blesses those who walk in God’s Ways (implying a CHOICE made on their part too under God’s Influence for He influences EVERY GOOD ONLY, agreeing to James 1:17) as these verses testify as well:“Aleph. How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.” (Psalm 119:1)“EVERY good act of giving and EVERY perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of shifting.” (James 1:17)(c) The secret to CHOOSE the CORRECT STEPS (avoiding sinful paths & so that sin doesn’t rule over us) is to OBEY His Word (as revealed in Written Scripture) as ‘it is written’:“Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity (sin) have dominion over me.” (Psalm 119:133)(d) God is Merciful DESPITE our falls in choosing the wrong steps and even falling into sin (God chooses to whomever He wants to have Mercy, His Free Will choice):“Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:24)“For He (God) says to Moses: “I will show mercy to whom I may show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I may have compassion.” (Romans 9:15)“In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:22, ESV)
Jonathan Ramachandran is founder at AnonymousChristian.org which serves as a Christian Blog discussing the Greater Hope of Biblical Christian in Christ Alone. He is also an IMO (International Math Coach) and a featuring Guitarist for many bands.