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The Error of the Doctrine of Free Will

In spite of the fact that the doctrine of free will is against Scripture, many churches, including the Roman Catholic Church believe that this doctrine is true. This is not to say that we do not believe that man has a will; man does have a will, but it is sovereignly controlled by God’s will. The doctrine of free will is in error for three reasons: that it denies the fact that God is completely sovereign over his creation, secondly, that man is totally depraved, and lastly, that God has predestinated us. Thus, let us look at why free will is against Scripture.

In the first place, God is completely sovereign over his creation. The doctrine of free will denies this fact by saying that man has control over himself and whom he believes in. To prove that this belief is false and, that God is in control of even the smallest matters of creation, we must go to Matthew 10:29-30: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.’’ Isaiah goes even farther, to state that God causes men to execute his counsel. “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it’’ (Isa. 46:9-11). This verse obviously states that whatever God has willed and counselled, will happen. Man cannot change the will of God; God has complete power over the will of man. Lastly, God has created the whole universe as we read in Genesis 1, and therefore he must be in control of it. Since God is in complete control of his creation, nothing can happen without him willing it to happen.

Secondly, man is completely and utterly depraved. Humans can do no good at all, as Psalm 14 tells us “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.’’ Mankind is so corrupt, that the psalmist describes us as being filthy with sin. We do not even seek after God; that is how utterly depraved we are. This is not just a belief of the Old Testament church, but of the New Testament church as well, as Romans 3:10-12 makes clear. In addition, apart from Christ we are all the servants of sin, only doing wickedness and evil. John 8:34 makes this clear: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.’’ We are all servants of sin doing no good. Thus, we are completely depraved, and cannot accept God by ourselves.

Lastly, Scripture makes it clear that God has predestinated man and is in control of man’s salvation. In Ephesians 1:4-6 we read that God has predestinated man before the foundation of the world. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.’’ This is a very clear verse stating that God has predestinated his people unto Christ, by the pleasure of his own will. It is not man who decides to accept God, but God works in us by his Holy Spirit so that we believe. In Romans 9:21, 22, we read that God also has power over who is saved and damned. “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.’’ As the earthly potter has power over the clay, so God has the power to save some men by his grace and to damn others. Finally, we only believe in Christ, because God grants us the grace and works in us as Ephesians 1:19 tells us. It is of God’s grace and mercy to us that we believe, not of our own free will.

As we have shown, free will is not a true doctrine of Scripture. An examination of Scripture clearly shows that free will is a heresy. First, God is in complete power over his creation, he controls even the most minute details. Secondly, man is so depraved that he cannot even do the slightest good. He does not even seek after God. Lastly, the Bible states that God has power over man like a potter has power over clay; he can save some by his grace and damn others. Therefore, God works in us, so that we believe. By ourselves, we would never even accept God because of our depravity, but the grace of God works in us, so that we believe. The beauty of the doctrine of predestination is that we do not have to do anything for our salvation, but it is all of the grace of God. Therefore, the doctrine of free will is not a true doctrine of Scripture, but something man invented, so that he could save himself.