Free Will

May 17, 2019

‘But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake’ (Acts 9:15-16). That Saul was God's chosen vessel does not mean that he had no free will in the matter. Rather, it indicates that God had selected Saul, knowing that he would freely accept and be capable of doing the work set before him…God's foreknowledge does not preclude or bind human will.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Acts 9:15, 1 Peter 1:2)

 

“There is a "predestination," not in the sense that God programs His creatures or forces His will upon them against their will, but rather that God knows every person from before the foundation of the world and provides their unique life and the specific conditions of their earthly way which are literally the best possible conditions for them; however unacceptable this may seem to us creatures in our limited and fallen state. And God works together with each one of us so that, by suffering what we must on this earth, we may attain to life everlasting in the age to come.” (Father Thomas Hopko)

 

“All power belongs to God. God is the creator of all things, even that to which He gives free will. He is the orderer of the universe, and nothing exists without Him.” (Bishop John)

 

“These two things — that is, the grace of God and free will — certainly seem mutually opposed to one another, but both are in accord, and we understand that we must accept both in like manner by reason of our religion, lest by removing one of them from the human being we seem to contravene the rule of the Church’s faith. For when God sees us turning in order to will what is good, He comes to us, directs us, and strengthens us, for as soon as He hears the voice of our cry, He will respond to you.” (St. John Cassian)

 

“We must believe in free will. We have no choice.” (Isaac B. Singer)

 

“The ungodly are those who move their free will in the wrong direction. This movement is away from Wisdom [Christ] and His virtues...The simple man is one who is beginning to move his will toward Wisdom and His virtues." (Orthodox Study Bible, Proverbs 21:6,10)

 

“Every choice for good sets into motion other opportunities for good. Evil choices follow the same pattern, but in the opposite direction. Each decision you make to obey God will bring a greater sense of order to your life, while each decision to disobey will bring confusion and destruction. The right choices you make reflect your integrity.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 13:6)

 

“Our God is a redeeming God who knows how to deal with sin. Although there is no rebellion that goes beyond His reach, the remedy has to be His. The first step in obedience is repentance—turning away from the direction we are going in order to see God.” (Foundation Study Bible, Isaiah 1:18-20)

 

"At the center of the mystery of creation lies the simple yet unfathomable fact that He alone can make the difference between “Not Being” and “Being.” It is only with Him and in Him that we can “become” in the proper direction, toward Him, while the “serpent” can only lead us to various paths of “un-being”; of retreating from our intended purpose." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

 

"We must be confident in our faith in God; we must believe that He will not abandon us. As long as we seek first the Kingdom of God and trust in His goodness we will be beginning to purify our hearts. It is the inner direction that Christ calls us to; it is a simplicity of values and desires." (Father Spyridon Baily)

 

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