Free Will and Temptation

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Knowing for Sure Blog, Tough Questions | 0 comments

Free Will and Temptation

If God is omnipotent, why does he not just show himself to all of us, all at once, thereby ending this game of free will and temptation?

This is number 18 of the 50 questions Christians can’t answer.

The first thing that came to my mind was Romans 1:20. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

Even if God was to show Himself what makes you think that you or anyone else for that matter, would suddenly have a change of heart and want to worship Him? Following Christ comes at a cost, and if unbelievers know anything, they recognize that. For many, that is the principal reason they choose not to believe.

Andy Bannister explains that having an actual belief in something comes with a cost. More specifically, belief’s come with entailments and consequences.

For example, if I had a son, (and I do), and he was engaged to be married, (and he is), and he and his fiance were considering going to Hawaii for their honeymoon, (and they are), under my current set of beliefs I am comfortable with that choice of locations. But if I held a belief that King Kong lived in Hawaii and was in the habit of stealing away young brides to be tossed into a volcano then I would do everything in my power to stop them from going to Hawaii. My mistaken belief would have consequences and would probably land me in a padded room.

What if I believed that every man who would grow a mustache would become a Christian? Would that belief have consequences? Of course, depending on the intensity of this active belief I might be bombing all the Gillette and Philips Norelco plants I could find in the U.S.

So would denying God exists have consequences? Nietzsche thought so despite sporting a great mustache,  he was an atheist in the late 1800’s. Nietzsche wrote, “When one gives up on the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. The morality is by no means self-evident. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands.”1

Nietzsche understood that without God we have no foundation for Christian morality. Doing good would suddenly be based on the current cultural trends and beliefs.

I would go one further and ask what makes you think God is primarily interested in your belief? Belief in God does not guarantee someone becomes a Christian, Muslim, Jew, or Hindu. James 2:19 points out even the demons believe and tremble, but that does not mean they choose to follow Him. God is more interested in your obedience than your belief.

God showing Himself to us would not end our free will and desire to do what we want. Adam and Eve had some quality time with God, and they ended up donning fig leaves after a noon day snack.

Donald Johnson explains, “People can’t find contentment within themselves, they can’t find it other people, and they can’t find it in things. That’s the problem.”2 Sure, we may have moments of joy and happiness in our lives, but deep down, despite the wealth and luxury some have, they can’t find contentment. Worldly treasures or belief in God will not suddenly cure us of our fallen nature. We will still have desires outside of God’s will, and we will still struggle with temptation.

Question 18 does not even get out of the gate.

 

Sources:
1. Bannister, Andy. “The Scandinavian Sceptic.” The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist. Monarch Books, 2015, p39
2. Johnson, J Donald. “The World Is Not Enough.” How To Talk To a Skeptic. Bethany House Publishers, 2013. p191

 

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Free Will and Temptation by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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