I thought about putting over here what was discussed on the post Is Free Will Really Free? for it is a very interesting, debatable and important topic to think about.
Firstly, here is a short article that I found to explain this matter in a very rational and direct way:
“How can we have free will if God has a plan for our lives and knows everything we’ll do in advance?
Since God is omniscient, God has foreknowledge, meaning he knows what everyone will do in the future and what any individual would do in any given situation. This foreknowledge enables God to have a plan for everyone’s life. For instance, if God wants a particular action to occur, he knows who would choose to do that action, and under what circumstances they would choose it; thus he is able to plan for it to happen. However, God’s knowing what choices we will make is simply knowledge – it doesn’t remove our free will, for we are still the ones making the choices.
This may be more understandable if we consider that we have a type of foreknowledge from our knowledge of history. For example, we know that the Americans won the Revolutionary War. If we went back in time before the Revolutionary War took place, our knowing the outcome wouldn’t force anyone to do anything. Our knowing the Boston Tea Party would take place wouldn’t mean that the colonists would be forced to throw the tea overboard, it would only mean that we’d know what the colonists would choose to do. It’s the same with God: his knowing what we’ll freely choose to do doesn’t mean we’re forced to make that choice.”
I guess it’s all part of how much God love us – He loves us so much that He lets us choose: His way (perfect) or our way (of which, although isn’t what He wants for us, He certainly knows the consequences of). I’ve heard people say that if God “pushed” us to do certain things (including accepting Him to be our Saviour), He wouldn’t truly be loving, and yes a trapping and selfish God. We don’t do God’s will because He’s forcing us to, we do it because we love Him, and we only love Him because He loved us first. – mysterytopursue
(…) We must consider that God, though He orchestrates everything, allows us to make the choice, because He already knows what the choice will result in. His Master Plan will be carried out one way or the other, but He will never force us to go with His plan, no matter how beneficial it may be for us to go by. He wants us to fall in line, but not necessarily because we have to, but because we love Him and, in love, want to fall in line. It’s just like that line from “The Break-Up” when Jennifer Aniston’s role says to Vince Vaughn’s: “I want you to WANT to wash the dishes. – ediddydub
(…) Being free – having free will – is a gift to all of those who are saved though Christ. That being said, those who are lost and don’t have Jesus in their hearts are not free, for they are trapped in sin. But society and the media in general reverses this and says Christians are trapped because they have to obey the commandments and everything the Bible says to do or not to do, and those who aren’t Christians are free because they can do whatever they want. The truth though, is the other way around, for God has broken our chains that were stuck in sin and set us free. (…) There was once a preaching I heard that said that people tend to do a lot of questions that complicate things that are either very simple or not possible to humanly understand. The preacher gave an example of a black-board eraser that was obviously a 3D object. “Is it rectangular or square?” (Just like saying, “Is my life consisted of free will or is everything predetermined?”) God’s answer would simply be, “Yep”, because He is God and works however He wants to – even by 2 different things at once. – mysterytopursue
(…) Being in Christ frees us from the bondage of sin, standards, and societal whims, given that 1) God dares us to stand out from the world (being in it but not of it), and 2) unlike society, who dictates to us what we can and can’t do in order to fit in, and unlike sin which keeps us bound into our own carnalities, Jesus gives us two simple commands to follow once we become a part of the Kingdom: love God, and love one another. The essence of Christianity summed up in those, who wouldn’t want to be free, truly free? (…) I agree again in that God has everything scrpited in His hands. The awesome thing about God is that He already knows what’s going to happen, and how we can get through our situations. And if I can ever master “peace that surpasses all understanding,” then I can rest peacably, assured that God will work everything out, because He knew this was going to happen anyway. All I’m really doing is walking. – ediddydub
I really like being able to discuss matters like these with people I’ve met over here. God even uses blogs to bring edification to our souls! I find these kinds of conversations to be very interesting and productive. It’s a pity not everyone knows how to converse in this respectful and helpful way.
May God forgive us for tending to over-think and complicate things, and may He give us wisdom towards understanding His Kingdom, so that we may pass on the Good News to others in a simple, yet deep and loving way, without any doubt towards the Truth of the Gospel – and, in this manner, bring lots of lost souls to Christ.