Does the Bible Contradict Itself On Our Responsiblity for Our Actions and Free Will?
At 9:41 AM, I thought I had realized a new contradiction in the Bible (but it was actually brought up in the Bible itself over 2000 years ago in Romans 9:19). What I thought was: If God’s will is always done, than how can the Bible say we sin against him by going against his will? In other words, if whatever we choose to do was God’s will that we do so, how can we be sinning? Isn’t it like giving us permission to break his commands if he wills that we break them? Strangely and ironically I’ve not noticed any Free Will obsessed Christians (many of whom can be called Arminians) seeing this point as a contradiction. It reminds me of how atheists who oppose Christianity look for contradictions in the Bible, but because of their lack of concern for truth and opposition to truths that go against the will of their mind and desires of their heart, and so read the Bible in a shallow and sloppy way, don’t notice “contradictions” I can see. Also, some Free will obsessed Christians try to be knowledgeable about the Bible and understand it, but neglect having concern for the genuine truth about salvation and how it relates to free will, but these types of Bible-investigating Free will obsessed Christians, when they hear another Christian say that God’s will is always done, or that God forces creatures to do things that they don’t want to do, will become angry about that, and rather than reading the Bible carefully and noticing what might be contradictions in their beliefs or, like me, noticing what can appear to be contradictions in the Bible itself on that matter, are self-obsessed with justifying their beliefs, and so search for verses that “prove” them, and ignore ones that seem to them disprove them, or realizing that they do, but still ignoring them. And some, when a verse is shown to them that they cannot twist into a lie, will either stall (like studying the verse or pretending to be studying it) till the person who showed them that verse take their attention elsewhere, or will ignore that person, or say to them, “Well I believe the Bible has mistakes” or “contradictions”, which ironically when they say, is almost like making God the author of sin, which is an accusation they accuse Christians of accusing God of, who teach that God’s will is always done. In other words if a Free Willer hears a Christian say, “God’s will is always done,” they sometimes will accuse that Christian of teaching that God is the one who causes sin, who is responsible for it, and teaching that man doesn’t have to take responsibility for their sins. That may sound holy, reasonable and righteous for these Free Will Christians to say, but really they are either angry that someone has said something that is against their belief that God really isn’t God over them (because they hate being reminded that God is their highest master and punishes disobedience to his laws, but don’t realize it) and see, “God’s will is always done,” as false humility and so in their misunderstanding of it being false humility to teach such a thing, persecute those true Christians who teach it. Or, these Free Will Christians are instead jealous of Christians who teach such a thing, because it shows true humility and love for God (in combination with other obedient acts), and so it makes them look like false Christians, like liars and hypocrites, who instead of showing loving submission, are exposed as being self-centered and as being hostile towards God, and these Free will Christians will sometimes try to save face, and impulsively say in anger, basically say, “I’m more righteous than you you so called, ‘Christian’ because I take responsibility for my disobedience against God, but you blame him when you sin by saying, ‘His will is always done.’” And these Free will so called Christians, in their hatred, forget that we who say, “His will is always done,” also say, “His will be done,” which Jesus also commanded them to pray.
But back to what seems like a contradiction to me: If God’s will is always done, how can he accuse anyone of having sinned when they break one of his laws, or commandments? I may have heard this contradiction brought up around 1996 or 1997, on a radio network called Family Radio, but only remember hearing the response of the main host, Harold Camping, who gave a reply like, “There is God’s stated will and his unstated will,” and he was trying to say that we are to obey his stated laws, but not to try and go with his unstated will. Whether that was in response to what someone saw as a contradiction or who wanted clarity on the matter, I don’t remember, but that response wouldn’t to me, explain away the contradiction.
Here is a question that might clear up that there is no contradiction:
“If God willed a person to break a law he commanded them to obey justify or permit that person to break that law, or would they still be guilty of doing a disobedient act for breaking it?”
According to what the Bible implies, you would still be guilty. It clearly teaches God is in control of everything except the initial decision-making process of the mind, which makes a plan of action, a plan that can be as simple as, “I plan to drink this and not drink that,” but that God’s plans, even if they are against that person’s plans, will be what is done. So if someone plans to drink a glass of milk instead of water, but God has planned that they drink a glass of water, he will either make the milk unavailable, undesirable from it’s taste or smell, or prevent it from being accessed till the person drinks the water instead and/or he will change that person’s desires so that it causes them to change their mind/their plan.
In what seems to be rare instances to us who can’t see invisible things that go on, God will force a person to do what he wants them to do (there is even a figurative verse in which God almost directly says, “I will force you to drink this cup of wine”. The Bible seems to say that he uses angels to do such things, and in some cases one angel, and that that angel was actually Jesus, and not an angel at all. For example in the Bible, Israel would be about to be attacked by some other country, but God would stop the attack by putting fear overwhelming terror and confusion in the heart and mind of that army or turning it against some other army or immediately killing it somehow, like with a plague.
But, is there really a contradiction?: If God says, “Don’t hit any trees,” but wills that you do, even saying, “It is my will that you hit the trees in front of you,” and makes it so that you have such a strong desire to do so that you do hit them, have you done wrong by hitting those trees? Why would you not be guilty, or not have done wrong merely because God overwhelmed you with the desire to do wrong?
I think the difficulty for people in seeing that there is no contradiction may be due to the common problem in confusing the heart with the mind: God doesn’t change a person’s mind as in causing them to think, “I will disobey God by doing this,” and then somehow forces them to sin (and while writing that I remember the Bible even says that God doesn’t tempt anyone, but that they are lead astray by their own lusts), what he does is put them in a situation so that, just as I pointed out the Bible says, will commit a sin due to the lust in their heart, and the heart isn’t the mind, it isn’t the part that can commit a person to an act, that is what the mind does, and humans and other living things often if not most of the time (not including permanently forgiven Christians), let their mind commit to the decisions that their heart wants to commit to, but which can only do so through the mind, and the mind, unlike the heart, is able to analyze information and has instant access to it, whereas the heart is blind, which may have something to do with the saying, “Love is blind,” (and unfortunately, especially in these “last days”, the world justifies whatever it wants to do merely because that is what they have a love for, even if it’s abusing someone or themselves. So what people get confused over is thinking that God is forcing their mind to commit a sin, and therefore they are not guilty, but what happens is God manipulates their heart in some way, either directly, or by putting them in some situation where their heart will cause them to commit some sin. God also blinds the minds of people, that is prevents them from realizing certain information, and also puts them in situations so that they don’t or won’t have access to certain information, or puts them in situations where they have easy access to false information. But again, he does not force a person using their mind to commit a sin, because if he did, it wouldn’t be their will will that was acting, but him, suppressing it, like demons seem to do when they possess a person.
But if this is true, some might see a contradiction in what Calvinists (a type of Christian) teach, which is that no one can turn to God without God drawing them to Him, which Arminians (a kind of Christian that is in a way, opposite of Calvinists) take as meaning, “God forces the mind of a person to be sorry for offending him and to ask him for forgiveness to have eternal life one day.” But Calvinists don’t say force or imply it. John Calvin, hundreds of years ago, already made this clear in his short list of points on the condition of man and how God saves them, saying that God makes his grace (unearned love) “irresistible” to those that he wants to save, so that they will turn to him for eternal life (which means living in his presence forever with perfect obedience to his laws without any conflicts with Him). And irresistible in that a person’s HEART will cause their mind to change it’s view of God. But is that all God means by “draw”, just causing them to feel his love, or does it involve some sort of pulling, pushing or forcing against a person’s will, like as the evil anti-Calvinist Hank Hanegraaff might say, “what a rapist would do” (but which wouldn’t make God a rapist even if he were to do, since God’s love is not the “love” of a rapist, let alone a human one)? God does not say what he means exactly by draw, and in Strong’s Concordance it shows that the meaning of the word “draw” is similar to another Greek word, which means, “to take for oneself”. That word “draw” is also used in verse in which a Samaritan woman draws water from a well. So all that can be said that this drawing involves, is what I already mentioned the Bible teaches: manipulation of the heart, physical situational placement (which affect the physical senses of sight, smell, sound, touch, hearing, pain and pleasure) and information hiding and giving. Part of the confusion might also be due to the verse in which Jesus says to his disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you…” (John 15:16) in which Jesus implies that he is talking about their choice to be saved and to do obey God (and also obey Him by showing only love for Him). Some who read that or hear a Calvinist say that might mistake that for meaning that God forces a person to choose, or negates their will and that they are then like a mindless computer, and there might even be some false Calvinists who teach that, or ones who mistakenly imply or teach that for a while or moment. But when Jesus said that he chose the disciples, he didn’t necessarily mean, “You don’t make choices, you are robots, you are mindless computers.”; he was in agreement with what this verse says:
“We love Him because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
And I’m not ignoring a contradiction by merely saying, “Jesus agreed with this verse”, I know he was in agreement with that verse since one: Jesus said he spoke in riddles, and the Bible said he did this often, and his disciples even showed great relief according to one verse when he spoke plainly. And second, Jesus repeatedly said in various ways that man was responsible for his sins. But when it came to good deeds, Jesus made it clear that such “good” was only possible if God had love for that person, which you could say, is at least part of what 1 John 4:19 meant. Third, John, whichever one that wrote 1 John 4:19 (and it may have even been the same John that wrote John 15:16) was a Christian, and Christian means, “Christ-follower”, and John spoke as a Christian. No one argues that he did not, so it’s reasonable to say that John taught what Christ taught. So, again, I have no merely made the claim that Jesus wasn’t saying something insane, or contradicting himself.
I wish I could have made this explaination simpler and more clearer, but besides showing the world that neither I nor other Christians, or at least Calvinist Christians, are “one-sided” and are actually clearer on what could be seen as mistakes in the Bible, that for anyone who thought this was a contradiction, or might be, that there is no mistake there, and so no reason to not have faith in the Bible, or lose faith in it.free will paradox, free will contradiction, the Bible on free will, arminian vs calvinism, Arminianism vs Calvinism, Arminius vs Calvin, Arminians vs Calvinists, Calvin on free will, Arminius on free will, are we robots, are we computers, does free will exist, humanity and free will, what does the Bible say about free will, what the Bible says about free will, does God override free will, free will vs Calvinism, free will arguments, free will debate, free will discussion, free will subject, refutation of free will, refutation of Calvinism, refutation of Arminianism, refutation of Arminians, refutation of Calvinists, destiny and free will, destiny vs free will, contradictions in the Bible on free will, what did God say about free will, man’s free will vs