Free Will Debate Antony v. Windsor

Free Will Debate

Round 4

Windsor’s Closing Arguments


My goal in this debate has been to demonstrate how Man, created in God’s Image, is given the ability to love, or hate which ultimately leads us to his ability to love or hate God.  God wants us to love and serve Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength and all our mind; as well as loving our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27).  This exemplifies freedom of the will for if love is forced is not love at all.  Love given at the pull of a “puppet string” is not love at all.  God is love, and all He asks of us is to know Him and love Him and serve Him in this life so that we may be happy with Him in the next.

My opponent’s position is that of a Determinist.  My opponent is a Calvinist who believes in Calvin’s representation of predestination.  In his paradigm it is impossible for us to choose to love God unless He first draws us to Him.  That statement is a truism!  I agree with it!  Where my opponent and I fundamentally disagree is on who is drawn and when that drawing occurs.  My position, which is scriptural, is that “all men” are drawn to Him due to Calvary (John 12:32).  My opponent’s only answer to this is that “all men” means “all types of men,” but he has a problem with that interpretation - Scripture doesn’t say that!  My opponent must import this concept to John 12:32 in order for the Calvinist view to work.

My opponent brings us to John 6:37.  I love John 6 for a number of reasons!  One of which exposes the flaw in my opponent’s position.  Let us look at verse 37:

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

The objective reader should note, there is no “drawing” in this verse!  Verse 37 is about those whom the Father “gives” to the Son, and those whom He “(gives) shall come to (the Son).”  Back to my point, the “drawing.”  We find that also in John 6:44:

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Here the “coming” is contingent upon the “drawing.”  One cannot “come” unless they are first “drawn.”  So when does this “drawing” happen?  Going to the same Gospel writer in 12:32 we find:

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Now that could be one of two times, 1) when Jesus is “lifted up” upon the Cross; or 2) when He ascends into Heaven.  Seeing as how His Ascension is of His own power and authority, the only time He is “lifted up” by someone or something else is on the Cross.  Also, when we look to John 3:14-16 we find:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The time when Jesus was “lifted up” just as Moses “lifted up” the serpent in the wilderness (on a staff) was at Calvary.

When I pointed to John 3:16 previously, my opponent turns to a blog site to declare “the word “whosoever” is not even in the text!”  Yet even that blogger admits the Greek word “pas” is there, which means “all,” the blogger attempts to diminish the reality of “whosoever believeth” by saying, “so that all the believing ones.   Both statements say the same thing!  For my opponent to say the use of “whatsoever” is “theologically bankrupt” is simply an ignorant view of what the text really does say.  Whether one says, “all the believing ones” or “whosoever believeth” - there is no difference!  The bottom line remains that all who believe shall be saved.  My initial point, however, in bringing up John 3:16 was that God so loved THE WORLD.  Well, clearly the WORLD will not be saved, some will be damned - but we get back to the only restriction to salvation - “believing in Him,” and believing is an act of the will.  My opponent will agree with that!  However, in his view the “will” is not “free” to believe or not believe.

I challenged that this Calvinist view of my opponent makes God out to be a Puppet Master, where He pulls all the strings, and the puppets (us) can never make a decision to know, love and serve Him will all our heart, soul, strength and mind - because our heart, soul, strength and mind have nothing to do with it!  My opponent did not shy away from the “Puppet Master” analogy, in fact he embraced it!  He said:

Like it or not, elements of "puppet mastery" simply cannot be escaped!  "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse [puppet string] wherever He pleases"

As I said in earlier rounds, I do not deny that the Lord has used specific persons for specific purposes of His choosing, hardening the heart of Pharaoh as another example, but these specific examples do not speak to the overall condition of Mankind.  Certainly God can choose to use any one as a means to His own ends - and I have never denied this.  However, to force this “Puppet Master” concept upon the will of all Mankind makes this god one who not only authors evil, but punishes certain persons for being created for no other purpose than for this god to destroy them.  My opponent goes on to accede to the “Puppet Master” concept when he re-asks my question and answers:

Does he "force" us to love Him?  Basically, yes.

Then again I assert - that forced love is not love at all - and thus this god who would try to force love is a false god.   

In Round 2b I said:

My opponent refers to the “fallen nature” of mankind, but though fallen, the nature of man is still the nature of man!  Adam and Eve freely chose to accept the temptation of the serpent.  Their punishment did not affect their natural ability to choose, they remained, by nature, as humans.

Mr. Antony has not adequately responded to this if at all - and yet he brought up the nature of mankind.  It makes no sense that God would create Adam and Eve with Free Will, knowing full well (predestining) that they would turn their backs on Him.  Then sense goes even further away when to accept the Determinist view we’d have to accept that while Adam and Eve had Free Will, and God knowing and predestining what they would do then takes away Free Will from the rest of mankind; it would be as if Adam and Eve were a wholly separate creation, such as the angels are, and mankind, though descendant from them has a different nature and is not created in the same image they were.  This Determinist view of God actually presents us with an God who created evil, allowed His first creation to fall, or worse He predetermined that they would fall - then crippled the rest of mankind, condemning them to Hell and leaving them in a condition where they could not choose to follow God unless God singled them out for salvation.  This view paints a view of a god who is unjust and unloving to at least part of “the world” which he created.

In summary, I have documented scriptural support for the fact that mankind must have free will in order for man to love God.  If man is not free to love, then it is not freely given love.  If man has no Free Will then it would be impossible to know, love and serve Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind - for in the Determinist reality it is not us who has any control or ability to decide to give our heart, soul, strength or mind in service of God.  The Determinist view leaves us as mere puppets who have no ability to serve or follow Him.  Worse, the Determinist view nullifies any reason for judgment and portrays an unloving god who gives no chance for an “unregenerate” to come to God.  Contrast this with a God who created mankind in His image and likeness - with the freedom to choose good over evil, obedience over disobedience.  After that creation fell, He didn’t leaven them to the eternal condemnation of Hell, but left them with a promise to send a Messiah - who turned out to be God Himself, offering Himself upon the Cross to atone for the sins of mankind, and for whosoever believes in Him, His wrath is put aside and He gives to them the gift of eternal life in Heaven with Him.  This, my friends, is the True Gospel, that if we accept His Gift to us - He will save us.  He made this gift free to all when He was lifted up upon that most glorious Cross and through His death and Resurrection.

May God richly bless you in your path, and let not your heart be hardened against Him,

AMDG,
Scott<<<

(All scriptural references are KJV unless otherwise noted).
Thesis Statement in BLUE
Documentation in RED
Closing Summary in PURPLE

Word Count: 1595

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