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I just finished reading Mere Christianity and was blown away by some of the statements Lewis makes. He mentions "even [God] cannot produce [a changed heart] by a mere act of power...It is something they can freely give Him or freely refuse Him ." (Mere Christianity Book 3 chapter 10)

This brought up an interesting point in my mind: if you believe in the idea of Free Will with regards to Salvation or a changed heart, you indirectly believe that there is something God cannot do. This directly contradicts the scriptures including Matthew 19:26 and Luke 1:37 ( as well as many others, see that talk about Gods omnipotence.

I grew up in a Calvary Chapel church where Free will was pushed ad nauseum and I was wondering how these Christians as well as other Arminians reconcile free will with something God cannot do.

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You might be interested in this interesting lecture by Jerry Walls. – Dan Feb 4 '14 at 23:54
Mod Notice: I have removed long series of comments that were theological debates. That is not what comments are for. Please reserve them for asking for clarification in order to see posts improved. Comments on SE are ephemeral and not intended for hashing out issues. – Caleb Feb 6 '14 at 20:57
Also based on the comments I deleted, it appears that this was asked as a bit of a "stump the chumps" question. Rather than wanting to learn about a position, your reaction in comments makes me think you were here to try to see it disproved. That isn't how we want to see this site used. Please be careful about that and only ask things you really want to learn about. Whether you agree or not is nobodies business here. As you saw here you don't even have to hold a position to explain it, but were not here to frame attacks on different positions. – Caleb Feb 6 '14 at 21:01
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Because some things cannot be accomplished by the application of power.

Suppose I asked you to draw a 4-sided triangle. You would presumably reply that this is impossible, because a triangle by definition has only 3 sides. Suppose I then say, Well, what if you had 10 really strong men to help? Then could you do it? Of course the logical reply is that it doesn't matter how much strength or power is available. It is not a question of power, but of logical impossibility.

When we make statements like, "God can do anything", we don't mean that literally. At least, not if we are thinking logically. I remember when I was a kid another kid once asked our Sunday School teacher, "If God can do anything, then can God sin?" The teacher replied, "God does not want to sin." So the kid asked, "But could he sin if he wanted to?"

God cannot make 4-sided triangles. God cannot sin and remain holy. One could come up with many things that God cannot do because they are logical impossibilities, and no amount of power makes them possible because power is irrelevant.

Lest you say, "But the Bible says God can do anything" ... May I point out that the Bible itself says that words like "all" are not always intended absolutely literally. 1 Corinthians 15:27 (NIV), "Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him [Christ], it is clear that this does not include God himself". I presume when Paul wrote, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", by "all" he did not mean that he could fly or see through walls ... or wave his hands in the air and magically cause everyone in the world to come to Christ.

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Pertinent CS Lewis Quote: "His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense. There is no limit to His power. If you choose to say, 'God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,' you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prifex to them the two other words, 'God can.'" – Eric Feb 4 '14 at 5:49
And BTW, note that you asked for a logical argument from an Arminian point of view, and that is what I tried to give. I do not say that I fully agree with this view. Personally I think that the Bible clearly teaches predestination, and also clearly teaches free will, and my inability to fully reconcile these things is my problem and not God's. But a discussion of that would be a different question. :-) – Jay Feb 4 '14 at 13:38
I would like to just add that free will was something given to humanity, not all men. Adam and Eve sinned, and sold off their freedom to sin. Also, as Jesus said in John 8:34 'Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.' The mark of a slave is precisely the absence of freedom, and in this context, the freedom of the will. So, God gave us free will, and we traded it for slavery to sin. So we no longer have free will. – Raphael Rosch Apr 17 '14 at 15:42
@RaphaelRosch A slave experiences a limitation to their freedom not a total negation - they can choose to resist or accept their condition, work heartily or drag their feet, plot insurrection or pray for God's blessing on their master, to cry out for a deliverer or spurn Him as one proffering false hope when He comes. The will is impaired, but not destroyed. – bruised reed May 2 '14 at 18:21
Exactly. We have a will, but it is not free. – Raphael Rosch May 4 '14 at 3:16

God is not bound by time, and before He created the world, knew who would accept Him, and selected those to be partakers of eternal life. Destined by Him, because of our free will which repented and believed in Him.

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Welcome to! When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. This answer basically states the definition of post praevisa merita predestination, which is specifically not what the questioner was asking about (Arminianism.) It is thus a good answer to a different question. – Affable Geek Jun 5 '14 at 23:37

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