I have been given many different opinions as to what having free will actually means. Some have said that it means only that we have a choice of whether or not to accept salvation, others have said it is the choice of whether to choose good or evil. Others tell me it is both. It seems that there are as many opinions as there are people.
So I tried to find out if there were some Scriptures which would answer that question, but so far there has not been any answer given me by the Holy Spirit.
So I have decided to ask if you can point me to some Scriptures which will clear this up.
All Scriptures quoted are from the King James translation.
These are the Scriptures I have already considered, and what I have discerned from them so far.
Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
At this point God has not put any restrictions on what to eat, and so no free will is indicated.
Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
At this point; and I am unsure if this is the same as verse 1:29 or not; God has placed a restriction on what to eat and therefore man has a choice, however he does not at this juncture have the knowledge of good and evil. That sort of leads me to dismiss the parts about choosing salvation, and whether or not to choose good or evil.
My consternation comes from the fact that if man did not have free will at this time, why would God place the restriction in the first place?
Then I considered that free will was just another way of saying that man had the ability make choices. Choosing entails reasoning, and reasoning entails having knowledge. And not only does it require knowledge, but it requires that we have knowledge of more than one option.
So prior to verse 2:17 even though man may have possessed the ability to choose he did not have an option based on the fact that he had no knowledge that there were repercussions for eating from that one tree.
So; erroneously or not; I have concluded that free will is actually a process in which man is alternately infused with options and knowledge of consequences.
To this end I have come to believe that up until Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead, that man never had free will as far as salvation is concerned, and even now until all people are given the Gospel they do not have free will as far as salvation is concerned, and may be the reason God has not sent Jesus for the second coming, since Jesus said:
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Are there any Scriptures which I have overlooked that would alter my conclusions.