Researching whether angels have free will and whether God has free will, I found myself in the midst of this question.

Is free will an illusion?

Our "choice" is that we either follow God or we do not follow God. However, God has clearly chosen some people to be saved and some to not be saved:

Matthew 22:14 (NIV) For many are invited, but few are chosen.

Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV) Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Ephesians 1:5 (NIV) he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will

But, if God chose us to either be saved or not saved, do we have free will in choosing to follow him?


We have free will to chose salvation. God created everything; The universe, our world, and even us. All of this is already his.
Our agency is the only thing that we are able to give God that he doesn't already have.

An example: The President of the United States is chosen (by us) to be our Commander in Chief, though he can still choose to try to stay in bed and ignore his duties.

We're chosen (by God) for various things throughout our lives. Whether we choose to obey him is entirely up to us.

Matthew 16:23-25 (KJV)

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

The last line of that quote is in reference to people becoming martyrs. It is a good example of someone having a choice regarding their salvation. If someone chooses to deny Christ to save their life they will die spiritually, yet if they choose to die for Christ's sake, they will find their salvation.

  • For what it's worth, the original wording in the Greek for Matthew 16:25 is fascinating. "whosoever will save his life" is referring to our earthly life. "whosoever will lose his life" is referring to our eternal life. – Richard Aug 31 '11 at 19:41
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    Intersting... In that context I take it to mean losing your life in service to our Lord. If Matthew 16:25 isn't referring to martyrs, it seems to be suggesting that it takes effort to find salvation and that men aren't automatically saved by grace alone. – Kalamane Aug 31 '11 at 19:52

Maybe God just knows who will be willing to go to heaven, and who will not, and pre-decided to select who will go to eternal life or not.

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    This is a restating of the view commonly known as "Middle knowledge" which is part of the "Molinist" theology. Just FYI. – Raphael Rosch Apr 20 '14 at 20:34

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