This is NOT this question

I've been reading a lot about Arianism and this is an interesting point that they have:

Arius believed the Son Jesus was capable of His own free will of right and wrong, and that "were He in the truest sense a son, He must have come after the Father, therefore the time obviously was when He was not, and hence He was a finite being,"[37] and was under God the Father. The Arians appealed to Scripture, quoting verses such as John 14:28: "the Father is greater than I", and also Colossians 1:15: "Firstborn of all creation."

So then, before being on the cross, did Jesus (being 100% man) have free will to make mistakes?

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    One fault here is the application of the properties of physical progeny to the nature of the Son. The names "Father" and "Son" describe the relationship, but do not necessitate that the Son came after the Father. God is spirit--not physical.
    – Narnian
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 13:00
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    This question has "Arianism" in the title, but it seems to be looking for an answer consistent with the Nicene Creed (otherwise, the answer is staring us in the face in that blockquote: "Arius belived the Son Jesus was capable of His own free will.") So it's either looking for more clarification on the Arian position (which isn't clear from the way it's asked) or looking for a Nicene position (also unclear, and would probably require further refining. I think Catholics and Presbyterians would say slightly different things, for instance.) Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 18:59

3 Answers 3


It would be the heresy of monophysitism (or, pushed to an extreme docetism) to deny Jesus' free will.

The classic text on the matter is in this matter is Luke 22:42 -

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

If Jesus had no free will, this statement has no meaning.

Additionally, Hebrews 4:15 states:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin”

Again, if Jesus did not have the ability to sin, this statement makes no sense.

Finally, even Satan realized that Jesus could sin. Otherwise, why would he have even attempted to entice Jesus to break his fast, worship him, or put God to the test, in the wilderness in Luke 4 / Matthew 4?


For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. (NIV Hebrews 4:15)

the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me (NIV John14:30)

Jesus had free will, but not the ability to sin, that is considered impossible by many Christian leaders around the world. The fact is there are two sides to this interesting question. Both sides agree that Jesus did not sin, so I suppose this debate is only theoretical, but its all about whether theoretically he could have sinned. Those who hold to “impeccability” believe that Jesus could not have sinned. Those who hold to “peccability” believe that Jesus could have sinned, but did not.

I think when you think about it one must fall for the “impeccability” belief because it alone can maintain the idea of the God-Man. To assert peccability we are basically denying the scripture that says:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (NIV Hebrews 13:8)

Jesus would no longer be infinitely unchangeable in his nature if He sinned. The problem is that when God assumed human nature into His own person forever, God could never be separated from the man Jesus. The Christ was both God and Man to separate them would be to destroy both God and Man, which is impossible. Free will does not require absolute freedom to sin, but the divine nature does require absolute inability to sin, even though God has the most free will of all.

The question therefore is almost like saying could God send himself to hell, for that is the theological conclusion of the God-Man sinning. It would mean God sinned himself for Christ was not just man, but God.

Of course Jesus could have never sinned otherwise He could no longer be said to be God. Jesus’ human will would have had to be ‘infinitely powerful’ and opposed to God, or opposed to Himself, in its supposed ability to sin for if he had sinned he must suffer eternal hell, but if he was also God than God would also suffer eternal hell. The whole notion is ridiculous.

The cause of the confusion is we often exaggerate how much free will we have as humans. In various was we have very limited free will. The Bible has a different view. In fact it says that although Adam did have a unique aspect of free-will that no other man has ever had, being that He was specifically tested to choose life or death in the garden of Eden as a federal head of humanity, humans are born sinners with no such free will.

A sinner is born a slave to sin without the free will of living holy. This can’t happen until they are born again in Christ and become slaves to righteousness. In fact I heaven we will no longer be free to sin, just as Christ never could because He has become the source of our life and we will not be able to reject our own life, just as Christ was not able to reject His.

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (NIV Romans 6:17-18)

Of course we are not fully slaves to righteousness until we enter heaven, but as believers we no longer have the freedom to allow sin to control our lives for our life is Christ who lives in us and who can’t sin.

It is not that difficult to show this belief in the Impeccability of Christ has been a common belief held by mainstream Protestant leaders, for example John Owen was one of the leading theologians and academic administrator at the University of Oxford in teh 1600s, he said:

We are tried and tempted by Satan, and the world, and by our own lusts. The aim of all these temptations is sin, to bring us more or less, in one degree or other, to contract the guilt of it. Of times in this condition sin actually ensues, temptation hath its effect in us and upon us; yea, when any temptation is vigorous and pressing, it is seldom but that more or less we are sinfully affected with it. It was quite otherwise with our high priest. Whatever temptation he was exposed unto or exercised withal, as he was with all of all sorts that can come from without, they had none of them in the least degree any effect in him or upon him; he was still in all things absolutely “without sin.” Now, the exception being absolute, I see no reason why it should not be applied unto sin with both the respects unto temptation mentioned. He neither was tempted by sin, such was the holiness of his nature; nor did his temptation produce any sin, such was the perfection of his obedience. (Owens Works Volume 20, P528)

There are various good theologians that reinforce this doctrine, I have not read this article but it seems good from what I could tell. “The Impeccability of Christ” By Arthur W. Pink

  • "Of course Jesus could have never sinned otherwise He could no longer be said to be God" implies that his will is not free
    – user1054
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 15:18
  • @DanAndrews - Free will does not have to include freedom to sin. When I am in heaven I no longer expect to have a will that can choose to sin. I will be forever protected from that, but still have other choices. Man was never made to always be exposed to temptation, Jesus was infinitely resistant to it. People think free will must include the option to sin, but the Bible does not. Adam was tested though in that way with free will in that sense. Only Adam had the kind of free will like that. To assume we hae free will exactly like Adam is actually pelagianism heresy. Cheers.
    – Mike
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 15:30
  • A.W.Pink has quite a pedigree! I haven't read the essay you posted yet, but trust me whe. I say his is a highly influential name in the field of theology! Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 23:30

Arianism introduced the teaching that Christ possessed a "conditional deity" therefore His Deity was conferred or gifted by the only -wise God ( The Father ) so according to Arianism it was absolutely possible for 'The Christ' to sin and loose His 'conditional deity' thus resulting in His eternal annihilation by Ultimate God. The Seventh-day Adventists promulgate this very teaching & appeal to a couple texts that the uneducated understand support their position.

God, according to the Scriptures, knows the end from the beginning & explicitly revealed in the Scriptures what the end would be - the Prophets all did this clearly, God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit all said Salvation would NOT fail - God would come and God would save.

The primary foundation of Arianism is that Christ Incarnated with a "sin nature" and as such Christ yearned or longed to sin but because He trusted in His Father ( understood to be a literal Father ) and through reading the Scriptures and prayer He was able to resist His yearning desire to sin and therefore was able to stand as a proper sacrifice for sins.

Only the Arian groups that exist today teach such things - such as the SDA's, Jehovah's Witnesses and Christadelphians - they claim that if Jesus couldn't have sinned and lost His own salvation then His coming was a farce and mockery.

It is absolutely a heretical teaching that must be avoided.


I was asked to add more information so that readers wouldn't think the above was a rant against Adventism [ Arianism ] ( which it's not ). I think we would all agree that people will generally believe what makes them feel good & this is the case with creating a belief system that allows for Jesus to have free will to include His ability to sin - again this is heresy.


Christ was Eternally the Christ, the Lamb Slain from the Foundations of the world. See: 1st Peter 1:19 ( it was foreknown INDEED that Christ would provide Salvation )


That God would come and God would save was stated repeatedly in the Old Covenant Scriptures. See: Isaiah 14:25 - - Ps 33:11 - - - Job 36:5 - - Zeph 3:5 - - & nearly 100 others


The Apostle Peter in Acts 2:22 - 32 explictly states that David, being a prophet said that it was "not possible" ( IMPOSSIBLE ) for death to hold Christ because he ( David ) was allowed to see the future, specifically the Resurrection of Christ.


Jesus said that He "always" ( Eternally ) did the will of the Father. See: John 6:38 & John 8:29. We as Christians are called observe that even though Christ was God He didn't use that as an excuse to refuse to do the will of the Father, SEE: Phil 2: 5-10

In closing Jesus' free will WAS TO DO the Will of the Father and to please Him always.

I hope this helps.

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    Welcome to Christianity.SE! Uh...I'm not sure how this answers the question. At this point, it's just a rant against Arianism, which is definitely not what this site is for. Could you edit it so that it actually answers the question as well as having references and/or support? Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 4:26
  • I hope that helped better show where I was coming from with the things I said previously. Thanks for the welcome El'endia!
    – Pythons
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 8:16
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    @El'endiaStarman I agree with you. While Pythons appears to have a lot of information, saying things like "...appeal to a couple texts that the uneducated understand support their position..." exposes a bias. The question isn't "Is Arianism right?" Therefore the answer shouldn't point out the differences between orthodox and Arianism. Or why Arianism is wrong. The question is, "before being on the cross, did Jesus (being 100% man) have free will to make mistakes?" within the context of Arianism.
    – user1054
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 2:10
  • Not sure if SDAs actually are Arian. From my experience with them, they are very much indeed orthodox in terms of christology.
    – matheno
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 18:06