Saturday, May 11, 2013

Does OSAS contradict free will?


That is, does the doctrine of  "once saved, always saved" contradict
the doctrine of libertarian free will?


Now, of course, I won't leave the answer at that.  I'll try to give you some actual reasons here.  But first, before I attempt to prove what I am trying to prove, I will clarify what I am not trying to prove.  I am not trying to prove either that the doctrine of "once saved, always saved" is true.  I am also not trying to prove that that people have free will.  The only thing I am addressing here is the question of whether, in theory, both could be true.

What is free will? At it's core, free will means that a person is the determinant of his or her own choices. It means that a person experiences choices, and has the actual capability of picking which option to take (as opposed to the illusion that the opposite could have been picked). It does *not* imply any physical power, though.

For example, some people try to argue against free will in the following manner: "People don't have free will, because after all, they cannot do X." Well, sure. People can't heal themselves or fly like birds, but that's not an aspect of the *will,* that's an aspect of what physical *power* they have.

To summarize, humans have:
  • Limited power = can't fly like a bird.
  • Free will = can still choose to jump off the roof and try to fly.

Thus, the doctrine of free will does not imply limitless power. To give another example, those who believe in free will believe that humans do not have the power to save themselves from sin and hell; humans do not have the power to justify or to regenerate themselves. Those are things that God alone can do.

So, just like humans do not have the power to save themselves, the doctrine of OSAS teaches that humans do not have the power to un-save themselves, to take themselves out of the Father's hand, to separate themselves from the love of God, to rid themselves of the Holy Spirit that they are sealed with, or to cast themselves into hell. Those are things that only God can do.
Therefore, a doctrine that holds to both free will and also to OSAS would hold that a person is free to choose to try to get un-saved (just like they are free to try to fly), but they do not have the power to actually achieve the effects that they seek.
God is willing to save people, but if He is not willing to un-save people, then the net effect is that it's possible for a person to get into something they can't get out of.

________________________________________________

I can think of a physical contraption that works in a similar way... It's called a roller coaster.

You see the coaster, and it looks like a blast, and so you decide to get on.  Of your own free will.  Everything is going well, you put the restraints on, and probably a worker comes by to check and make sure that you are actually buckled in.  And then you hear that ominous phrase:  "You will be locked in on the count of three. 1-2-3. (click)  You are now locked in...   Enjoy your ride."




Now at that point, you might feel just a twinge of something that I like to call "terror."  Because right as they say that, you realize that you are completely trapped throughout whatever is going to happen next, and no matter how bad it gets, there's no way out. 

Okay, I'm no longer so sure about this idea...

And then, suppose it proceeds to get scary to the level that you think you are going to die before this ride ends, and would be willing to bribe the ride operators all of your earthly possessions to let you off:


I'VE CHANGED MY MIND!
OH GOD, MAKE IT STOP

Obviously, she isn't going to be able to get off the ride until the end.  Does that point to the fact that she does not have free will?  No.  She is free to choose to try to get off the ride all she wants.  But she simply does not have the power to stop the ride immediately, unlatch the restraint, and get herself off. It's a lack of power, not a lack of free will.

This analogy is not to say that Christians are going to be desperate to leave Christ like that little girl is desperate to leave the ride, rather it's to say that according to the OSAS, it's easier to get off a roller-coaster mid-ride than it is get out of salvation.  And that in both cases, free will remains unharmed - the limitation is your amount of power, not your will/choice function.

According to OSAS, if you are born-again and indwelt with the Holy Spirit, you are now locked in. Enjoy the ride.  :D








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