Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

is our will Free?

8/24/20

The political/moral concept of personal responsibility implies that most individuals make conscious choices which result in behaviors which are then subject to approval or condemnation by society. The basic assumption is that people get to choose whether to be good or bad and therefore bear the blame for any bad consequences to themselves or others.

This idea of free will operating under the guidance and constraint of the individual mind and heart is essential to the theology of Christian Orthodoxy and subsequently to the societal concept of rule of law. Laws and the associated punishment of lawbreakers have long been held as the only feasible way to establish and maintain any sense of order and godliness within any society.

Despite the widespread acceptance of freewill as an operating principle, it ignores much that tends to refute this principle. As an example, we often hear that we are individually shaped by our nature and our nurture. Nature is in our genes, the result of generations of biological shaping. Our nurture involves many factors which contribute to our life experiences and includes the effects of birth circumstances, familial influences, and cultural conditioning.

In neither case, for nature or nurture, do we get to choose, to decide what our genes or our external influences will be.  A set of genes is born into a specific environment in a seemingly random way, and individual life is initiated separate and apart from the will of the one living that life. Under those initial conditions, the results going forward are powerfully affected by factors completely beyond the control of the one who, in accordance with the assumption of freewill, will be held personally accountable before society and God.

We can assume that personal decisions easily overrule both the genes and the environmental influences, making the individual ultimately capable of behaving properly. But that assumption remains just that, something which is assumed and not proven as a general rule. The evidence against that assumption is compelling on examination, making both our typical moral/religious and political views highly questionable.