Free will is one of the trickiest and most contentious subjects in all of christian theology. It’s hard to reconcile the existence of our ability to make our own choice and affect the impact of anything when you also accept the existence of an all powerful and all knowing creator. If he has already seen it all and could change any of it at any time then how are possibly deciding anything at all? The results are already set and we don’t get to edit it. It’s not easy to parse. It’s also probably unfair to try and anthropomorphize and project on to a supreme being. As a little mental exercise though, let’s just ask ourselves what if it’s because God is a libertarian?
Our founding fathers here in America might very well have concurred with this idea. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Mankind was created. The word created by necessity requires a creator. They were endowed with unalienable rights. This means they were given things that can not be taken away from them. Among these are life, your life can’t be taken from you in any sense. It is yours and yours alone. Liberty, if the right to your life wasn’t enough this creator has by the nature of his design ensured us against the control and manipulation of others in the form of the state. Finally on this list, the pursuit of happiness. This needs to be properly understood. There is no guarantee of happiness from the creator, only the right to try and attain it for ourselves. A compelling argument that such a learned and wise group of men would find it reasonable even “self-evident” that the creator would provide and ensure these things.
It’s well known that we are flawed though, humans are imperfect and everyone knows it. So why not take it straight from the horse’s mouth? Or rather from the divinely inspired word of God himself. All through out the Old Testament books we see the constant repetitive failure of government. Kings abuse and mislead their people. Slavery and war are rampant. God established no government for his people until they came to his prophet at demanded a king of him. Things become even more clear in the New Testament. The Pharisees are condemned for making a government out of the church, for regulating and trying to coerce the Jewish people in to obedience of artificial laws of man. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” while government is inevitable among men we owe them nothing more than what government is due. It’s compensation for it’s job of protecting our rights. The sermon on the mound and the beatitudes are a primer on acting freely and for the benefit of others. The epistles tell us that “everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.”
This last one is the one that really gets to the root of the question of free will. We were built to exist in a state of liberty by an almighty creator. He has given us the right to do as we will, knowing full well ahead of time what we will do with this license. He wrote the the law on our hearts, as find in the Old Testament. God gave us the knowledge by nature that we needed to order and interact with each other. God wants to see us all saved by his grace from our state of sin. He himself does not abridge the freedom he has given us in order to assure this salvation though. We have been given the right to choose by ourselves. This is what gives our lives value. It will always be ultimately up to us to use this God given liberty as it should be used. To exist peacefully with our fellow man, without the need for oppressive government, and in pursuit of what is the most fulfilling happiness. That is the love of and for God ultimately leading to the faith that saves us.