|Tribune Content Agency
Mar 4, 2020
|From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: When people say that God ordains something, doesn’t that take away man’s free will, something that God gave to man in the Garden of Eden? — F.C.
A: To ordain something is to set it apart as something special. This is what God did for mankind — setting them apart for fellowship with Him. But He also gave mankind free will that was put to the test. One tree in the luscious Garden of Eden symbolized the knowledge of good and evil, and God said, “You shall not eat.” Adam and Eve ate and violated what they knew to be God’s will (see Rom. 5:12-19; Gen. 3:1-8; 1 Tim. 2:13-14).
God could have created human robots who would respond mechanically to His direction. Obviously, this would be a response over which man had no control. But instead, God created us in His image, and He desires that the creature worship the Creator as a response of love. This can be accomplished when “free will” is exercised. Love and obedience which are [forced] do not satisfy. God wants obedient followers, not machines.
A pastor friend once told of his son who was attending a state university and becoming “very wise.” “Dad,” he said to his father one day, “I’m not sure that when I get out of school I will be able to follow you in your Christian faith.” The father looked at him with compassion and replied, “Son, that is your freedom — your terrible freedom.”
Freedom to choose results in God’s blessing or the consequences of disobedience to His will. We can exercise our freedom to love God with our obedience or we can rebel and build our lives without Him. Depending on our choice, it can be a glorious freedom or a terrible freedom. Choose to follow Christ.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
(c)2020 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.