Reflections on Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free:
I am very well convinced with Geisler’s use of scripture to defend his first premise of the Sovereignty of God (Ephesians 1:5-11, Romans 8:28-30, Matthew 11:27, John 15:16, Romans 9:11-21), but regarding his second premise, that of man’s free choice, his scriptural evidence seems weak and second-hand (John 3:16, 1 Tim. 2:4, 1 John 2:2, 2 Peter 2:1).
It appears to be that this argument is rooted not in which one exists and negates that other, but in which one came first. If God has indeed created the future already, events being already determined, then we are merely acting with a perception of free will within then this determined world. It could very well be that free will is only a perception used by God for us to interact with him; us being created in time, and God being transcendent, immutable, and outside of time, free will as a mere perception would be a reasonable means of interaction. Once again we arrive at the question of how this actually comes into fruition in our daily choices in life; I can not answer this question just as in the same way I can not explain the semantics of where the wind begins, how electricity functions, or how a female egg and male sperm form human life. If I cannot deduce things of the human realm, how am I expected to cogitate things of the divine realm? “But a mystery is a truth that goes beyond reason without going against reason. It is beyond our ability to comprehend, but not against our ability to apprehend… We know that they are true, even if we cannot completely explain exactly how they are true.” (Chapter 8, pg. 132)
God has not chosen to reveal all things to His creation, and this leads to an act of humility. God is God, I am not; Could it be that this is the essential truth we must draw from this theological issue? When Job questions God after his heartbreaking and continual sufferings, God merely answers, “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?” (Job 40:1). We only know what God blatantly reveals by His Word, the rest is speculation. We have seen the Biblical and philosophical weight for both sides of this theological knot, and those cannot be put into question. The things which allow for some free-ranged thought is thought of how precisely the evidence aligns into a coherent way for the human brain to comprehend. The how does not need to be explained to me; I can accept Biblical texts and let myself being humbled in faith do the rest. I think Geisler words it best when he writes that it is “better to accept the mystery than fall into heresy.” (Chapter 8, pg. 132)
I firmly believe the true damage this issue has done is not theological, but doxological: it has defiled the unity of the body of Christ, desolating our witness. Why let such a petty issue interrupt our unification with our brothers and sisters in Christ? We have so much more to take joy in as fellow believers, and yet we would rather dwell on the items of our faith that separate us. I will celebrate the grace of God, and set my mind of how to share and exemplify my life in a manner worthy of that truth.