The classic novel A Tale of Two Cities begins with the iconic sentence, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” For me that brings to mind what is in my opinion the best and worst of the way in which God created mankind, and that is with a free will. From the very beginning God gave man a choice (Genesis 2:16-17).
God is our loving Heavenly father not an evil earthly despot. He gives us evidence of His existence, His love, and His patience. He gives us guidelines and principles in His Word. And then, He leaves the choice to us, to accept or reject Him, to live according to our own dictates or those established by Him in his Word. Of course, He could “make us” fall in line, always do the right thing, and obediently serve Him, after all He’s the creator of the universe. But how gratifying can a relationship be if one is coerced, cajoled, manipulated or forced into it. No one wants a relationship like that, not even God. He loves freely and unconditionally, and He wants us to choose to love Him back the same way, to the degree that finite humans are capable. So then, the upside of free will is that we get to make our own choices in life. The down side of free will is that we get to make our own choices in life and then live with the consequences of those choices, all of which will be negative if we don’t choose wisely. Therefore, when we are weighing our options and considering our choices, we would do well to count the cost of those options, the price we may have to pay for making unwise, ungodly decisions because free will ain’t free.